Skip to main content

Columbia Business Monthly

EngenuitySC To Host Midlands Regional Competitiveness Week

Jan 17, 2019 11:29AM ● By Kathleen Maris
EngenuitySC, a Columbia-based nonprofit focused on enhancing the Midlands’ competitiveness and prosperity, has announced the schedule for its second annual Midlands Regional Competitiveness Week. Happening Jan. 28 through Feb. 1, 2019 and presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, the week will include events revolving around the ideas, initiatives, and people impacting long-term competitiveness across the Midlands. Find full details here:

Unveiling of 2018 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report
The week will kick off with the unveiling of EngenuitySC’s 2018 Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report, a benchmarking tool providing data and analysis on the economic competitiveness of the Midlands in relation to other regions in the Southeast. The event is Monday, Jan. 28 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the newly renovated second floor loft at the Columbia Museum of Art in downtown Columbia, S.C. Registration is required. Interested parties may sign up to attend free of charge here:

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 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. 

Speakers will include Dr. Doug Woodward, research economist at the Darla Moore School of Business; John Carrington, CEO of ZVerse; and Steve Benjamin, founding co-chair of EngenuitySC and Mayor of Columbia. In addition, John Folsom (MBLG chair and president and CEO of Colliers International | South Carolina) will share an update on the MBLG’s competitiveness initiatives and announce an exciting new, major regional collaboration at the event. 

Events Open to the Public: Steel Hands Brewery, Growth in Lexington, Life Sciences 
Public events during Midlands Regional Competitiveness Week include a panel discussion on Lexington County's rapid development, a panel discussion at Nephron Pharmaceuticals highlighting the Midlands' life sciences industry, and an event at the newly opened Steel Hands Brewery in Cayce on the ways in which breweries around the state are impacting their local communities.

A public-private partnership that manages some of the most impactful initiatives in the Midlands, EngenuitySC is guided by a board of highly engaged community and business leaders. The board is steered by founding co-chairs Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, S.C. and Dr. Harris Pastides, 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

Schedule for EngenuitySC’s Midlands Regional Competitiveness Week, presented by BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina:

Monday, January 28, 2019
  • Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report Launch - 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. at Columbia Museum of Art, 1515 Main Street, Columbia, S.C.
Sponsored by Spectrum

Join leaders from around the region at the unveiling of EngenuitySC's 5th Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report. Hear about areas of improvement in the Columbia region and where opportunities exist to drive our region's competitiveness. Free. Register to attend at

Tuesday, January 29, 2019
  • MBLG Regional Competitiveness Initiative - Progress Update and Special Announcement - 8:30 - 10:00 a.m.
Invitation only. 
  • Entrepreneurial Bootcamp Business Pitches at Columbia High School - 11:00 a.m. at Columbia High School
A select cadre of Columbia High School students have spent 11 weeks developing new business ideas under the tutelage of Paul Smith, professor of entrepreneurship, marketing, and personal finance at Newberry College. Now it's time to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges, “Shark Tank” style, and compete for start-up funding.
Closed to public.
  • Mayor Benjamin’s State of the City Address – 6:00 p.m. at the University of South Carolina School of Law
Presented by City of Columbia, featuring Mayor Steve Benjamin and other leaders. 
Open to the public.
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
  • Richland One Teacher Discovery Day in the Sciences - 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 
Science and engineering teachers in Richland One will connect with leaders in our region's science and engineering firms to learn more about careers available to students and the educational routes that lead to those opportunities.
Closed to public.
  • Leveraging Life Sciences in the Midlands: A Panel Discussion - 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. at Nephron Pharmaceuticals, 4500 12th St Ext., West Columbia, S.C.
Sponsored by Nephron

Join industry and economic development leaders at Nephron Pharmaceuticals' state-of-the-art facility for a panel discussion drawing upon the knowledge of industry experts and economic development leaders, examining the present reality and future potential of the life sciences industry in the Columbia area. This will be a regionally-focused event to launch discussion & action to position this industry for accelerated growth. 

Thursday, January 31, 2019
  • Breweries: Community Catalysts - 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at Steel Hands Brewing, 2350 Foreman Street, Cayce, S.C.
Breweries have been known since ancient times as community gathering spots, where business is transacted, friends catch up and neighbors meet. In the past couple of decades, though, they’ve emerged as economic drivers for tourism and community development – one look at Asheville, N.C., is enough to see this. Join us at the new Steel Hands Brewery in Cayce to hear how Steel Hands and other breweries around the state impact the communities around them. 

Friday, February 1, 2019
  • Growth and Opportunity in Lexington - 10:30 - 12:00 p.m. at the Greater Lexington Chamber & Visitors Center, 311 W Main Street, Lexington, S.C.
The Lexington area is growing quickly, thanks to a revitalized downtown, solid business climate, and quality schools. Hear from business and public sector leaders as they come together for a panel discussion on the county’s rapid development, touching on areas such as business growth, infrastructure, tourism and more.

Complete details for events held during Competitiveness Week can be found at