EngenuitySC’s programming for the next year will include What’s Next Midlands, the Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report and regional leadership consortiums. A long-running program will not return as the Columbia-based economic development nonprofit shifts its focus.
“To say we have a lot going on this year is an understatement, but that’s exactly how we like it,” Meghan Hickman, EngenuitySC executive director, said in a statement. “We love being the behind-the-scenes engine of many important groups and initiatives in our community, and there is more good work to come.”
A new program, “Competitiveness Week,” will debut in early 2018. This event will feature the release of the fourth annual Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report, a scorecard that shows how Columbia stacks up against similar Southeastern cities in five categories: talent, entrepreneurship, innovation, industry clusters and livability.
“We’ve found that the community has grown to anticipate and appreciate the Midlands Regional Competitiveness Report as an annual benchmarking tool,” said Councilman Paul Livingston, EngenuitySC board chairman. “We want to celebrate the progress we’ve made since the first report was published in 2014 but also point out areas where there is a lot of work yet to be done.”
After 13 years, Ignite!, EngenuitySC’s annual event showcasing local innovation, will not be on the organization’s calendar. Instead of focusing on one evening gala, EngenuitySC will produce multiple networking opportunities in more intimate settings, such as the What’s Next Midlands voting initiative, the organization said.
“While Ignite! Has always been one of our favorite events, we’ve made an intentional shift in our approach to prosperity in the Midlands,” Hickman said. “Now, rather than having one night a year to interact with EngenuitySC, there will be multiple inspirational, exciting and innovative opportunities throughout the year.”
In What’s Next Midlands, voters choose an idea to be implemented. The innovation currently being developed, in conjunction with the Cola Town Bike Collective, is a network of bicycle repair stations.
Other programs supported by EngenuitySC include:
- The Midlands Business Leadership Group: This organization of regional business leaders has created working groups to address issues identified in the annual regional competitiveness report.
- Richland County School District One STEAM programs: In the spring of 2018, four high schools partnering with EngenuitySC – Lower Richland, C.A. Johnson, Columbia and Eau Claire – will host a “Dressed to Impress” business etiquette showcase. EngenuitySC manages this project as well as other programs focused on enhancing STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) education.
- Richland County School District Two CAT program: In its third year, the Carolina Alliance for Technology program provides mentorship programs, field trips, job shadowing and internships.
- Midlands Mayors Group: The group of 26 area mayors and leaders convenes bimonthly to discuss regional issues.