About The Council

The South Carolina Council on Competitiveness manages multiple industry clusters in South Carolina and provides support to many others across the state. Clusters are economic ecosystems of linked industries and other entities important to competition, like suppliers of components, machinery, and services.

The resulting inter-cluster business environment fosters innovation. Innovation, in turn, spurs new business ventures.

Our work is accomplished in three primary ways:

ACTIONABLE RESEARCH

The Council leads research studies that empower policymakers and industries with information required to grow and sustain their competitiveness throughout the state and across the world.
Our research allows for deeper insight into the threats and opportunities industries face.

SUPPORT OF INDUSTRY CLUSTERS & INITIATIVES

The Council manages and supports existing and emerging clusters and initiatives across South Carolina and supports several others indirectly. As innovation and technology remains a driver in business development in South Carolina, the Council continues to be called upon to vet, support, incubate, and manage emerging clusters.

EDUCATION & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

The ability to meet industries’ education and workforce development needs is an evergreen issue for the long-term economic health of our state. The Council supports multiple statewide education initiatives that work collaboratively to optimize existing resources, expertise, and ideas to develop world-class talent in South Carolina.

ACTIONABLE RESEARCH

The Council leads research studies that empower policymakers and industries with information required to grow and sustain their competitiveness throughout the state and across the world.
Our research allows for deeper insight into the threats and opportunities industries face.

SUPPORT OF INDUSTRY CLUSTERS & INITIATIVES

The Council manages and supports existing and emerging clusters and initiatives across South Carolina and supports several others indirectly. As innovation and technology remains a driver in business development in South Carolina, the Council continues to be called upon to vet, support, incubate, and manage emerging clusters.

EDUCATION & WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

The ability to meet industries’ education and workforce development needs is an evergreen issue for the long-term economic health of our state. The Council supports multiple statewide education initiatives that work collaboratively to optimize existing resources, expertise, and ideas to develop world-class talent in South Carolina.

Clusters & Initiatives directly managed by The Council:

History

For nearly 50 years, from the 1950s to the early 2000s, South Carolina’s policymakers used an economic development strategy that centered on attracting manufacturers to our state with its flexible workforce, business-friendly environment, and responsive government. Low-wage, low-tax incentives enhanced South Carolina’s agricultural and textile manufacturing base.

This strategy worked for about 30 years. From the 1950s to the early 1980s, per capita income in South Carolina rose nearly 400 times in real terms and increased to nearly 80 percent of the national average. But for the following 20 years, per capita income stagnated at this 80 percent level. South Carolina began to see a rise in competition from countries offering even lower wages and lower taxes.

In 2003, The South Carolina Competitiveness Initiative was established as is a public-private collaborative effort involving a wide range of individuals and organizations. That same year the leadership team from the Initiative commissioned Dr. Michel E. Porter to conduct a study of South Carolina’s economy. That study identified eight distinct issue areas for the state to focus on in order to increase per capita income in South Carolina and make the state more competitive overall. In 2004, Dr. Porter’s study led to the establishment of bylaws for the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness and in 2005 the Council was publicly launched.

In the years since the Council’s official launch, South Carolina’s business landscape has altered. Industries have evolved, priorities have changed, and along the way, the Council has remained flexible in its ability to meet the ever-changing needs of the state as it strives to remain competitive in a global environment. Where some initiatives have grown, others have gone dormant; still, others have evolved into new partnerships or have been absorbed into other organizations. Some of the Council’s task force groups have experienced a similar evolution as the Council shifts to meet emerging needs.

Throughout its many iterations, three priorities have remained the cornerstone of the Council’s approach to serving the state – Providing Actionable Research, Support of Industry Clusters, and Education & Workforce Devmnt. We remain a standard-bearer in the realm of industry clusters and continue to be called upon to vet, establish, and incubate clusters as they navigate the industry-changing dynamics that come with technology and innovation; We produce and provide research studies that allow business leaders, policymakers, and other stakeholders to make informed decisions; And our tireless advocacy and support for iterative change in approaches to education and workforce development remain impactful.