Hartsville, S.C. is recognized for being the headquarters of global packaging leader Sonoco. Now the town is recognized as the home of Startup Weekend, a three-day action-packed event that gives student entrepreneurs a hands-on, deep-dive into company formation under the guidance of leaders in business, investing and academia. Startup Weekend is a global phenomenon. Since its inception in 2009, 234,000 people have participated in 4,147 Startup Weekends in more than 140 countries.
Hartsville’s Startup Weekend was held November 18-20 at the Governor’s School of Science and Mathematics and attracted students from Coker College, Francis Marion University and Florence-Darlington Technical College. Judges included leaders from academic and business, including Laura B. Cardinal, PhD, the SmartState Endowed Chair in Innovation + Commercialization; Chuck Redfearn, director, Innovation, Sonoco; Chris Shirley, First Citizens Bank; Sandi Brown, former officer, U.S. Navy Nuclear Power Program; Dr. Mark Stellingworth, physician-entrepreneur. David Warner, director of the Technology Incubator in Rock Hill, SC, served as a mentor. Sonoco also contributed speakers, mentors and coaches.
Commenting on the event, Cardinal said, “Hartsville was the perfect venue for Startup Weekend as it instructed participants not only on the process of company formation, but also exposed them to leaders in innovation and commercialization from across the spectrum—academia, global and local business, and the U.S. military. It was an honor to participate.”
The State of South Carolina is committed to being a leader in innovation, technology and company formation. Empowering people with knowledge of how to manage innovation and company formation is critical to the success of homegrown entrepreneurs and ultimately the state.