The SmartState Program was created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 2002. The Program is unique in that it does not receive taxpayer dollars; it is funded through funds from the South Carolina Education Lottery.
To learn more about the enabling legislation, click here.
In addition to the SmartState Program, the South Carolina legislature has put into place several programs that are fueling research and driving South Carolina's economy:
The Research University Infrastructure Act (2004) allows the state's three research universities to apply for competitive state grants from a funding pool of $220 million for infrastructure-related projects. Infrastructure funded by RUIA must house or otherwise support programs in the same knowledge-based, technology-intensive fields promoted by the SmartState Program. Funding for RUIA projects must be matched dollar-for-dollar with funds from private, federal, or other non-state sources.
The Life Sciences Act (2004) offers tax credits to life sciences companies that make a capital investment of $100 million or more, create at least 200 new, full-time jobs, and pay up to two times the state or county per capita income. The act also provides life sciences companies with rebates of approved eligible expenditures and allows for these companies to negotiate their corporate income tax liability. The act allows the state to issue up to $250 million in general obligation bonds to pay for infrastructure improvements necessary to induce the location of large life science facilities within the state.
The Venture Capital Investment Act (2004) creates two funds within the Department of Commerce: the South Carolina Venture Capital Fund and the South Carolina Technology Innovation Fund. The $50 million venture capital fund may provide equity, near-equity, and seed capital of up to $5 million or 15% of the committed capital of the investor, whichever is less. Deals must be for South Carolina-based firms that are emerging, expanding, relocating, or restructuring. Uses of the technology fund are more varied, permitting the state to provide small grants to support research and technology transfer through the incubators connected to the state’s research universities. This act created the Venture Capital Investment Authority to oversee the program.
The Innovation and Research Centers Act (2005) establishes three innovation zones, operated by the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA); each zone centers on one of the state’s senior research universities (Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, and the Medical University of South Carolina). The program, now called SCLaunch!, devotes $12 million in funding to facilitate applied research, product development, and commercialization within the state, thereby strengthening South Carolina’s knowledge economy and creating high-paying jobs.