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Greenville Named to Inc.'s Surge Cities List

Greenville joins the second annual list of the 50 best places in America for starting a business

Published Thursday, December 12, 2019 10:00 am

Inc. today announced its second annual Surge Cities list, a guide to the best 50 cities in America for starting a business. Coming in #33 on the list is Greenville, South Carolina which featured for the first time.

Inc.’s Surge Cities partner, innovation policy firm Startup Genome, used public data as well as insights from the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America to compile the city rankings. Startup Genome developed its scoring system based on three traits that determine a surge city: growth, opportunity, and innovation. 

“Inc. has long believed in the alchemy of entrepreneurial innovation and community,” Inc. acting editor-in-chief Jon Fine said in a statement. “We’re excited to see, for the second year in a row, how well some smaller cities are competing with—indeed, even besting—the likes of San Francisco, New York, and Boston.” 

“NEXT is proud to support the growth of our entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Upstate region of South Carolina and particularly in Greenville,” said Scott Millwood, Founder of Yesflow and Board Chair for NEXT. “To be recognized by Inc. on their second annual Surge Cities list is great acknowledgement of the work that our community and entrepreneurs have invested in supporting high scale ventures. Our partners at Clemson University and Furman’s Office for Innovation and Entrepreneurship have played an integral role in supporting the entrepreneurs of NEXT and we appreciate their help.”

According to Carlos Phillips, Greenville Chamber President/CEO, “Today what we celebrate is the vision Greenville’s leaders had many years ago when laying the foundation for the thriving entrepreneurial community that we see today.” He adds, “Much like other triumphs throughout Greenville’s history, this is a testament to the power of strategic public-private partnerships. We would especially like to thank the City and County of Greenville, our business community for their belief and investment in helping other businesses succeed, and the many entrepreneurs for the transformative impact their work has on our community.”

South Carolina made a strong showing, with Charleston (No. 7) and Columbia (No. 42) also making the list and earning the state a feature article: 

To see the complete list go to:

Introduced in 2018, the Surge Cities list quickly established itself as one of Inc.’s most anticipated franchises for early-stage business owners. This year’s package includes examples of thriving young companies in cities of all sizes across the U.S. in addition to the backstories of several founders’ journeys to success.

Inc.’s Surge Cities issue (Winter 2019) is available online at and on newsstands beginning December 12. Join the Surge Cities conversation using #IncSurgeCities.

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