Read about the Doers changing the world from Greenville, South Carolina.
Ryan Johnston and Ryan Heafy
Co-founders of 6am City
There’s no doubt the guys behind one of the fastest growing local media companies in the nation love Greenville. Suffice it to say "the Ryans" are dialed in. They are visible. They are involved. Even as their daily eblast, GVL Today, expanded into a nationwide enterprise, they kept the connection to their home base. They say the city has a cheerleading mentality and supports entrepreneurs who are moving HERE from somewhere else.
“Greenville is still small enough and young enough but has a very entrepreneurial mindset… we’ve actually been able to fund our entire company to date — about $4 million — all with angel funding.”
KIYATEC, Inc. CEO and co-founder
Matt Gevaert moved to the Upstate from Canada 25 years ago to get a master’s degree from Clemson University’s internationally renowned bioengineering program. His challenging academic load might have short-circuited most people’s brains, but Gevaert had the bandwidth to flex his leadership muscles as grad school student body president. He continued to drive himself forward earning a Ph.D. and doing groundbreaking cancer drug research.
Gevaert says it’s a privilege to have Greenville as part of his story. He met his wife Theresa here. He’s raising his family here. He’s living life to the fullest here. He’s changing the world of cancer treatment FROM HERE.
CEO of ChartSpan
Jon-Michial has a knack for seeing a need—and surrounding himself with the right people to fill that need. His team brought ChartSpan to Greenville, SC for a short growth phase, but ended up falling in love with the city.
"In five years, by staying in Greenville, SC we became the largest provider of care coordination solutions in the United States. And we were only able to do that here because of the people and the business environment. Frankly, I don't know that we could have recreated that somewhere else. There are so many companies achieving so many great things here, and it’s not a coincidence. It's a remarkable business environment to grow and create a company."
CEO of Worxbee
Kenzie Biggins moved from Atlanta to Greenville, SC at the suggestion of a well-known business woman. She knows good taste, having studied at SCAD—and she knows whether someone is bluffing or being real, thanks to a corporate career at Target. On top of that, she knows what kind of fast-paced work ethic a city requires, having lived in D.C. But more than anything, she knows that Greenville, SC has been the best thing for her company. Her business has multiplied a minimum of eight times its original size since she made the leap to relocate to the Upstate.
Founder & Developer of Chapel GVL
Matt starts things. He is driven to create something that has never been done before. He takes a vision of how it can be done differently and better, and doesn’t stop until it becomes a reality. To do this, he becomes fully in tune with the area he is looking to develop—and asks important questions. How can he make the area better for the current residents? How can he provide jobs and training? How can this space be used to bring the community together?
After growing up in and receiving his undergrad in Greenville, SC, his path took him to San Francisco, and then Austin, seeking new experiences. He recently moved his family back to Greenville, SC because he saw the raw potential. He saw an opportunity to make a mark.
"Greenville kind of has a different feel to it right now than it did. A trajectory that I'm more interested in, yet still early in that process. An opportunity to help shape it and improve here."
Oil & Vinegar, ChefVeera.com
Veera grew up in India, but was told she couldn't follow her passion of working as a chef. She pursued higher education in the United States and as a second career founded Oil & Vinegar with her husband, Joe. They were scouting where they wanted to open their store, a place that appreciated high quality food, a place full of entertainment and culture. When they visited Greenville, SC, they knew it was the right place.
"Truth be told, we actually made the decision being here after an hour and a half sitting at a restaurant, listening to music and watching the people and families in the street and dancing...That was better than we would have expected. And again in a small town. But I think for us it was really the fact that there are so many people from different parts of the world in this town because of the kinds of industries here. So we didn't feel like we were going to a place that was this sleepy little town."
Co-Owner Mint & Parsley, Tipsy Taco Clemson, & O.M. Appraisal Group
Paul has seen the world, literally, as a marine. He came to Greenville by chance, to get his appraisal license and stayed. Through a co-working space, he found the support and opportunities that would have been lost in a big city.
Paul is the entrepreneur that can't help but "see the opportunities, and where it could be profitable, where it could help the community, and where it could employ a lot of people."
"From business owners to Councilmen, I know now that I can pick up this phone and I can call any of them and they will take my call and they will give me advice. Free, complete advice about entrepreneurship, about HR issues.”