July 10, 2006

State seeking venture capital investors

Daily Journal Staff  /  The Charleston Regional Business Journal

The South Carolina Venture Capital Authority is soliciting a request for proposals in order to identify qualified professional investors and top-rated investment managers to participate in the state's new venture capital program.

The RFP mimics a traditional due diligence questionnaire commonly found in the institutional investment arena. Created by the passage of the Venture Capital Investment Act in 2005, the authority is a seven-member board that has access to $50 million of South Carolina tax credits, which serve as collateral for private institutional lenders. These lenders extend capital to designated investment professionals who in turn invest in South Carolina companies. The returns from these in-state investments are used to pay back the private lenders before they use the state tax credits.

When managed successfully, South Carolina is positioned to benefit from economic growth without added state expenditure. The authority's public policy goals are consistent with the economic development efforts of the state: to support homegrown South Carolina companies and foster entrepreneurial growth. Both of these goals are identified as key drivers in raising income levels in South Carolina.

"For a number of months, we've been actively networking throughout the investment industry to determine the interest of top-rated investment professionals to participate in the South Carolina program," said Chad Walldorf, chairman of the SC Venture Capital Authority. "The results of that campaign are extremely encouraging, and we're hopeful that through our due diligence we will be able to make this a successful program that will create a variety of economic prospects in our state."

Although it has its own board, the Venture Capital Program is support by staff from the Department of Commerce. For more information, contact Ian M. Forbes-Jones, venture capital development manager, at (803) 737-3180 or iforbes-jones@sccommerce.com.