Innovation center aims to bring tech companies to Hartsville

HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) – The Duke Energy Center for Innovation has received its first grants, totally nearly $200,000; the center's goal is to attract tech-focused businesses and jobs to the Hartsville area.

The center, named for its initial benefactor, the Duke Energy Foundation, is a "business incubation program which will connect entrepreneurs with the resources and expertise needed for success," according to a news release from the center. Duke Energy has granted the center $99,500 for its first year of operation, and the Byerly Foundation, which provides grants for educational, economic and social need in Hartsville, granted $100,000.

"I am tremendously thankful that the Duke Energy  Foundation and the Byerly Foundation have taken the lead in supporting this center," said Duke Energy Center for Innovation Director Ben Chastain. "Thanks to their invaluable contributions, our program will soon be cultivating competitive, tech-focused companies right here in Hartsville. I look forward to working with them to make the Duke Energy Center for Innovation a sustainable and effective force in our economic development."

The center was established as a public-private partnership among Clemson University and the City of Hartsville, to foster local development of technology businesses.

Once up and running, the center will provide a starting point for businesses, and graduate them from the program when they are established.

There will be an open house on Wednesday, July 17, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and a grand opening ceremony the following Wednesday, July 24, at 11:30 a.m. The center is located at 145 W. Carolina Ave. in Hartsville.

For more information on the center, and how it could serve you and your ideas, contact Director Ben Chastain at ben.chastain@hartsvillesc.gov or Karl Kelly, Director of Commercialization and Technology Incubation for Clemson University at karl@clemson.edu.

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