About Charleston

While Charleston frequently receives recognition as a top national and global visitor destination in the world, it has developed a reputation as a burgeoning tech and creative hub, largely driven by the twenty and thirty somethings who place a premium on place and livability.

At the Charleston Digital Corridor, our recipe is simple – take one of the best business climates in the country, leverage all relevant resources and then, layer on a set of targeted, value-oriented services to help tech businesses thrive. Charleston, first settled in the late 1600s, is experiencing a twenty-first century renaissance. Spend a weekend here and you will be hooked.


    • 2016
      Charleston Named "Best City In The World"
      SOURCE: Travel + Leisure Magazine, July 2016

      Charleston moved up from the No. 2 slot last year to No. 1. The city has shown incredible resilience and, as one reader wrote, there is still “no place quite like it.”

    • 2016 Best Cities for Tech (outside CA & NY)
      SOURCE: DataFox, May 2016

      Charleston, SC ranks #8 on the list of "sneaky-great cities for tech that offer fast-growing businesses, strong fundamentals and affordability – without the cutthroat competition of the big-name startup hubs."

    • Charleston Ranked #19 Best Place To Live
      SOURCE: US News & World Report , March 2016

      Charleston ranks #19 Best Place to Live by U.S. News. To make the top of the list, a place had to have good value, be a desirable place to live, have a strong job market and a high quality of life.

    • 2015
      Top 20 Metro for First Fundings in 2014
      SOURCE: Brookings Institute, January 2015

      Charleston ranked #12 in the country for first fundings - This rank takes into account the population of the region and normalizes it against the nation as a whole.

    • 2014 Best Performing Cities
      SOURCE: Milken Institute, January 2015

      Nationally, over a five year period Charleston's relative high-tech GDP growth moved up from #5 to #4.

    • 2014
      South Carolina ranked #9 out of the Top 10 Pro-Business States in the US
      SOURCE: Pollina Corporate, July 2014

      Pollina's Corporate's annual 50-state ranking indicates how well each state has positioned itself to retain and create jobs; in the 2014 report, South Carolina ranked #9 out of the Top 10 Pro-Business states.

    • #1 Travel destination in North America, #2 in the World
      SOURCE: Travel + Leisure, June 2014

      Charleston took home Travel & Leisure's top honor for favorite North American travel destination and 2nd best in the world due to its inviting hotels, excellent dining, and unique historical attractions.

    • Charleston named in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in US Metro Areas Report
      SOURCE: Brookings Institute, June 2014

      In a report on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in US Metro Areas, Charleston ranked #9 for Metro Areas in which Foreign Owned Enterprises (FOEs) account for the largest share of private employment.

    • Leading Locations for 2014: The MSAs with Strongest Prime Work Force Growth
      SOURCE: Area Development, June 2014

      Among the 379 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) surveyed across the United States, Charleston ranked 22 among the "Leading Locations for 2014" that are poised to capitalize on economic and work force growth.

    • Charleston ranked among 2014 Best Cities for Job Growth
      SOURCE: New Geography, May 2014

      Five measures of growth were used to rank 398 metro areas across the United States; Charleston ranked #17 among the 92 "midsize" (ranging from 150,000 to 450,000 jobs) best cities for job growth.

    • Charleston #2 of America’s Most Exciting Mid-Size Cities
      SOURCE: Movoto Real Estate, March 2014

      Of the 117 cities surveyed across the United States, Charleston ranked #2 of the Most Exciting Mid-sized Cities (defined as 120,000 to 210,000 residents). Ranking criteria ranged widely from the number of live music venues per capita, to the number of parks, to the percentage of young residents aged 20 to 34.

    • South Carolina #4 Best State to Achieve the American Dream of Economic Prosperity
      SOURCE: Business Climate Blog, March 2014

      South Carolina ranked among the Top 10 states in the US that have experienced success in creating conditions that enable residents to achieve their "American Dream", particularly in regards to areas such as job environment, job benefits, material prosperity and financial security.

    • 2013
      Charleston ranked one of the Best-Performing Cities 2013
      SOURCE: Milken Institute, December 2013

      Charleston ranked #11 in the Best-Performing Cities index, which shows where jobs are being created and sustained in metro areas across the U.S (particularly in measures of job, wage, and technology performance).

    • Charleston Included in "Most Active" Map of Tech Hubs in the US
      SOURCE: State Tech Magazine, November 2013

      In the feature "Silicon America", Charleston was named as one of the "most active" IT and innovation areas in a map of tech hubs across the United States.

    • South Carolina #8 Best State for doing Business
      SOURCE: Chief Executive, May 2013

      In Chief Executive’s ninth annual survey of CEO opinions of "Best" and "Worst States" in which to do business, South Carolina was ranked #8 Best State (out of the 50 US states) for doing business.

    • Charleston ranked #3 out of Top 30 Best Cities for Young Entrepreneurs 2013
      SOURCE: Under30CEO, March 2013

      Out of 30 cities in the United States, Charleston was voted #3 of the Best Cities for a new company to open shop based on local resources, culture, atmosphere and overall appeal to young entrepreneurs.

    • Charleston ranked #9 Best-Performing Cities of 2012
      SOURCE: Milken Institute , January 2013

      Charleston was ranked #9 out of the 25 Top large metro areas for the 2012 Best-Performing Cities index, which includes measures of job, wage, and technology performance to rank the nation's 200 large metropolitan areas and 179 smaller metro areas.

    • 2012
      Charleston ranks #9 for Job recovery among US metro areas
      SOURCE: Brookings Institute December 2012

      The Charleston region outpaced major metros such as Dallas, New York and San Francisco in employment, output (GDP) and housing growth to achieve a #9 ranking for job recovery among the 100 largest U.S. metro areas.

    • Charleston ranked among Top 10 Cities with Cleanest Air
      SOURCE: CNN Health, October 2012

      The Honeywell AirGenius Awards judged 100 U.S. cities based on airborne pollen levels, particulate air pollution and smoking regulations; Charleston ranked #9 out of the Top 10 Cities with the Cleanest Air in the US.

    • Best Downtowns in US
      SOURCE: Livability, October 2012

      Charleston ranked #2 among 10 Best Downtowns in US, as a place that offers excellent amenities and a high quality of life.

    • Charleston Voted #1 City in the World
      SOURCE: Conde Nast Traveler, October 2012

      While Charleston has claimed honors as being voted the top city in the US for two years in a row (2011, 2012), it has also been ranked as the #1 destination of the "World's Great Cities" by Conde Nast Traveler's readers.

    • Charleston #2 Top State for Doing Business 2012
      SOURCE: Area Development, September 2012

      South Carolina's strong business and labor climate propelled the Palmetto State to the #2 overall spot in the Top States for Doing Business Index, up from a fourth ranking in 2011.

    • 2012 Best Communities for Young People
      SOURCE: America's Promise Alliance, September 2012

      Charleston was recognized among the "100 Best Communities for Young People" in the United States, a competition that spotlights communities that demonstrate a cross sector support and lasting commitment to youth development through innovative programs and services throughout the community.

    • 100 Leading Locations for 2012
      SOURCE: Area Development, July 2012

      Charleston ranked 2nd among Area Development’s Top 20 South-Atlantic Cities, as one of the 100 "Leading Locations" across the US.

    • Charleston #4 Best City For Jobs This Summer
      SOURCE: Forbes , June 2012

      In a period when the national unemployment rate had just grown to 8.2%, this survey indicates the Best and Worst Cities for getting a job in the summer of 2012. Charleston ranked #4 nationally, with a net employment outlook of 24%.

    • 2011
      Best-Performing Cities 2011
      SOURCE: Milken Institute, December 2011

      Charleston ranked #11 among the Top 25 Large Metro areas of the 2011 Best-Performing cities Index.

    • 2011 Conde Nast Traveler Reader's Choice Award
      SOURCE: Conde Nast Traveler, October 2011

      Charleston was voted the #1 Best City in the World by Conde Nast Traveler Reader's Choice Award.

    • Charleston Among Select US Cities To See "Brain Gain" in Educational Attainment
      SOURCE: Brookings Institute, September 2011

      Charleston is included among a list of US cities experiencing "Brain Gain" in regards to increased educational attainment in metropolitan areas.

    • Best Towns of 2011
      SOURCE: Outside Magazine, August 2011

      Charleston was voted one of the 19 Best Towns (to visit and live) in the US, based on factors such as affordable homes, solid job prospects, and vibrant nightlife.

    • 2011 Best Cities for Job Growth
      SOURCE: New Geography, May 2011

      Charleston was ranked #8 out of 90 Medium-sized Best US Cities for Job Growth, a measurement that emphasizes the robustness of a region's growth both recently and over time.

    • Charleston Highly ranked in Small Business Vitality Scores 2011
      SOURCE: The Business Journals, April 2011

      Charleston came in 3rd on a list of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas that offer the best climates for small businesses.

    • 2010
      Charleston Named One of America's Favorite Cities
      SOURCE: Travel and Leisure, November 2010

      Charleston was named one of America's Favorite Cities out of the 35 US cities ranked by residents and visitors for their culture, shopping, restaurants, nightlife.

    • 2010 Small Business Vitality Scores
      SOURCE: Upstart Business Journal, January 2010

      Based on population, employment and small business growth, Charleston is named #4 of the most vibrant US metropolitan areas.

    • 2009
      World's Smartest Cities
      SOURCE: Forbes, December 2009

      Charleston Ranked #8 for strong infrastructure, attractive economy and savvy urban planning

    • Charleston Ranked a "Top City"
      SOURCE: Lonely Planet, December 2009

      Lonely Plant, an international tourism guide, has named Charleston one of the “Top Cities to go to in 2010.”

    • Charleston Ranked one of the 10 best small "Adventure Burgs"
      SOURCE: Outside Magazine, August 2009

      Chucktown is affordable (median home price, $235,000) and small (pop. 110,000) but comes with the vitality of a metropolis, thanks to its kaleidoscopic heritage and a happening downtown.

    • Progressive Environmental Stewardship & Sustainable Growth

      Charleston ranked 11th among 405 small cities as a sustainable community - one that can continue in a healthy way into an uncertain future.

    • Best Cities For Technology Jobs
      SOURCE: Forbes, June 2009

      Charleston is ranked #7 Best City for Growth in Technology Jobs

    • Most Livable Cities in America
      SOURCE: US Conference of Mayors, June 2009

      Charleston is recognized as the #1 most livable city in the US.

    • Next Cities: Best Places to Live & Work for Young Professionals
      SOURCE: Next Generation Consulting, June 2009

      Charleston is ranked # 2 among cities with 100,000 to 200,000 population

    • America’s Strongest Housing Markets
      SOURCE: Forbes, January 2009

      Charleston is ranked among the top 25 best housing markets in the US.

    • 2008
      2008 Best Performing Cities: Where America’s Jobs Are Created
      SOURCE: Milken Institute, September 2008

      Charleston is ranked #10 for job creation among mid-sized metros.

    • The Best Cities for Doing Business
      SOURCE: Inc.com, August 2008

      Charleston is ranked #6 best places for business among 30 mid-sized cities

    • 50 Next Great Adventure Towns
      SOURCE: National Geographic, August 2008

      Charleston is named one of "the 50 next great adventure towns"

    • Top Arts Destinations
      SOURCE: American Style Magazine, June 2008

      Charleston is ranked #6 among the nation's mid-size cities.

    • 2007
      America's Best High Schools
      SOURCE: US News & World Report, December 2007

      Charleston County’s Academic Magnet High School Ranks 27th in the Nation

    • Top 10 Cities U.S. and Canada
      SOURCE: Travel + Leisure, August 2007

      Charleston is listed among the 10 best destinations in North America

    • The Best Cities for Doing Business
      SOURCE: Inc.com, May 2007

      Charleston recognized as one of the Top 20 Midsize Cities in the US.

    • 2006
      Small Business Survival Index 2006

      South Carolina ranks 11th among entrepreneur-friendly states

    • Hot Spots for Entrepreneurs
      SOURCE: Entrepreneur, November 2006

      Charleston metro area ranked #2 among top mid-size metros and the State of South Carolina ranked#5 nationally.

    • Five-Star Knowledge Worker Metros
      SOURCE: Expansion Management, May 2006

      Charleston metro area among top 20 percent in the US.

    • Top U.S. Cities for Doing Business
      SOURCE: Inc.com, May 2006

      Charleston region ranked #12 among midsize metros in the US.

    • Best Performing Cities : Where America's Jobs Are Created
      SOURCE: Milken Insitute, May 2006

      Charleston region listed among top 25 largest metros in the US.

    • 2005
      Hot Cities for Entrepreneurs
      SOURCE: Entrepreneur Magazine, October 2005

      Charleston metro area ranked #4 among top mid-size metros.

    • New American Dream Towns
      SOURCE: Outside Magazine, August 2005

      Charleston is ranked among top 10 cities in the US.

    • America's Most Unwired Cities
      SOURCE: Intel.com, June 2005

      Charleston metro area ranked #32 in the US.

    • Best Places for Business and Careers
      SOURCE: Forbes, May 2005

      Charleston metro area listed among top 50 in the US.

    • Technopolis Found: Top Tech Cities
      SOURCE: Popular Science, February 2005

      Charleston ranked #40 out of the Top 50 in the US.

  • South Carolina has a reputation as a superior business location largely due to an exceptional economic climate that helps companies hold down operating costs and increase return on investment. 

    Notable highlights include:

    • 5% corporate income tax
    • 7% maximum personal income tax
    • No state property tax
    • No local income tax
    • Tax credits for Research & Development
    • No unitary tax on worldwide profits
    • Tax credits for new jobs
    • Tax credits for corporate headquarters facilities
    • No inventory or intangibles tax

    In addition to business incentives by the State of South Carolina, the Charleston Digital Corridor provides tech and tech-related companies a host of high value services that stay with the company throughout the different stages of growth. 

    Notable highlights include:

    • Reduced Business License Fees
    • Five Year Tax Abatement
    • Streamlined Permitting
    • Assistance with Infrastructure Providers
    • Access to Digital Corridor's services
  • The availability of an abundant, stable and competitive business infrastructure is the vital underpinning of Charleston's tech community. Businesses operating in the Digital Corridor benefit from reliable and competitive business services and transportation infrastructure provided by a host of recognized local, national and international service providers.

    The Charleston Digital Corridor is pleased to facilitate business services for start-ups, expanding tech and tech-related companies, as well as companies seeking to expand or relocate to Charleston.

    Air Service

    Charleston is easily accessible from anywhere in the world. Due to increased demand, the Charleston International Airport is in the midst of a major expansion to accommodate their expanding flight schedule. Charleston is served by six airlines offering non-stop flights to fourteen major national cities. The Charleston region is also home to six executive airports to accommodate corporate and personal aircraft.

    • Alaska Airlines
    • American Airlines
    • Delta
    • Jet Blue
    • Southwest
    • United

    Data Service

    The Charleston region features a fiber optic, digital, IP-based network that offers businesses reliable, state-of-the-art communications services. Businesses in the Charleston region tap into everything from the latest feature-rich voice and data services to advanced wireless solutions - all provided by leaders in the telecommunications industry. Notable highlights include:

    • The Charleston region has 19 digital switching offices.
    • Instant rerouting ensured by dozens of fiber optic SONET rings.
    • Fiber connections are available to major buildings, ensuring continuous communications.
    • More than 90% of the region's telecommunications lines are buried.
    • Communication services include OC3 to OC 192 capabilities; Gigabit Ethernet Services; Fully Managed Services and Multi Protocol Layer Switching.
  • Talent is the currency of the 21st century. Business and community leaders in the Charleston region understand the critical role education plays in advancing a knowledge economy. From pre-kindergarten through doctoral level studies and even, computer code schools, Charleston is committed to providing the best educational opportunities possible.

    Educational attainment in the Charleston region is higher than in the United States overall. In fact, US Census Bureau ranks Charleston among the top 15% of all U.S. metropolitan areas in terms of the proportion of residents holding advanced degrees.

    Childhood Education

    Charleston area residents enjoy diverse options in K-12 education, including:

    Four public school districts:

    In addition to the Schools Districts, Charleston is home to:

    For additional information on area public and private schools, visit the South Carolina Department of Education.

    Higher Education

    Beyond K-12, more than two-dozen college and universities provide easy access to a full spectrum of higher education opportunities, from computer science to the culinary arts. Colleges in the region are regularly ranked among the nation's best by Peterson's, U.S News & World Report and other respected guides. Notable Higher Education Institutions in the Charleston Region include:

    University Research

    The Charleston region is within reasonable proximity to several top-tier research universities, including those in Atlanta and Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill (RTP). The state of South Carolina is also home to three universities with highly respected, growing research programs:

    Private Coding Schools

    Recognizing that the demand for talent by Charleston tech companies has outstripped the supply, Charleston is home to two computer code schools – CODEcamp and Iron Yard Academy.

    • CODEcamp is a community-sourced training program offered by the Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation to provide instruction in open source Web and mobile technologies.
    • The Iron Yard Academy (Charleston) teaches intensive, three-month courses that mentor students into a professional junior-level programmers.
  • Charleston's historic architecture is just the beginning. Like other vibrant historic peninsular cities – think Manhattan, Boston and San Francisco - Charleston has award-winning restaurants, a lively arts & cultural scene, and fashionable boutiques. One big difference: Charleston offers the perfect scale and civility for the human experience and some of the most friendly people in the country.

    Today, Charleston has been discovered as a national and global destination for business and talent, where young entrepreneurs, established professionals, growing families, college students, and retirees can all thrive and come together.

    Arts, Culture and Entertainment

    From the world-renowned annual Spoleto Festival to the new Gaillard Center, Charleston is a nationally recognized destination for the arts. Highlights include a world-class symphony orchestra, ballet company, host of theater companies, art museums and an increasing number of art galleries and studios. The dining scene is equally unparalleled; Charleston offers a wide range of award-winning restaurants across a spectrum of local and international cuisines. To learn more, notable resources include: 

    Sports and Recreation

    With its wealth of natural beauty, Charleston has much to offer in terms of sports and recreation activities. From spending time on the water kayaking, sailing, fresh or salt water fishing, or paddle boarding, to enjoying land activities such as golfing, bicycling, playing tennis, bird watching or horseback riding, there are activities for all levels of outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Charleston also hosts annual events such as the Cooper River Bridge Run. Notable resources include: