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Hilton to lead Midlands startup center for Incubator, Innovista

Staff Report
Published April 9, 2012

Greg Hilton has been named executive director of the Midlands Center for Entrepreneurial and Technological Innovation, a collaboration between the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator and the University of South Carolina’s Innovista research campus.

Greg Hilton
Greg Hilton,
executive director of Midlands CETI
The startup center will focus on providing a one-stop destination for all things entrepreneurial. Hilton and his team will develop educational programs and customized resources for entrepreneurs preparing to launch technology and innovation-driven startups.

The center will be housed and managed by the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator, which has fostered startup companies since its inception in 1998.

Executive Director Ron Loewen managed the recruitment process that led to hiring Hilton.

“We went through an extensive national and international search. We were pleased with the number and quality of the applicants. Greg was a perfect fit. His passion for entrepreneurial education and job creation, his previous startup activities, his deep network of local/regional/national contacts, his impressive body of work, his boundless energy and natural leadership skills position Greg to hit the ground running,” Loewen said.

“We’re creating some real synergy here with the Incubator and CETI, synergy that we believe will help catalyze a new generation of startups in the region,” Loewen said.

"We have an incredible wellspring of innovation and new technology emanating from the university's research activities. This is an opportunity to accelerate the creation and growth of new startups, leveraging that wellspring, while working to build a world class and homegrown startup community throughout the region," Hilton said.

Hilton’s recent experience includes management roles for EngenuitySC, a public-private partnership formed to develop and grow Columbia’s knowledge economy; New Carolina, South Carolina’s Council on Competitiveness; and ECI, a market development and research firm helping small companies find new markets.

He has counseled more than 100 startups, managed more than $10 million in federally funded economic development work, and has lived or worked in several Latin American countries.

CETI will serve USC students, faculty, staff, alumni and the Midlands’ regional startup community.

Don Herriott, director of Innovista Partnerships, who led the university effort to establish CETI, said, “The essence of Innovista is not buildings or physical infrastructure; it is the talent, knowledge and expertise that exists within the university and our ability to connect that into the market place. Greg’s hiring will add to the significant investment in innovation that the university is making to grow the knowledge economy in the Midlands and across the state of South Carolina.”

For more information or to schedule a meeting or interview, contact Hilton at 803-606-4440 or

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