Communities are generally transformed around what most residents perceive as an economically catastrophic event, such as the closing of a big manufacturing plant; massive layoffs as a large employer is acquired; or stagnation or decline of employment opportunities as operations are outsourced.
In Charleston, the consensus is that things are good. So what happens when citizens take the time to participate in strategic planning exercises? What happens when a few citizens challenge us to do better? What happens when expectations are created? What happens when a city heeds the call for further economic diversification?
The Charleston Digital Corridor was launched in February 2001 to attract, nurture and promote Charleston’s knowledge economy. The following represent a few milestones in the development of the Charleston Digital Corridor.
- Milken Institute ranks Charleston as the11th best-performing economy in the nation.
- Flagship graduate, PeopleMatter, dedicates world HQ building on King Street in Downtown Charleston and raises $35 million in venture capital.
- Under30CEO.com names Charleston a top location for IT Companies and Jobs.
- Digital Corridor announces plans to build a new 45,000 sq.ft. business incubator.
- Benefitfocus debuts on the NASDAQ as a public company under the BNFT ticker and subsequently announces announces1,200 additional jobs and $60 million campus expansion.
- The Flagships graduate 76 companies since June 2009.
- 4 Charleston tech companies make the Inc. 500’s Fastest Growing Companies List
- In the Digital Corridor’s annual survey, 94% of the participating companies add jobs with 88% expecting to add more in 2014.
- At an average annual wage of $71,657, the average wage at Digital Corridor companies is 1.7 times the regional per-capita wage.
- Charleston’s Silicon Harbor is recognized nationally on the map of emerging tech hubs.
- Silicon Harbor Ventures announces new committed capital fund to help grow Charleston’s tech community
- 310 students graduate from CODEcamp since the program launched May 2012 .
- In January, CharlestonWORKS.com was launched to connect qualified career seekers with the vast number of technical job opportunities in Charleston's growing knowedge economy through its website, twitter feed, career fair visitations and other outreach opportunities.
Amidst the anemic national job growth picture, 61% of the Digital Corridor companies participating in the Annual Wage and Job Growth survey reported that had added jobs in 2010 and expect to continue hiring; Digital Corridor average wages continued to be double the state average.
The Flagship, Charleston's premier co-working facility operates at 100% occupancy, graduating 7 companies, creating 65 jobs and infusing over $5 million in payroll into the local community.
- The Flagship, Charleston's premier co-working facility for knowledge-based businesses opens for business.
- Digital Corridor companies's average wage reached $83,636, surpassing both state and regional averages of $36,050 and $37,520, respectively.
- Despite the economic uncertainty of 2009, Charleston’s knowledge economy continued to thrive; the SC Research Authority, the Medical University of South Carolina and the City of Charleston collaborated to bring online the Charleston region’s first wet lab incubator, the Charleston Innovation Center.
- Charleston Digital Corridor founder, Ernest Andrade, expands leadership to the Office of Business Development for the City of Charleston while remaining Director of the Charleston Digital Corridor.
- Myconostica Ltd. and Surya Biofertilizers locate in Charleston and close on funding.
- City of Charleston, Medical University of South Carolina and S.C. Research Authority collaborate to create a life sciences innovation center.
- JSJ Pharmaceuticals and Belimed locate their respective headquarters to the Digital Corridor.
- Prominent companies, including Digital Lifestyle Outfitters Automated Trading Desk and QuickFarm were acquired.
- Several corridor companies received institutional and angel investment.
- By years end almost one billion dollars flowed into a handful of companies - leading to large employment gains in Charleston's knowledge economy. Adding to the sizzle was the announcement by internet search giant, Google, that they were locating a major data center in Goose Creek.
- Benefitfocus.com and NanoScreen dedicate their corporate headquarters buildings in the Digital Corridor's Cainhoy District.
- The Corridor's Talent portal gets a major makeover.
- eSchoolware is selected as a recipient of the "Corridor Fund."
- The Digital Corridor grows to 77 companies.
- Entrepreneur Magazine names Charleston the #2 mid size city for entrepreneurs.
- Inc. Magazine names Charleston the 12th Hottest Midsize City.
- The Charleston Digital Corridor receives recognition as a best practice community at the 6th Annual Intelligent Communities Forum.
- Charleston's wi-fi project "the radius" goes live.
- The South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA) announces an ambitious new initiative – SC Launch.
- Charleston is ranked one of the best "New American Dream Towns," by Outside Magazine.
- The Digital Corridor launches a new initiative - the "Corridor Roundtable."
- The "Corridor Fund" is launched to provide a source of early stage capital for Charleston's growing knowledge-based community.
- Average wage levels at corridor companies decline slightly as the number of start-up companies grow, yet employment numbers continue climbing.
- Charleston announces a privately financ