Charleston’s Tech Community Bristles with Innovation, Design and Manufacturing


Charleston is internationally-recognized for breath-taking architecture, exceptional cuisine, an awareness of history and an amazing quality of life.

Over the past few decades, Charleston has built a vibrant innovation ecosystem:

  • Charleston’s digital economy is the fourth in GDP growth in the Nation (ranking with Austin, Raleigh and San Francisco),
  • Charleston is one of the fastest-growing mid-sized metros for aerospace and aviation and
  • Charleston is garnering an international reputation for accelerating Life Science discoveries from the laboratory to the marketplace.

Mayor John Tecklenburg’s administration and leaders across the Region are laser-focused on cutting-edge Research & Development and advanced design and manufacturing.  Our community has embraced the notion that Americans can conceive breakthrough products and, we can produce them!

We understand that some countries benefit from lower labor costs and production factories that are generations newer than the “average” American factory.  Still, America has a highly-trained workforce, laws and regulations that allow for rapid start-up (and, wind-down) of companies and that competitive edge that leads to better, and quicker.

Today, the term “Charleston Makes,” reminds us of Boeing, Robert Bosch, Daimler AG, Ingevity, The InterTech Group, and Volvo.  However, innovators from the Medical University of South Carolina, The Citadel, the College of Charleston, Trident Technical College, Charleston Southern University, the Chamber of Commerce, our 6 incubators/accelerators, local Economic Development teams and local startups are collaborating to build a new generation of companies that will produce attractive jobs, competitive products and healthy families.

Consider Wave Sciences … this amazing Charleston company builds sophisticated, industry leading electronic products.  They satisfy demanding customers around the globe.  For Wave, that’s simply not enough.  Their experienced, creative team; constantly strengthens their intellectual property (IP) estate and has embarked on a R & D collaboration with one of America’s leading Research Institutes and is actively involved in a dialogue around a new partnership with one of North America’s largest manufacturers.

While Wave Sciences is a terrific example of our approach to innovation, they are not unique.  That’s right; we can point to dozens of companies who have embraced these notions of creativity, collaboration and local production;

  • an Agricultural products company that will harness beneficial bacteria for better citrus crops—naturally,
  • a platform venture that will make it easier for busy families to share their health status with care providers,
  • a nutritional products company that started with cutting-edge research and now delivers more bioavailable energy to actives of every age (including, dozens of NCAA teams),
  • a skin-care line of products that naturally protect from sun, sand and those pesky Southern mosquitos and
  • a Vitamin D enhanced water that delivers sprightly taste sensations and health benefits.

Charleston’s people (whether they are in North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant or the exciting West Ashley district) are replicating that approach:

  • conceive a better idea,
  • assemble a hyper-capable team,
  • produce the minimal viable product (MVP),
  • jump to domestic and international markets immediately,
  • generate a profit and
  • repeat, repeat, repeat.

For Charleston, the past actually is prologue … we invite to innovators, entrepreneurs and investors from across the Region to join Charlestonians in collaborations that build jobs, products, revenues and that strengthen the fabric of our community.

gary-breit-official-photoAbout the Author:

Garold Breit CLP
Technology Business Development
City of Charleston


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