Become a Member Company
SCRA’s mission is to fuel South Carolina’s innovation economy by accelerating technology-enabled growth in research, academia, entrepreneurship, and industry. We do this through the work of our four programs, SC Academic Innovations, SC Facilities, SC Industry Solutions and SC Launch. Startups and founders begin by submitting an application to be considered for support and funding. Those selected to be part of the program based on the criteria listed below, become SCRA Member Companies.
Many companies apply to the program. Our stringent criteria permit only select companies, with the potential to become highly impactful enterprises within South Carolina, to be accepted.
On average, <40% of the companies that apply for membership are accepted. Because SCRA has finite resources, and to contribute to the betterment of our state as effectively as possible, we choose to focus on and accept companies we believe to have the acceptable risk, validated business and growth model(s), and greatest impact to the state.
If you are interested in pursuing membership opportunities with SCRA, please review our company criteria below.
After that review, if you believe your company aligns with our criteria, please complete the membership application.
If you do not believe that you meet the criteria, we encourage you to find other potential options from our Additional Ecosystem Resources section below.
We admit and invest in companies that fit the following expectations:
Location & Payroll:
The Business's principal office is located in South Carolina or at least 51% of payroll to employees within the state
To ensure our companies are contributing to the betterment of our state, it is imperative that the company be located within our state, or its employees live in SC.
Registration validates the company’s intention to do business in South Carolina and exhibit sincere interest in our program.
Your product offering is in the following target sectors: Advanced Materials/Manufacturing, Information Technology or Life Sciences
Our goal is to support industries that can grow quickly, hire skilled employees, utilize local higher education talent, and bring outside capital into SC.
The team should include experienced team member on board with at least one member of management working full-time. It is preferred that the business have a Board of Advisors in place.
Having a resource committed full-time is a strong indicator that the company is serious about its success and willing to contribute time, effort, and resources towards its viability.
Company’s product is not easily replicated, and has validation and/or system prototype demonstration in relevant environment, has protected IP (such as patents, trade secret and/or trademarks)
IP provides protection from competitors and additional risk(s). If IP is limited, the company’s business model should reflect the appropriate strategy(ies) to mitigate risk(s).
Value proposition validated within target market and has a high-impact business model with the potential to generate significant revenue.
This demonstrates the business has product-market fit, customer demand, and a path to market. It exhibits a scalable business model that will require future investment to continue its trajectory.
The company has plans to, or already has secured, initial external funding (such as: grants, bank loans, friends, founders)
Founder-funded or initial external capital indicates a founder’s commitment to the growth of the business. SCRA should not be a company’s first or primary source of external capital.
Our Membership Process
Portal Registration & Application Submission
All companies seeking membership must signup in the SCRA Portal (link below) and submit an SCRA Membership Application. When creating your application, please wait and access the portal with the email confirmation that is sent. Please note this can take up to 24 hours. Do not try to access the “member login” if you do not get a confirmation email. The application will be reviewed by our team based on the criteria above.
Please note: Companies that address all questions in the application have a greater chance of moving on to the next step.
Once your application is reviewed and seems to fit our criteria, we will invite you to a virtual screening session with a member of our team with a skillset relevant to your company. After the meeting, if our Team still thinks you qualify and are ready for membership, you will be added to the monthly SCRA Company Review list to pitch in front of our entire team.
Your assigned manager will work and coach you on your company’s pitch prior to the monthly SCRA Company Review meeting. After your pitch, the team will vote whether to admit your company into the program. For earlier stage start-ups, this can be good practice and we offer pitch deck materials to help you get started.
Terms of Membership
If your company is approved, then you will receive an announcement via email along with various SCRA Membership materials, the most important of which is the Terms of Membership. Upon returning the signed membership agreement, congratulations, you are a Member Company! Continue scrolling to see the benefits offered in our program.
- Coaching and other support from SCRA staff and Resource Partners
- Participation in SCRA-sponsored networking events
- SCRA marketing and promotion of major company successes
- Opportunity to apply for a variety of grants
- Possible partnerships with industry and/or academia facilitated and funded by SCRA
- Potential eligibility for investments from SCRA’s investment affiliate, SC Launch Inc.
Applying to be a Member Company?
Please watch the video below and allow up to 24-hours to receive account credentials.
Not sure you fit our criteria? Review our Ecosystem Resources below that can help start-ups across various challenges in a variety of stages.
Additional Ecosystem Resources
If you are searching for initial external funding resources, we encourage you to go to ecosystem organizations like Founders Institute or Ten at the Top to review options for numerous capital resources. If pursuing a SBIR/STTR Phase 1 for commercialization or product development, we recommend contacting 3PhaseSC to provide assistance.
For guidance and advice for navigating your entrepreneur journey, we recommend the South Carolina Small Business Development Center, SCORE, or your local economic development agency to provide the best assistance.
Pre-MVP (MinimumViable Product)
Entrepreneurs with a “proof of concept” or an “idea” are too early for our program. We suggest working with the South Carolina Small Business Development Center, or consider contacting a local start-up incubator.