New Partnership Unites SC Businesses with Exceptional Needs Students through State Tax Credit Programs

Columbia, SC – Exceptional SC and the South Carolina Research Authority announced Wednesday the formation of “Exceptional Connections” – a business-education partnership that unites South Carolina’s business community with more than 3,000 exceptional needs scholarship students and schools across the state.

At a formal announcement at the SC Governor’s mansion, Gov. Henry McMaster said of the partnership, “The funds, the schools, the businesses – when you bring them all together, the sky’s the limit.”

Exceptional Connections will connect businesses across the state with special needs students and schools in their area for internships, potential jobs and mentorship. “This is the lifeline of economic growth for these students,” said Exceptional SC Executive Director Chad Connelly. “When they have the education they need, in the setting that best meets their learning styles, and they have the ability to connect with businesses in their area, these students are poised for success.”



“We’re bringing early stage technology companies, some of whom are working to improve education opportunities and technologies, to the table with mentoring, grants and investments,” added Bob Quinn, Executive Director of the SC Research Authority. “Partnering with schools only strengthens those relationships.”

Midlands technology start-up CEO Laura Buccanfuso of Vän Robotic echoed the importance of of the relationships, “Our mission is to level the academic playing field for students from every background, from every skill level, and from across the range of different attentional needs. We build smart robot technologies that adapt to the learning needs of every single student, every single time. We do this through opportunities like these.”

“I am an exceptional fan of Exceptional SC and SCRA, and I encourage business owners in the state to taximize,” said Nephron Pharmaceuticals CEO Lou Kennedy. 

Taximize is the opportunity for individuals and business to fund both the Exceptional SC Scholarship Fund and the SCRA Industry Partnership Fund by redirecting their state tax dollars to receive dollar-for-dollar credits toward their South Carolina tax liability.