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Business Incubator getting ready for business
new business logo

The Hinesville Business Incubator is almost ready for business.

Catherine Blake, the business incubator manager for Georgia Southern University, said they are looking to opening before the end of the year. An official ribbon cutting was scheduled for late Wednesday afternoon.

The program was made possible through an Economic Development Administration grant.

“They are proud of our progress so far, and we haven’t even opened the doors,” said Catherine Blake, Georgia Southern’s business incubator manager.

The Hinesville Business Incubator for Entrepreneurship already has its first client, Blake told Hinesville City Council members recently — a retired Air Force colonel who is also a patent holder.

“We’ve already put him in touch with a Silicon Valley investor,” Blake said. “We want to make significant connections that will impact our economy.”

The incubator, located on Memorial Drive across from the Georgia Southern University Liberty campus, works on a membership model. Members can access private offices, hot desks, dedicated workspaces and virtual conferences. Blake said they were awaiting a couple of more computers in order to allow clients to conduct Zoom calls.

Once open, the Hinesville Business Incubator is designed to serve as a resource for local entrepreneurs and hopefully will allow Army spouses to generate more homebased businesses.

“When the soldiers deploy, the families often go home,” Blake said. “If we can have more businesses launched, it will help preserve our local economy.”

Entrepreneurs and soldiers leaving the service and looking to start a business also are welcome at the incubator. As part of Georgia Southern University’s Business Innovation Group, new clients get access to a variety of resources, including help from the Small Business Development Center and mentoring from SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives.

There also are community programs, such as the BIG Café, a monthly speaker series. So far, the programs have featured Mike Morgan, an Army vet whose company uses virtual forklifts, Micah King, president of Animation TV Network, and Cecilia Russo Turner, president and CEO of Cecilia Russo Marketing.

Incubator center clients also have access to the Patent and Trademark Resource Center.

“This is huge for Georgia,” Blake said.

The Hinesville location will be the third BIG space in Coastal Georgia. In 10 years, the Business Innovation Group has helped 3,000 entrepreneurs, creating 380 new businesses. It has created more than 250 jobs and retained 765 jobs. It also has led to $186 million invested through SBA-backed loans and hosted more than 500 events, with 6,000 attendees.

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