NEXT Upstate Rebrands as NextGEN

For almost two decades, NEXT Upstate, the organization that began as an initiative housed inside the Greenville Chamber, has grown in reputation and scope of services. Hundreds of startup founders from across the region have benefited from its support in the form of mentoring programs, networking groups and regional events drawing national attention to Greenville. The companies they support go on to raise millions of dollars and employ thousands of local workers, improving the economy of the entire Upstate of South Carolina.

NextGEN references the Greenville Entrepreneur Network and represents a new generation of support for the founders, entrepreneurs, and innovators who call Greenville home.

“Fostering entrepreneurship is not merely about building companies. It's about building communities, encouraging change, and celebrating growth,” says Eric Weissmann, Executive Director of NextGEN. “As an organization evolves, we need to respect our heritage while driving forward with our eyes fixed on the future. There’s no better time to be an entrepreneur than now and no better place to follow your dreams than here in Greenville, SC.”

Over the last two years, NextGEN has launched new programs and services such as an accelerator program, workshops, and monthly events, widening the aperture of who it serves. NextGEN is also the driving force behind #StartupGVL - the rallying cry and unifying brand for the regional community of entrepreneurs and the dozens of groups who directly support them.

“The rebrand merges the legacy and history of the organization with its future,” says Carlos Phillips, President/CEO of the Greenville Chamber and NextGEN board member. “The new branding reflects the refined strategy and exciting direction as NextGEN supports Greenville’s high-growth entrepreneurs.”

It’s because of this firm foundation that NextGEN is one of the longest-running entrepreneur support organizations in the State of South Carolina and a draw for companies looking to launch or expand in a place they love to live. No one succeeds alone, so to have a built-in network of others to help you is encouraging.

“NextGEN is a critical component to our overall economic development strategy,” says Shannon Lavrin, Greenville City Manager and NextGEN board member. “Greenville is a vibrant, thriving community, but we know we’re in a competitive space when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. A robust innovation and entrepreneurship network is critical to attracting high-growth companies and keeping them in Greenville.”


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