USC Upstate’s Johnson College of Business and Economics Announces the Center for Entrepreneurship And Innovation

A wide brick building with tall windows.
Wikipedia / USC Upstate

The University of South Carolina Upstate is pleased to announce a new entrepreneurial platform that seeks to leverage the university’s resources, expertise and talent to spur innovation and economic growth across the Upstate region.

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) at USC Upstate’s George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics (JCBE) will provide aspiring student entrepreneurs across all academic disciplines with opportunities, tools and resources needed to conceptualize and launch their small businesses.

CEI will also serve as an innovation hub to support students, alumni, faculty and the Upstate’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by fostering collaboration, education, research and engagement.

“We are delighted and excited about launching the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at USC Upstate,” said Dr. Mohamed Djerdjouri, dean of the JCBE. “I am confident this will enhance our academic mission in entrepreneurship.”

As part of its mission, the center will encourage students to participate in the new Entrepreneurship and Innovation major and minor courses of study and other programs available through JCBE, which aims to create successful, dynamic entrepreneurs and business leaders for the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

“CEI is an academically focused initiative established to support our plans to build on the success of our Entrepreneurship and Innovation major, launched this past year,” Djerdjouri said. “It will provide additional resources and opportunities for students who are interested in studying and exploring the role of entrepreneurship as a catalyst for economic development, creation of employment opportunities and community advancement.”

Additionally, JCBE has launched its chapter of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO). Founded in 1983, CEO supports more than 16,500 emerging collegiate entrepreneurs across the world with resources that include workshops, webinars, pitch competitions, regional conferences and networking opportunities. Membership in the JCBE chapter is free to all USC Upstate students. The USC Upstate chapter is one of only two in South Carolina.

“A key goal is to encourage and support student entrepreneurship across all academic disciplines at USC Upstate,” said Brian Brady, the center’s director. “Building on our six years of success with the GreenHouse Business Incubator, CEI will serve to foster innovation and engage with students, faculty, alumni and the Upstate entrepreneurial ecosystem through networking, programming and research.”

A variety of free entrepreneurial events are offered throughout the year to all USC Upstate students, faculty, staff and members of the business community. The events include:

  • The Johnson Innovation Speaker Series, featuring nationally known entrepreneurs and innovation experts.
  • Global Entrepreneurship Week, a worldwide celebration of entrepreneurship powered by the Kauffman Foundation and held each November. JCBE participates by hosting events that feature members of the local, Upstate and South Carolina entrepreneurship communities.
  • Workshops, lectures, and networking with successful entrepreneurs, faculty and the business community.