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The GSSM Foundation to Lead Startsville, the Hartsville Community’s Downtown Innovation Center

August 30, 2016

The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics Foundation has entered a partnership with the City of Hartsville to open a new, off-campus entrepreneurship hub known as Startsville: GSSM Foundation’s Innovation Center, located at 145 W. Carolina Street. Designed to serve students, alumni and the greater Hartsville community, Startsville will be a nucleus for entrepreneurial activities and more.

Originally established in 2013 by the Community Foundation for a Better Hartsville, Startsville was founded as a part of Clemson University’s Technology Village pilot program, which established centers of innovation and entrepreneurship in small, metropolitan cities throughout the state.

“As GSSM’s alumni base continues to grow in diversity and creativity, the time is now to establish a center of operations for our graduates seeking a return to South Carolina to launch or collaborate on a new business, as well as a space for current students to explore the possibilities,” said Kim Bowman, CEO of the GSSM Foundation and EVP of Strategic Direction for GSSM. “No other high school in the state can leverage its assets – students, faculty and alumni – the way GSSM can. Plus, improving engagement between our School and community, in a way that allows us to give back, has been a long-term goal.”

Along with providing start-up assistance, Startsville will offer a variety of community activities including a speaker’s series, afterschool technology programs for middle schoolers, and special events featuring visiting entrepreneurs, competitions, and student-led outreach.

“Young talent is a driver for economic growth and vitality,” said Natalie Zeigler, Hartsville City Manager. “I applaud Kim Bowman of the GSSM Foundation for championing this new partnership initiative. It speaks volumes about her belief in our community and the connection we share with Governor School students and alumni. I look forward to a renewed momentum and fresh ideas."

Kathryn de Ridder-Vignone will continue as the director of Startsville, as well as now serving as an adjunct instructor in GSSM’s BlueCross BlueShield Economics and Finance Institute where she teaches a technology ventures class designed to introduce students to the world of entrepreneurship. 

Startsville will host its first Startup Weekend Hartsville November 19-21. During this 54-hour event, local innovators, designers, scientists and artists will work together to pitch their best ideas on innovative solutions to packaging. To register, contact Kathryn de Ridder-Vignone at 843-917-0600 or

For more information about Startsville: the GSSM’s Foundation’s Innovation Center, contact Kim Bowman at 803-240-6642 or

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