Exclusive: South Carolina City Receives Recognition for Inclusiveness in High Tech

Richard Breen

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

Lingering stereotypes would tell you the terms “high-tech” and “inclusive” wouldn’t be associated with cities in South Carolina. But one community is drawing notice for turning those stereotypes around.

Greenville was recently listed among “eight of America’s most digitally inclusive tech cities” in an article from The Brookings Institution. The article pointed out that tech skills are unevenly spread across the economy.

This unevenness is not only geographic, but also demographic, with women and minorities often underrepresented in high-tech fields. The Brookings article holds up Greenville and these seven other cities as examples that counter this trend:

Columbus, Ohio

Denver Colorado

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Raleigh, North Carolina

Sacramento, California

Louis, Missouri

Washington, D.C.

When it came to Greenville, the article pointed out the community’s success in attracting and retaining health-tech firms. It also pointed out that black workers were represented at a higher rate in tech jobs than in the metro area’s overall population.

“In addition, 31 percent of Greenville’s tech workers are female, making the region the sixth most gender-inclusive larger metro in the country for tech,” the report went on to say.

Sam Konduros has had his finger on the pulse of tech for many years, having worked in economic development in the Upstate as well as his current role as president and chief executive of S.C. Biotechnology Industry Organization, which supports the state’s life sciences industry. He says there are ongoing conversations about inclusiveness throughout the state and that Greenville has become an attractive city for skilled workers.

“It’s got some wonderful edge and coolness factors,” he says. “There is a nurturing ecosystem there.

“Part of building a healthy ecosystem is being about diversity and inclusion. That, in and of itself, is attracting a wider spectrum of people.”

The Brookings references a June article by Bloomberg Businessweek that lauds Greenville as “The New Startup South” for its transition to tech from textiles.