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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Realizing The Vision

Jul 19, 2022 11:53AM ● By Lori Coon

State Senator's Vision Comes to Fruition in Launching South Carolina Institutes of Innovation

South Carolina's Institutes of Innovation and Information (SCIII) is an initiative and vision inspired by State Sen. John L. Scott, Jr., D-Richland, focused on revolutionizing and cultivating the state's seven four-year HBCUs' overall capabilities and contributions for the state’s citizens and residents.

 South Carolina has a rich history when it comes to educating people of color, and the state's seven HBCUs produce more than 50 percent of all Black college graduates in the state.

 Officials say SCIII provides the perfect conduit for partnerships between South Carolina's HBCUs and state business and industry, diversifying and improving the state's workforce.

 Through Scott’s leadership and vision, the South Carolina General Assembly appropriated $18 million in 2021 towards the development of educational institutes at each of South Carolina's seven HBCUs.

 Each institute was established with specific focuses and disciplines united to increase opportunities and exposure for their student bodies on campus and the surrounding community. 

"The Institutes of Innovation and Information is one of the most powerful tools that Historical Black Colleges and Universities will see for years to come,” Scott said.

“As each HBCU launches its own institute to look at issues affecting South Carolina you will begin to get more involvement with our colleges and universities. The students, faculty, and staff will notice that having corporate partners will bring about scholarships, opportunities for young people such as internships, as well as jobs after graduation and even some during their tenure at school.

“We think this a game-changer for South Carolina. For the 5,000 plus businesses and corporations we have here, we have not had the opportunity to invite them to be a part of the HBCU lifestyle. Through the creation of this institute and with the direction of our executive director, Dr. Gwynth Nelson, we think this is highly possible."

 The seven HBCUs include Allen University, Benedict College, Claflin University, Clinton College, Morris College, South Carolina State University and Voorhees University.

Each school's institute has a specific focus area, and all of them fit under the umbrella of initiatives and efforts centered around bringing innovation to the school's students, the surrounding community and the state overall.

 Three of the institutes - at Claflin and Voorhees Universities, and at Morris College – have officially launched.

 SCIII recognizes the intersectionality of industry, business and individual workers; the organization says it will strengthen HBCUs by building pipelines from each Institute directly to opportunities in state business and industry.

 The SCIII Foundation was established to support and assist the efforts of the seven established institutions by providing funding, resources, and network partnerships with leaders in the business and philanthropic community.

 It is guided and managed by Nelson, the executive director who previously held the position of AVP of Institutional Advancement at Voorhees University.

 Dr. Rusty Monhollon, president and executive director of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, believes SCIII will revolutionize the state's HBCUs by giving them more visibility and establishing relationships with the state's businesses and industries as they join forces with the Institutes.

 "Establishing partnerships between private and educational sectors for relevant training and career preparation will provide meaningful opportunities for our students, as well as the businesses and industries they work with," Monhollon said.

 "These relationships will help demonstrate the quality of our academic programs to the private sector while also allowing students to contribute locally."

MCR Closes on $420 Million Refinancing of 30-Hotel Portfolio

MCR — the country’s fourth-largest hotel owner-operator — has closed on a $420 million refinancing of 30 hotels across the country.

The financing was provided by balance sheet lenders Wells Fargo (which served as lead left arranger on the transaction), BMO Harris (joint lead arranger), Bank of America and Square Mile Capital at an interest rate of SOFR + 3.73 percent.

 MCR said it secured attractive financing terms during a period of capital markets volatility given its strong lender relationships, institutional sponsorship and superior operating performance.

 The 30 hotels are all managed by MCR’s in-house operations team that today includes 6,000 professionals and 145 hotels.

 Spread across 17 states, the 30-hotel portfolio totals 3,792 rooms and is concentrated in dynamic, high-growth markets — including Florida, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Texas and South Carolina.

 Officials said the hotels have strong historical and in-place cash flow, and all have recently undergone capital improvements, positioning them well for future growth.

 The portfolio’s product type and geographic mix is diverse, consisting of Hilton- and Marriott-affiliated select service and extended stay hotels across eight different flags: Homewood Suites, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Home2 Suites, Residence Inn, Courtyard, SpringHill Suites and TownePlace Suites.

 Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP served as legal advisor to MCR on the transaction, and Eastdil Secured served as financial advisor.

Regions Bank Announces Commercial Corporate Finance Team

Regions Bank formally announced the establishment and continued business growth of a Commercial Corporate Finance (CCF) team that is connecting business leaders with specialized resources, insights, and guidance on opportunities including ownership transitions, financing alternatives, and risk management.

 The team is led by Coulter Warlick, who joined Regions in 2021 to develop and launch the team.

 Additional focus areas for the CCF team include growth capital, management buyout needs, loan syndications, M&A opportunities, dividends, recapitalization and more. Warlick’s team provides guidance, structure, and support from concept through completion.

 Warlick joined Regions from South State Bank, where he served as director of Middle Market Banking and developed a team of bankers serving mid-sized businesses throughout the Southeast. He previously worked at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey.

Warlick began his banking career at BB&T in 2005.

 Warlick earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

 He currently chairs the board of directors for Furman University’s Bridges to a Brighter Future Program Scholarship Fund.

Goodwill’s New Business Services Center Provides Reliable Manpower, Quality Services for the Greater Good

Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina (GIUMSC) is hosting a grand opening celebration for the nonprofit’s new Business Services Center on Wednesday, July 20, 2022.

 The more than 8,000-square-foot facility at 412-A Sulphur Springs Road in Greenville adjoins Goodwill’s retail store and donation center on the same property.

 Agency officials said the flagship location now becomes a source of hope to some; service to others; and goodwill to all, as all parts of Goodwill’s mission services are represented in one location - donation, retail, Job Connection and now Business Services.

 While Goodwill is best known for its thrifty finds and career services for job seekers, agency officials say Goodwill Business Services creates even more opportunity for the nonprofit to help people and communities see their value and thrive.

 The Business Services Center provides companies production support in the form of kitting, packaging, assembly and inspection.

 By outsourcing the services, companies are able to focus on what they do best and leave the rest to Goodwill, agency officials say.

 To learn more about how Goodwill can assist your business, go to [email protected], or call (864) 351-0119.


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