JANUARY 9, 2020 (COLUMBIA, S.C.) - EngenuitySC, a nonprofit that works to make the Columbia, South Carolina, region a standout choice for top talent and competitive companies, has announced the schedule for its third annual Midlands Regional Competitiveness Week, Jan. 24 through 31, 2020. Presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, the week will include events that focus on the ideas, initiatives and people impacting long-term competitiveness and economic growth across the Midlands. Find full details at www.competitivenessweek.com.
The Report: How Does the Columbia, S.C., Region Measure Up?
The hallmark event of Competitiveness Week is EngenuitySC’s 2019-20 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report launch event. The report is an annual benchmarking tool providing regional leaders in government, business, education and more with data and analysis on the economic competitiveness of the Midlands in relation to other regions in the Southeast.
The unveiling of the 2019-2020 report results will be held Monday, Jan. 27 from 4:15 to 7 p.m. at the new Central Energy event venue in the BullStreet District in downtown Columbia, S.C. Registration is required. Interested parties may register to attend free of charge here: https://mrcr2020.eventbrite.com.
Members of the EngenuitySC team and board will be joined by leaders from local municipalities, members of the Midlands Business Leadership Group (MBLG: a coalition of more than 50 CEOs and executives from the region’s largest employers), private sector leaders, nonprofit leaders and individuals who are interested in learning more about the region’s economic competitiveness.
EngenuitySC Vision Award Winner: Dr. Harris Pastides
At the event, Steve Benjamin, founding co-chair of EngenuitySC and Mayor of Columbia, will award the annual EngenuitySC Vision Award to Dr. Harris Pastides, immediate past president of the University of South Carolina and longtime board member and founding co-chair of EngenuitySC.
Keynote and Report Results
A keynote address on the efficiency and impact of cooperation and collaboration will be delivered by Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. (Des Moines is a nationally recognized exemplar for successful regional economic development through a collaborative approach.) In addition, Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, research economist in the Division of Research at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, will announce the results of the 2019-20 report.
Scott Graves, an EngenuitySC board member and president of the Private Business Division at BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, notes the value of solid data and its role in continuing the region's upward mobility.
“On behalf of EngenuitySC, we are eager to once again announce the results of the Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report," says Graves. "Understanding the data and how it informs our region’s next steps is critical for continued economic growth. We know that the communities within the Midlands offer a great quality of life — and the word is getting out! However, the data also tells us that opportunities exist to positively shape our future and increase the visibility of our region. This year’s report lays out five specific opportunities — one related to each of the five pillars of economic competitiveness — that could make a huge difference on Columbia’s ability to compete, and help solidify its reputation as a desirable place to live, work and raise a family.”
View prior years’ reports and find the 2019-20 report after its Jan. 27, 2020 release here: https://www.engenuitysc.com/competitiveness-report/.
An Engaging Week of Public Events
A variety of public events during Midlands Regional Competitiveness Week will include the Cayce Stroll on State, the UofSC McNair Entrepreneurship Showcase featuring keynote speaker Steve Forbes, and a live jazz supper club experience hosted by artist entrepreneur Mark Rapp and the Cola Jazz Little Big Band.
An additional five events are open to those who register in advance, including an event at the Lexington Chamber discussing Lexington County's rapid development, a women in technology luncheon hosted by global tech giant Capgemini, Central Carolina Community Foundation’s “Table Talk” event, a social media workshop in partnership with Experience Columbia SC (Columbia’s regional destination marketing organization), and the aforementioned launch of the sixth annual Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report.
“Our 2020 Competitiveness Week lineup includes a diverse array of entrepreneurs, businesses, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions — a perfect reflection of everything it takes to make the Columbia region a place businesses, individuals and families want to call home,” says Meghan Hickman, executive director of EngenuitySC. “We are honored to draw attention to so many exciting individual and collaborative efforts.”
What is EngenuitySC?
Governed by the highest-ranking regional leaders in education, government and business, EngenuitySC is a nonprofit that works to make the Columbia, S.C., region a standout choice for top talent and competitive companies. Structured as a neutral and independent project management team, EngenuitySC is known for achieving progress through partnerships using a unique, highly effective process. The board is steered by founding co-chairs Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia and Bob Caslen, president of the University of South Carolina, under the leadership of current board chair Lee Bussell of Chernoff Newman. Find out more about EngenuitySC at www.engenuitysc.com.
See below for the full schedule of Competitiveness Week events and find additional details at www.competitivenessweek.com.
Schedule for EngenuitySC’s Midlands Regional Competitiveness Week, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina:
Friday, January 24, 2020
● Richland One Career Expo
Growing companies rely on a well-prepared workforce. At the Richland One Career Expo, dozens of local employers in high-demand fields will introduce 1,800 eighth grade students to the habits of thinking that are cornerstones to success in their industries. Closed to the public.
Monday, January 27, 2020
● EngenuitySC’s 2019-20 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report Launch — 4:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. (doors open at 4:15 p.m) at Central Energy in the BullStreet District, Downtown Columbia
How likely is a company — or a family — to choose the Columbia region when considering a move to the Southeast? Each year, EngenuitySC publishes the Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report, which helps local leaders gauge success and address challenges. Results from the 2019-20 report will be shared at this event. Free. Open to the public with advance registration. Register here: https://mrcr2020.eventbrite.com
Tuesday, January 28, 2020
● Table Talk with Central Carolina Community Foundation — 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at CCCF in the BullStreet District, Downtown Columbia
Fueled by discussions held during its “On the Table” initiative in 2019, Central Carolina Community Foundation will hold a breakfast event for those interested in more deeply discussing and learning about the ways in which Midlands school districts and education partners are preparing students to be college and career ready. Speakers include Dr. JR Green, Superintendent of Fairfield County Schools; Tana Lee, Richland One Director of Career and Technology Education; and Diane Luccy, Richland Library Online High School Program. Free. Open to the public with advance registration. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/table-talk-series-discussing-education-in-the-midlands-tickets-81746797873
● Capgemini Women in Technology Luncheon — 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Capgemini Columbia in the BullStreet District, Downtown Columbia
Capgemini hosts a luncheon to explore opportunities for women in Columbia's fast-growing information technology sector. Free. Open to the public with advance registration. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/86009156703
● Cayce Stroll on State — 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the southern end of State Street, City of Cayce
A great region relies on thriving communities and the new Cayce Arts District is a renaissance for the south end of State Street. Spend the evening visiting restaurants, galleries and the new Art Lot, just five to ten minutes from downtown Columbia. Free. Open to the public. Event details: https://www.facebook.com/events/610152596409368/
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
● 1 Million Cups — 9 a.m. at Richland Library Main, Downtown Columbia
1 Million Cups is a weekly educational program designed to engage, educate and accelerate communities of entrepreneurs. Developed in Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation, and continually refined by a dedicated community of entrepreneurs across the United States, 1 Million Cups holds the promise to revitalize, empower, grow and activate the local community of entrepreneurs through online curriculum, coaching and experiential learning. Free. Open to the public.
● Minding Your Business: Keeping Lexington Competitive — 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Lexington Chamber of Commerce, Lexington
Sponsored by Nephron Pharmaceuticals
Measured in EngenuitySC’s Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report, there are five pillars of competitiveness and regional prosperity — but what does each pillar look like beyond the city’s core? The Lexington Chamber hosts a panel of local leaders working to build success in our region’s largest, most populous suburban county. After the panel, gather a group of colleagues and enjoy lunch on Main Street in Lexington. Free. Open to the public with advance registration. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/86011682257
● Social Media Sentiment Workshop in partnership with Experience Columbia SC
Social media innovators will gather to hear the results of a multi-year social media sentiment study on Columbia, learn how Experience Columbia SC is evolving its social media strategy in a changing marketplace and uncover ways we can all work together to increase positive perception of the region we know and love. Invitation only.
● Mayor Benjamin’s State of the City Address — 6 p.m. at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, Downtown Columbia
Presented by the City of Columbia, Mayor Benjamin will deliver his 10th State of the City address. Open to the public.
Thursday, January 30, 2020
● Midlands Business Leadership Group Annual Update
MBLG is a cadre of business, education and nonprofit leaders working together to address challenges identified in EngenuitySC’s Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report. The group will gather for an annual progress review. Invitation only.
Friday, January 31, 2020
● Teacher Discovery Day — All-day event in Downtown Columbia
Richland One educators who have moved to the area from abroad will be welcomed at beloved attractions and organizations to learn more about connecting students with opportunities in their home community. Their students are the future of our region. This tour is led by EngenuitySC for its project partner, Richland One. Closed to the public.
● Crash Course Columbia — All-day event in Downtown Columbia
Crash Course Columbia is a one-day, immersive experience taking locals and new Columbians behind the scenes of hot spots across the greater Columbia, S.C. region. The program is launching in 2020, and the pilot is being held during Competitiveness Week. Crash Course Columbia aims to develop local champions who will connect with the fabric of our region’s culture and choose to stay in Columbia — ultimately increasing talent retention in the Midlands. Invitation only.
● UofSC McNair Entrepreneurship Showcase — 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at The Senate, Columbia
The third annual McNair Entrepreneurship Showcase will feature keynote speaker Steve Forbes, pop-up shops and displays of UofSC student- and alumni-driven startups, and resource providers for entrepreneurs. Free. Open to the public with advance registration. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/third-annual-mcnair-entrepreneurship-showcase-tickets-84789835681
● Mark Rapp and the Cola Jazz Little Big Band — 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Main Course, Columbia
Celebrate Jazz in Columbia with Mark Rapp and the Cola Jazz Little Big Band.
Open to public. $10 ticket + a la carte cost of dinner. Buy tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/colajazz-little-big-band-the-band-that-could-tickets-86157161389?aff=ebdssbdestsearch&fbclid=IwAR2nGKHHJv0KUgKnfORF9cDQaGw20w_gwfT2bj1ex9WZehvIoyYn2a6ZFfg
Complete details for events held during Competitiveness Week can be found at www.competitivenessweek.com. Join the action on social media by engaging with @EngenuitySC on Facebook and Twitter, and follow the hashtags #EngenuitySC and #CompWeek20. To learn more about EngenuitySC, visit www.engenuitysc.com.
Governed by the highest-ranking regional leaders in education, government and business, EngenuitySC is a nonprofit that works to make the Columbia, S.C., region a standout choice for top talent and competitive companies. Structured as a neutral and independent project management team, EngenuitySC is known for achieving progress through partnerships using a unique, highly effective process. Whether it is equipping K-12 students with career-ready skills, elevating quality of life with the Midlands Business Leadership Group, or producing Competitiveness Week and the annual Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report, EngenuitySC is a trusted force, working behind the scenes to
build a community cultivated for living, working, playing and learning. Learn more at www.engenuitysc.com.
Hashtag: #EngenuitySC #CompWeek20
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