Global Alliance for South Carolina’s key objective is to enhance economic prosperity by stimulating education exchanges, research collaborations and business partnerships with stakeholders in South Carolina, Israel, Estonia, and beyond. The case studies below illustrate how an ecosystem of support in South Carolina contributes to this objective.
Nanobébé Selects Charleston for its U.S. Headquarters
Engineering revolutionary new designs for infant feeding systems
The Charleston region has added a new key player in life sciences, Nanobébé, which has engineered revolutionary new designs for infant feeding systems. Since launching earlier this year, the company has won multiple industry awards. Nanobébé’s product line, including the flagship Breastmilk Bottle, is available at large scale retail chains: buybuy BABY, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond (online), Amazon, and in early 2019 at Walmart, along with hundreds of retail chains and independent stores around the world.
The company opened its U.S. operations in Charleston County in the City of Charleston last week and has already begun initial hiring. The company’s R&D and manufacturing is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, while the U.S. operation will focus on sales, business development and growth, as well as customer support. The decision to locate here was a direct result of the South Carolina-Israel Collaboration, a major initiative of the state’s research universities, industries, economic development agencies, and the Israeli government. Its mission is to stimulate business and research partnerships between companies and universities in South Carolina and Israel as a way to generate economic development, jobs, and investments to the benefit of all.
Nanobébé is the fifth company to locate here as part of South Carolina Department of Commerce’s and the Charleston Regional Development Alliance’s Landing Pad program, which is designed to support global companies as they enter the U.S. market, often simplifying what could be an overwhelming experience and minimizing risks through the process.
Successful Research Collaboration between an SC-based Chemical Company and an Israeli Leader in Advanced Textiles
In October 2014, Greenville-based Alexium, Inc. received funding through the South Carolina-Israel industry research and development program. The bi-national collaboration facilitates and promotes bilateral industrial R&D projects between entities from South Carolina and Israel. The partners were Alexium, Inc. and Israel Chemicals, Ltd (ICL). The Alexium-ICL project funded a one-year joint R&D effort to explore flame retardant chemicals and potential applications for the textile industry. Together, Alexium and ICL produced, tested, marketed, and commercialized chemical products in key nylon-based technical textile markets. The potential market for Alexium’s and ICL’s flame retardant products in the military and specialty fabric divisions is in excess of 15,000 metric tons of chemical product, or approximately $150 million in potential product revenues.
Based on early success, the project received follow-on funding in October 2015. “We expect great things out of this collaboration with Israel Chemicals. They are a world leader in the flame retardants industry, and I am excited to see what new products come out of this venture.” – Bob Brookins, vice president of Research & Development, Alexium, Inc. This successful joint R&D project furthered innovative research and collaboration, expanded and improved ICL’s product line, and helped advance South Carolina’s high-tech economy.
The South Carolina-Israel collaborative research and development program was conceived as an economic development program jointly executed by South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) and MATIMOP (Israeli Industry Center for R&D) on behalf of their respective governments. In July 2017, GASC assumed execution responsibilities for the overall industry R&D program.
Visits to SC-based Startup Companies and Mentoring from SC Business Professionals Contribute to Estonian University Students’ Education in Entrepreneurship
Network Globally, Act Locally (NGAL®) is a shared, educational program between The Citadel and the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina; Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska; and the University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology in the Republic of Estonia in the Baltic Region of Northern Europe. NGAL brings together students from each institution to develop innovative solutions for social and commercial challenges. This international, entrepreneurial program, which began in 2015, is made possible through the generous support of the Harry & Reba Huge Foundation.
The 2015 NGAL challenged students from each of the three schools to develop a product or service that demonstrated social entrepreneurship. Teams initiated their entrepreneurial idea at the University of Tartu and pitched their project to a field of judges at the College of Charleston.
In 2016, teams from each university conceived a product or service that was further developed through the entrepreneurial educational process at the University of Tartu IdeaLab and through visits to business incubators in Tartu and Tallinn. Faculty from each institution provided instruction to students on lean startup methodology, agile-scrum framework, as well as the business concept scaling necessary to bring existing products and services to the marketplace. With the foundation of knowledge and expertise acquired in Estonia, the teams traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska, where they continued to develop their entrepreneurial ideas, which they presented in a pitch competition hosted by Nebraska Wesleyan University.
As hosts for NGAL 2017, The Citadel and the College of Charleston arranged for students to visit many of the incubators and startups that helped Charleston earn the name Silicon Harbor. Each team engaged with professional mentors from the Charleston entrepreneurial community. Through this real-world experience, students refined their business models as well as their product and service execution. Ten teams presented their closing business pitches to a group of distinguished judges and investors.