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Benedict College is one of only 10 Organizations in South Carolina to Receive Funding to Support Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The South Carolina Department of Commerce Office of Innovation selected the Burroughs Enterprise, Startup, and Technology (B.E.S.T.) as a Recipient of The Relentless Challenge

COLUMBIA, SC, February 7, 2022, Benedict College announced today that it is one of 10 Organizations in South Carolina to receive a grant from the South Carolina Department of Commerce Office of Innovation. The funding will be used to support the creation of the Burroughs Enterprise, Startup, and Technology (B.E.S.T.)  Innovation Lab. The 2022 Relentless Challenge Grant presented to Benedict College a matching grant of $43,000.

“Benedict College is quickly becoming a hub for high-growth entrepreneurship for students,” said Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, President and CEO of Benedict College. “Last year, we repurposed our bookstore to support student entrepreneurs since we no longer use hardcover books. The pop-up shop concept allows our students to sell their products without a huge overhead fee. The new B.E.S.T Innovation Lab will help students to develop their ideas and to learn how to operate a small business in the new Benedict College Retail Marketplace.”   

With the mission of progressing and supporting technology-based economic development projects, commercialization of new ideas, and the next generation of industry-leading companies, the Relentless Challenge grant series targets strategic investments in localized initiatives.

“The Burroughs Enterprise, Startup, and Technology Innovation Lab is a mind-shift initiative meant to bring awareness of fast-growing entrepreneurship opportunities to Benedict College students,” noted Dr. Tracy Dunn, Dean of the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship and author of the Relentless Challenge grant. “The program will develop a framework through the utilization of seminars, team projects, a newly formed Founders Lecture Series, and a cross-pollination of disciplines to create a culture of student innovation and entrepreneurship.”

“South Carolina is home to a unique and budding entrepreneurial spirit, one in which we are excited to continue to invest. Our state’s knowledge economy and start-up culture play an integral part in diversifying our innovation economy, helping recruit and retain high-tech projects,” said Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III. “Congratulations to each of the grant recipients, and we’re excited to see what they will accomplish and how they help continue to set South Carolina apart.”

Since 2013, the S.C. Commerce Office of Innovation has awarded more than $7.5 million in local innovation projects to 52 organizations. Available grant funds that are uncommitted in any grant cycle are carried forward for future innovation projects, such as the newly announced Palmetto Venture Fellowship.

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 About Benedict College

Founded in 1870 by a woman, Bathsheba A. Benedict, Benedict College is a private co-educational liberal arts institution, offering 25 competitive baccalaureate degree programs. The Midlands HBCU welcomes students from all 46 counties in South Carolina, 30 states across America, and 26 countries around the world. 

Benedict offers several high-demand fields of study in STEM, Cyber Security, Mass Communication, Sport Management, Business Administration, Engineering, Computer Science, Biology, and Education. The College also has a diverse faculty and importantly, 80 percent of courses are taught by full-time faculty. 

There are over 18,000 proud Benedict Tigers throughout the nation. Benedict College has been a community leader for over 150-years and is a significant contributor to South Carolina and the region. Contributing $130 million and 1,218 jobs in total local and annual economic impact, a Benedict graduate working full-time throughout his or her working life can expect to earn $1.1 million in additional income because of their Benedict College degree. 

The College made front-page news in the spring of 2018 when it became the first South Carolina college to lower its tuition by 26 percent. Cutting tuition drew praise from the Commission on Higher Education, South Carolina’s education oversight body. The commissioner noted that the move Benedict College made should be applauded because it offers families affordability and students greater access to higher education. 

Benedict College has been highly regarded and exceptionally ranked for its programs by several academic and traditional publications.  For example, Benedict College was ranked as one of the top baccalaureate colleges in the nation by Washington Monthly magazine for creating social mobility and producing cutting-edge scholarship and research.  In 2019, Benedict College received the 2019 ACE/ Fidelity Investments Awards for Institutional Transformation and was named the HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest

Benedict College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and master’s degrees. Five of the College’s degree programs hold national accreditation: The School of Education, Social Work Program, Environmental Health Science Program, Studio Art Program, and the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship. 

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