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NEXT was founded in 2005 to nurture and promote economic growth in the Upstate by connecting innovative entrepreneurs to a rich network of educational resources, supportive mentors, and opportunities for growth. Ever since, collaboration has been the key to our success. Today, though COVID-19 presents us with a challenge unlike any we have ever faced before, we know that our community can overcome it together. We are especially proud of our high-impact members who are repurposing their businesses to fight COVID-19. This is how they are making a difference in a time of crisis:

Blue Eye Soft, an IT Software Solutions company, is using its expertise to create an advanced solution that will assist medical professionals in speeding up the detection and diagnosis of COVID-19 symptoms in patients. Incorporating machine and deep-learning algorithms into a high speed imaging system will enable overwhelmed medical professionals to accurately detect COVID-19 cases in a fraction of the time. Currently they are looking for collaborators with real data to help fine tune th


Kiyatec, a leader in ex vivo 3D cell culture testing that supports cancer drug development and drug therapy decision-making, is joining the fight and now offering RNA extraction services, a preliminary and critical step in coronavirus testing, to clinical laboratories testing for coronavirus nationwide. CEO Matt Gevaert said that Kiyatec’s 24 hour turnaround time per RNA extraction will help many bottle-necked labs limit the “unnecessary days and increased clinical costs” they currently spend waiting for extracted RNA samples.

Kiyatec will now offer RNA extraction services to clinical laboratories testing for coronavirus nationwide.

Derek Pedersen, Co-founder of Fusion Web Clinic and current Entrepreneur in Residence at Furman University, has created a prototype for a mask that could be crowdsourced and produced quickly. The product, which Pedersen calls the “N94,” uses commonly available filters and locally sourced materials to achieve close to 95% filtration. Moving forward, he hopes to partner with a thermoforming parts supplier to make approximately 1,000 masks per day.

Derek Pedersen, Entrepreneur in Residence at Furman University

Advoco, a leader in Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) solutions, had to transform their May 4-6 conference into a virtual event. CEO Marty Osborn was disappointed and concerned that the virtual event would not allow Advoco to spend money in the community where they were planning to have their conference. So, Osborn decided to “take the $15,000 we would have paid Table 301 and give it to them to provide us with boxed meals that we could give out into the community.”  “For under $6,” Osborn explained, “we can provide two meals to people. A boxed lunch and a meal to cook. We plan to distribute over 5,000 meals over the next 4 weeks.” He hopes that their decision will not only help out the less fortunate, but give back to Table 301 and help them keep some people employed. Osborn is now asking if other companies would like to join the cause.  “For a small donation of $6K, we can provide 2,000 meals to people in the community,” Osborn said. Read more here→

Marty Osoborn, CEO of Advoco