Georgia Southern’s FabLab and Innovation Incubator project were hightlighted in the Economic Development Administration’s Annual Report. Follow the link below to see the full report.
This week Georgia Municipal Association’s Magazine featured a front page article on all the innovation happening at the City Campus Downtown. We are happy to be a part of this publication which goes all to all municipalities in the state of Georgia. They interviewed a couple of our current incubator clients, both of whom are GSU graduates and students. Take a moment to see what they had to say.
Georgia Southern and Statesboro Partner for Future Economic Gains
June 8, 2014
|Georgia Southern’s partnership with the city of Statesboro has blossomed into a full-fledged business incubator.|
When the city of Statesboro partnered with Georgia Southern University (GSU) to open a campus downtown, the idea was to boost economic development, give a stronger presence to the university and to bring more jobs to the area, explained Allen Muldrew, Statesboro’s downtown director. That was nearly three years ago. Today the partnership has blossomed into a full-fledged business incubator that will soon occupy two buildings downtown featuring office space and a fabrication laboratory equipped with cutting edge technology and tools.
“The FabLab will be a place where just about any concept or product can be designed, built, manufactured and tested for potential markets which in turn will generate jobs and bring in new economic development to the city,” said Dr. Dominique Halaby, director for GSU’s Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development. “If someone can dream it, we can provide the resources and support to help entrepreneurs launch their products and potentially take them to market.”
Muldrew added, “What we are hoping is that when a person or business moves out of the incubator they will stay in Statesboro and help create jobs.”
Although build-out is underway for the office space and an architect has been selected for the FabLab, there is plenty of activity brewing in the incubator, said Halaby. “For example, in February we hosted a ‘Three Day Start-Up’ where 40 students were placed on teams to bring their ideas in front of a panel of experts to try out their business ideas and by Sunday were ready to pitch them to potential investors.”
Jonathan Chambers, a student at GSU, and his team of seven garnered plenty of kudos during the event with their “Going Local” mobile app.
“The idea is for a user to log in to find the kind of local events and activities such as art, history or sports they may be interested in attending,” Chambers said. “What sets us apart from our competition is visual appeal with our heavy use of photos.”
The team went onto to compete and win the “Fast Pitch” competition in Savannah in March. Recently the team signed a one-year agreement with the incubator to give them the guidance and assistance they will need to bring it all together and begin marketing the app. “Within a year we hope to have our app in three to five cities in the area,” said Chambers.
Brothers Marcus and Malcom Howard, both graduates of GSU, have been working with the incubator since January to launch a Kickstarter campaign for their gaming production company.
“The gaming industry market is just now really coming into its own and is expected to hit the $100 billion mark by 2018,” said Marcus Howard. “We are very excited to be working with the incubator on bridging some gaps in our knowledge so we can build a solid business plan. We hope to stay in Statesboro with our company so we can involve students in co-ops and give back some of what we’ve gained from our experience.”
Funding for the expansion of the City Campus FabLab and Incubator was awarded to the University through a grant of nearly $1.1 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and an $800,000 financial commitment from the city of Statesboro. The combined funds will expand the University’s City Campus into two buildings on Main Street. Additionally, Statesboro has agreed to provide $50,000 annually for three years to cover ongoing operational expenses.
The Statesboro FabLab is the first in Georgia and is based on a concept developed out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a way to bring low cost manufacturing to the public.
“Georgia Southern and the city of Statesboro both benefit from a student presence in downtown,” said Mayor Jan Moore. “Their presence is supportive to downtown merchants and encourages a healthy and ongoing relationship between Georgia Southern’s student body and Statesboro. The FabLab will serve as an incubator of business development, which will result in new jobs and economic growth for both the city and county. Innovation is the result of creative thinking which will be very beneficial as Statesboro positions itself for the future.”
Aside from technology, food service, beauty and medical supplies and business services are among the type of companies looking for help at the incubator. “We have 27 businesses on a waiting list for 20 slots in the FabLab and Incubator,” said Halaby. “Our goal is to build the list to 100 so we can pick the very best.”
Selected for his accomplishments as an app developer, researcher and entrepreneur, Okechukwu studies mechanical engineering in the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Information Technology. A staff member at Georgia Southern, Okechukwu is a mobile application developer with Information Technology. His current hobbies include researching and creating medical robots controlled by mobile devices and writing a book about iOS development and engineering. With numerous apps on the Apple App Store, he has co-founded two start-ups.
A nonprofit organization devoted to ideas worth spreading, TED was started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago and gives communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to spark conversation, stimulate dialogue and make connections at the local level.
The event will be held Friday, May 30 from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. at The Jepson Center, 207 West York St., Savannah, Georgia 31401. Though tickets are sold out, the event will be streamed live.
UPDATE: Aug. 22, 2014 – Francis was featured in the Georgia Southern Magazine this summer. You can find the whole article as well as a link to his TEDx talk here. http://news.georgiasouthern.edu/magazine/2014/07/29/endless-possibilities/
Campus Evolution Villages Statesboro is teaming up with
GSU’s Center for Entrepreneurial Learning & Leadership introducing Company-X ACCELERATOR LAB at their property! Built as an ecosystem to foster entrepreneurship and leadership–Company-X is seeking highly qualified individuals. Participants will live in their living-learning community, leverage their resources and TAKE THEIR IDEAS TO THE NEXT LEVEL!
Advice from an Accomplished Entrepreneur
We don’t always like to toot our own horn, but an upcoming event hosted by the College of Business demands special mention. Today, April 9th, we’re thrilled to welcome BANGS Shoes founder and CEO, Hannah Davis, to our Statesboro campus for an extensive talk on what it’s like to be an entrepreneur and to start your own business. As part of our Entrepreneur Lecture Series, Ms. Davis will talk about everything from launching one’s own business and finding markets to hiring top talent and navigating tax issues. We hope you’ll join her in the College of Engineering and Information Technology (CEIT) at 5:30 p.m. in Lecture Hall 1005.
More About Ms. Davis and BANGS Shoes
Like many successful entrepreneurs, Hannah Davis began with a simple vision. BANGS combines two clear value propositions: the indisputable fact that everyone likes to wear sturdy, attractive shoes and the obvious need to alleviate poverty in the developing world. By partnering with a next-generation charitable organization called Kiva, Ms. Davis and BANGS provide “sweet kicks” to residents of the first world while extending micro-loans to families and entrepreneurs in impoverished parts of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
The Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership
The Georgia Southern University Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership (CELL) couldn’t be a better fit for Ms. Davis. CELL fills a number of critical educational and community-supporting needs, including
- Extracurricular programming that focuses on entrepreneurship,
- Programming that seeks to infuse non-College of Business courses with the principles of entrepreneurship, and
- Help for students and recent graduates who wish to start or manage their own businesses.
College of Business: Your Source for a Degree in Business Administration in Georgia
Needless to say, we’re excited about Ms. Davis’s visit to Georgia Southern University. Stay tuned for more details about our Entrepreneur Lecture Series as well as other programming on our Statesboro campus. If you’re interested in learning about the undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certifications that we offer online and at Statesboro, check out our website or drop by in person.
A team of six Georgia Southern University students earned three awards on Friday, March 7 during the fifth annual FastPitch Competition in Savannah, an event created to help local entrepreneurs start new ventures and grow existing ones.
Organized by Georgia Southern University, The Creative Coast and the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) Georgia Tech Savannah, the competition allowed entrepreneurs to pitch a three-minute presentation to local community and academic leaders, experienced investors, potential partners and members of the business community. Teams competed in three categories: Student Entrepreneurs, Early Stage Entrepreneurs and Local/Existing Entrepreneurs. Participants were judged on the criteria, impact, implementation, presentation, structure and delivery of the pitch.
Jacob Alves, Jonathan Chambers, Troy Cox, Andres Florido, Adrian Marshall and Francis Okechukwu make up the team, “Go Local,” named for an innovative mobile app that connects users to local events and venues. The team won first place in the Student Entrepreneur category, the Grand Prize “Overall Winner” award in the Final Pitch category and the Audience Choice Award. In addition, the team received $2,500 in seed money to aid their start-up company and costs.
“Go Local” was also offered a one year free membership with Georgia Southern University’s City Campus Virtual Business Incubator, a tool to support the start-up company with equipment usage, consulting and access to banks and investors.
“We’re very humbled and honored to be a part of this experience, especially in the student category where we’re just getting started,” said Jonathan Chambers, co-founder of “Go Local” and graduate student. “We really learned quite a bit about what it takes to take an idea from conception to a profit-making company. It’s been an awesome ride. Our team has jived so well together, and we’re going to try to make this happen.”
Originally formed during Georgia Southern University’s 3 Day Startup (3DS) Program in February, the “Go Local” team was chosen to move on, which secured their application acceptance in the FastPitch competition.
This past weekend, February 14th-16th , 3 Day StartUp took place on the campus of Georgia Southern University in the College of Engineering & Information Technology. 40 Students ranging from freshmen to doctorate levels were chosen to build their entrepreneurial skills by creating student-run companies from scratch.
After sacrificed sleep, long nights of brainstorming, researching, and developing, 6 student-run companies were created. These top 6 companies were voted on and chosen by 3DS participants to be the best viable business ideas.
Students broke off into teams to work on the business idea they liked the most. Top 6 business ideas included an event app, an e-book rental service, a food truck, a website generator, and a mobile game and a fashion app. This once in a lifetime entrepreneurial experience taught students about business development, website creation, market research, financial projecting, and for many cases developing working prototypes. Teams were comprised of students from several different majors giving them an opportunity to network and cross train to develop their companies.
“Go Local”, a mobile app that connects users to local events and venues, was chosen by panelists to advance to the Creative Coast Fast Pitch Competition to be held on March 7th in Savannah, GA.
In addition to the entrepreneurial skills learned through 3DS Dominique Halaby, Director of Georgia Southern City Campus, offered all student-run companies an opportunity to grow and develop through a one year free membership with the City Campus’s Virtual Incubator. The virtual incubator provides support for new businesses through equipment usage, consulting, access to banks and investors, and much more. Halaby says, “With continued dedication and support, we will continue to build an ecosystem and culture where innovation is rewarded, entrepreneurship is celebrated, and jobs are created”.
WTOC also came to report on the event! Check it out here: http://www.wtoc.com/story/24746993/3-day-startup-comes-to-georgia-southern?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9850685