Skip to main content

Columbia Business Monthly

The Business Narrative: Tech Hubs

Jul 03, 2024 09:25AM ● By Donna Walker
(Photo by 123RF)

SC NEXUS One of 12 Tech Hubs to Receive Millions in Federal Funding

The SC Nexus for Advanced Resilient Energy (SC NEXUS) on July 2, 2024, received $45 million in implementation grant funding through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) Tech Hubs program, which is designed to scale up the production of critical technologies, create jobs in innovative industries, and strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.


Last fall, the EDA designated 31 entities across the country as federal tech hubs, including SC NEXUS. The designation allowed the tech hubs to apply for approximately $500 million in grant funding.


SC NEXUS is one of only 12 of the 31 tech hubs receiving funding.


Officials said the funding for SC NEXUS projects will better position the tech hub as it leverages the region’s dynamic manufacturing base, superior research capabilities, and proven record of public-private collaboration to commercialize emerging energy storage materials and manufacturing techniques.


“Today is a transformative day for South Carolina and SC NEXUS, and its efforts to strengthen our state’s energy future and economic competitiveness,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “Once again, our ability to collaborate and utilize our greatest resource – our people – has been recognized through the awarding of this funding.”


Of the six SC NEXUS projects submitted for funding consideration, the EDA awarded federal funding to four projects, including the:


Grid Enabled Cyber Operations Range project led by Savannah River National Lab – $9,995,816. This project will establish a cyber testing range for grid connected equipment, with both grid operator training and equipment testing benefits.


Economic Development Through Grid Emulation (EDGE) project led by Clemson University – $12.5 million. This project will upgrade the North Charleston eGRID facility’s power and voltage testing capabilities for grid-connected equipment.


Carolina Institute for Battery Innovation (CIBI) project led by the University of South Carolina – $10,218,140. This project will establish a stationary battery manufacturing pilot line in Columbia.


The Education and Workforce Center project, led by the SC Technical College System – $12,637,190. This project will enhance awareness of South Carolina’s energy-focused industries and job opportunities, identify, and develop the skills necessary for success in these roles, and provide critical support services to ensure advanced energy workers have access to these opportunities.


Officials said that while the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Exchange (eiX) project, led by the South Carolina Research Authority, didn’t receive federal funding, further development of and securing funding for the project remain a top priority.


Also, the previously announced H2 Testbed project didn’t receive funding. Officials said SC NEXUS will not be moving forward with the project as described in the funding application.


The project is currently in redevelopment, and new information will be shared as it becomes available, the officials said.


“South Carolina is the place for businesses to excel from launch to legacy – the funding for and work through SC NEXUS will enhance speed to market when it comes to developing and deploying technologies that will help our state, the nation and the world meet the ever-growing energy needs,” said Secretary Harry M. Lightsey III.


“USC is proud to work alongside SC Commerce in this statewide effort and to have a leadership role in developing a new community of researchers, entrepreneurs, and start-ups," said USC President Michael Amiridis.


He added, "Achieving recognition at a national level demonstrates our ability as a state to innovate and to bring new ideas to the market. Our very strong coalition of universities and industry and state partners demonstrates how much we can achieve when we work together.” 


SC NEXUS is a consortium that consists of more than 50 public and private member entities. Officials said that as a federally designated tech hub, SC NEXUS will be given priority in future EDA funding opportunities.

Cedar Fair, Six Flags Merger of Equals Successfully Completed

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE: FUN), the largest and most diverse amusement park operator in North America, announced the successful completion of the merger of equals between Cedar Fair, L.P. and former Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, effective July 1, 2024.


The combined company is operating under the name “Six Flags Entertainment Corporation.”


Cedar Fair’s units and shares of former Six Flags’ common stock ceased trading at the close of the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) on July 1, 2024.


Beginning July 2, 2024, shares of Six Flags Entertainment Corporation’s common stock were to start trading on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “FUN.”


Under the terms of the merger agreement, Cedar Fair unitholders received one share of common stock in Six Flags Entertainment Corporation for each unit owned, and former Six Flags shareholders received 0.5800 shares of common stock in Six Flags Entertainment Corporation for each share owned.


The Carowinds park near the South Carolina-North Carolina border, has operated as a Cedar Fair property.


“Today marks a significant milestone for our company, shareholders, guests and associates, unlocking higher value and greater opportunities to deliver engaging entertainment experiences,” said Richard Zimmerman, president and chief executive officer of Six Flags Entertainment Corporation.


Zimmerman added, “Our merger establishes a new Six Flags Entertainment Corporation with a highly diversified footprint and robust operating model, enhancing park offerings and performance though the complementary portfolio of attractive assets and intellectual property from each of Cedar Fair and the former Six Flags.”


“The combination also enhances the financial profile of the company with strong cash flow generation to accelerate investments in our parks to delight our guests, driving increased levels of demand and in-park value and spending,” Zimmerman said.


Officials said each park in the combined company’s portfolio will retain its legacy branding with no changes to park names currently planned or contemplated.

Canal Insurance Establishes New Holding Company, Canal Financial Group

Greenville, South Carolina-based Canal Insurance Company, a leading provider of commercial trucking insurance, announced the formation of its new holding company, Canal Financial Group (CFG). 


Officials said the strategic initiative represents a significant milestone in Canal Insurance Company's history, aimed at enhancing operational efficiency, fostering innovation, and maximizing shareholder value.


The establishment of Canal Financial Group will serve to streamline Canal Insurance Company's corporate structure while enabling management to explore opportunities for growth, innovation, and continued value creation for shareholders, the officials said.


"As Canal Financial Group beings its journey, Canal Insurance Company remains steadfast in our commitments to customers and business partners, driven by a dedication to both operational excellence and innovation," said Paul Brocklebank, chairman of the board and CEO.


Brocklebank added, "This strategic move will enable us to pursue new opportunities with agility and focus while leveraging our core strengths in the commercial transportation space." 


Rated A- by A.M. Best, Canal Insurance Company has specialized in providing insurance to commercial trucking and specialty transportation insureds through selected professional agents for more than 80 years.

Prisma Health Invests $41 Million In State-of-the-Art Smart Beds Across Its Health System

Prisma Health said it is investing $41 million to revolutionize the patient experience while supporting its care team with the deployment of the latest smart-bed technology across the health system. 


The investment centers around replacing inpatient beds at the end of their life cycle with 1,500 cutting-edge Hillrom smart beds and surfaces. 


Hercules patient repositioning technology will be added to the new beds, allowing a single caregiver to reposition a patient safely and comfortably in bed in less than 10 seconds.


Officials said the design of the beds makes it easier for nurses and other team members who provide direct patient care in critical areas such as intensive care units (ICU), labor and delivery, medical/surgical units and bariatrics to provide specialized individual patient care. 


Additionally, the beds optimize safety and satisfaction through advanced technology for fall prevention, pressure injury reduction, increased comfort and improved communication — all important factors contributing to quality outcomes, the officials said.


Mark O’Halla, president and CEO of Prisma Health, said, “This investment underscores our commitment to placing patient safety and satisfaction at the center of everything we do. Incorporating the cutting-edge technology of these beds will streamline clinical workflows and reduce manual tasks, significantly reducing the risk of injury to both caregivers and patients and enabling our team members to provide more efficient, accurate and compassionate care to improve patient outcomes.”


Innovative features:

*New birthing beds prioritize safety, comfort and convenience for the mother, baby and caregivers throughout the labor and delivery experience. 

* The bariatric beds enable safe, efficient and dignified transport of patients. 

* The new intensive care beds have the latest technology to help care for highest-need patients. 

* Easy-to-read, colored projections under the bed onto the floor indicate the status of the bed alarm, bed position and side rails — all viewable from the hall.

* Powered transport allows a single caregiver to easily and safely transport the bed with precise stopping and turning controls and a built-in fifth wheel to aid portability. 

* A built-in USB port for the patient’s personal devices, a storage area for personal belongings, illuminated side rails and an under-bed light. 


The rollout of Prisma Health’s new fleet of smart beds is underway, with completion expected by mid-September 2024.


Prisma Health is a private nonprofit health company and the largest health-care organization in South Carolina.


The company has 29,309 team members, 18 acute and specialty hospitals, 2,827 licensed beds, 305 practice sites, and more than 5,400 employed and independent clinicians across its clinically integrated inVio Health Network

Allow us to tell your company's Business Narrative. Send your press release to David Dykes or for more information email [email protected]