In 2005, Greenville entrepreneur Jeff Papenfus scrawled a question on a bar napkin: “Why aren’t we doing this in Greenville?”
The “this” in question was an initiative to build and maintain a network of entrepreneurs and supporters with the aim of nurturing and promoting local economic growth. Jeff saw that the model worked, and he knew it would work in Greenville, too. Soon after, a group of Greenville entrepreneurs began the efforts that would form NEXT.
From the start, NEXT’s goal has been to connect innovative entrepreneurs to a rich network of support and to provide education and opportunities for growth. High-impact small companies are critical to true economic development. In creating a local ecosystem where these ventures will thrive, high-quality jobs and a rich economy will follow.
In Memory of Jeff Papenfus
On July 30, 2011, NEXT co-founder, entrepreneur, community leader, outdoor enthusiast, and husband Jeff Papenfus passed away unexpectedly while doing something he greatly enjoyed: mountain biking. His passing was a shock to the family of entrepreneurs here and his leadership and commitment to action is greatly missed. However, Jeff’s infectious smile and entrepreneurial spirit lives on in the work of NEXT and the hard work and dedication of the many entrepreneurs he touched through the years.
It takes teamwork and collaboration to fulfill NEXT’s mission. None of us could do what we do alone.
From Idea to Thriving Initiative
Since its founding in 2006, NEXT has demonstrated the ability to generate a critical mass of high-impact companies in the Upstate region of SC. NEXT has built a collaborative, dynamic ecosystem to support an entrepreneur community of 134 high-impact companies.
See Everything NEXT Has to Offer
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