GREENVILLE — More than 20 chief executives from 19 countries visited the Upstate this week to learn about innovation and entrepreneurship in the region and saw firsthand how the public and private sectors helped mold the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) into a model campus.

“We’re attracting new companies, start-up companies,” said Fred Cartwright, CU-ICAR executive director. “CU-ICAR was founded by auto industry companies, and that’s a big part of what we do here.

More than 20 chief executives from 19 countries learn about innovation and entrepreneurship in the region and to see firsthand how the public and private sectors helped mold CU-ICAR into a model campus.

More than 20 chief executives from 19 countries visited the Upstate to learn about innovation and entrepreneurship in the region and to see firsthand how the public and private sectors helped mold CU-ICAR into a model campus.

“We are always looking for opportunities to collaborate with our students and faculty,” he said.

CU-ICAR hosted the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration; the International Trade Administration; and ministers, vice ministers, university officials, mayors and other government officials from Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

Cartwright welcomed the group to the campus and led a tour of the facilities, including the Carroll A. Campbell Graduate Engineering Center and the Center for Emerging Technologies.

Bobby Hitt, S.C. Commerce Secretary, told the group the essence of public-private partnerships is collaboration — people working together. “If a group of people decides it wants a common outcome, there is nothing it can’t do,” he said.

CU-ICAR was developed to meet industry needs in collaboration among Clemson, the state and an array of industry partners. The research and innovation campus truly is a model partnership, Hitt said.

“You’re sitting in one of the preeminent public-private partnerships we have in South Carolina,” he said. “Success breeds success, but you need the public-private partnership.”

Other speakers to address the group at CU-ICAR included Lynn Mann, director of programs for A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School of Engineering, and Nick Rigas, executive director of the Clemson University Restoration Institute, who presented an overview of the public-private partnership model of the North Charleston campus and its synergies with CU-ICAR.

The group’s day also included a tour of BMW Manufacturing Co. in Greer. The two-day visit, which also included a reception and tour of downtown Greenville, was coordinated by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce.

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