One Georgia Grant Helps Fund FabLab Equipment

The One Georgia Authority announced an Equity Award amount of $500,000 towards workforce advancement in Bulloch County. The grant will be split between Georgia Southern’s Digital Fabrication Laboratoy in Downtown Statesboro and Ogeechee Technical College.

Part of the One Georgia funds along with money allocated by Georgia Southern will go to purchasing 3D printers, computers and work stations, CNC machines, and other prototyping equipment for the FabLab!

Read more about the Grant Award at:

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014


Georgia Southern’s Business Innovation Group (BIG) will be participating in  “Global Entrepreneurship Week” November 17-22. Global entrepreneurship week, a Kauffman Foundation initiative is a worldwide celebration of the innovators and job creators that bring ideas to life. The week will be filled with presentations and networking events, most of which are free and open to the public. GEW is an empowerment week aimed at giving innovators important information and networking opportunities to help them be successful.

This year’s BIG GEW will begin with an official Proclamation from our City Council. Expert lecturers will present on topics that business owners find most beneficial such as best accounting practices, securing a good location, business law, and social marketing. A schedule of events will soon be available.

Business Networking International (BNI) is partnering with BIG to host motivational and educational speaker, Ron Kirby, on Wednesday from 4-5pm. Mr. Kirby has over 37 years of leadership experience in the Marine Corps and corporate America. He will share with attendees his passion and experiences in Leadership concerning business, personal development, innovation and education. A mixer at Eagle Creek Brewery will follow Mr. Kirby’s presentation.

Marshall Tuck, Corporate Small Business Officer for Gulfstream Aerospace, is scheduled to bring back our monthly ProBid Procurement Series on Thursday, November 20th at 8:30am. Mr. Tuck will lead a discussion on the types of services managed and contracted by Gulfstream. He will give attendees all the information they need on policies for doing business, certification and application requirements, and bidding processes. He may even offer insight on upcoming requests for proposals.

We will close the week with the inaugural BIG Maker Day in Downtown Statesboro on Saturday, November 22nd.  Makers from our region will showcase their latest inventions as well as host hands-on demonstrations. Lowes will host their Build and Grow hands-on workshop for kids. The BIG highlight for the day will be a Cornhole Catapult workshop and competition from 9a-2p. Maven Makers will provide all materials and instruction, assisting teams of 2-4 in constructing their very own cornhole catapult.

We are delighted to be bringing another BIG Global Entrepreneurship Week to City Campus and Downtown Statesboro. The Business Innovation Group is proud to be leading the charge in growing an innovative culture in the region.

Check back for updates to the full schedule.

For more information on participating or sponsoring, please contact Suzanne Hallman at 912-478-5586 or

Inaugural BIG Maker Day

Big Maker Day logo

Georgia Southern’s Business Innovation Group (BIG) is planning a Maker Day event to showcase the work of area makers – those who are embracing the do-it-yourself spirit. The inaugural BIG Maker Day will be held on November 22, 2014 from 9am-2pm at the City Campus in Downtown Statesboro.

Maven Makers of Savannah, GA will be leading a workshop to help participants build a corn-hole catapult. Teams of 2-4 people can participate for $75/team. Maven Makers will supply all necessary materials and give instructions on how to build a small catapult capable of launching up to 1 lb. The workshop should take about 4 hours. Once the catapults are built, participants can participate in a corn-hole bag launching competition where prizes will be given for accuracy and distance of launch.

While teams are working on their catapults other makers will be showcasing their latest creations for everyone in attendance. Technical Training Aids from Atlanta will highlight items produced on 3D Printers they sell. Georgia Southern student and entrepreneur, Francis Okechukwu, will demonstrate his latest engineering educational game for kids.  Lowes will also be hosting a Build and Grow workshop for kids.

If you’re interested in participating in BIG Maker Day in any capacity please call Suzanne Hallman at 912-478-5586.

BIG Maker Day poster

Business Grows with GENIE

Jeff Brewer

Jeff Brewer was the first GENIE client in Telfair County to go out on a limb looking for business assistance. Currently working in forest management, Brewer has the heart of an entrepreneur.

A few years back Brewer experienced something all good entrepreneurs fear… failure. He and his partner(s) in a lumber company made a decision to manufacture posts. Things happened, money was lost, and he left the venture in his past to pursue more safe and stable employment in timber management.

Like all great entrepreneurs, however, Brewer never lost the spirit. He learned from his failure and moved forward.

After discovering a Japanese non-astringent Persimmon variety that’s unique to our area, Brewer began rooting his newest venture. Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, he’s starting a nursery and fruit farm.

Persimmon tree

Our GENIE team met Jeff at an information session in Telfair back in March of this year. He had already made quick use of family farmland and planted over nine acres in the unique persimmon trees. These trees will take about four years to reach full maturity at which point, they should yield about 50 lbs/tree.

As a first time farmer, Brewer formed strong relationships with the local county extension office. They worked together on soil samples and irrigation. Brewer immediately started applying for USDA grants and recently found out that he has been awarded their Seasonal High Tunnel or “Hoop House” grant. This grant will help secure funds and technical assistance in getting a hoop house put up to extend the growing season in an environmentally safe way during  winter months.

GENIE advisors connected Brewer with a mentor farmer in Bulloch County who previously received the same grant. He will share his experience and expertise in the processes with Brewer. The GENIE team has also been helping Brewer source other agricultural grants and small business loans.

The GENIE team also conducted research on potential markets and distributors for the unique persimmons as they ripen.  Brewer recently traveled to the Georgia Southern City Campus to attend a Quickbooks class hosted by the Georgia Southern Small Business Development Center. Through the GENIE program, Jeff received a scholarship and was able to attend the class for free. GENIE also provided Brewer with his own copy of the accounting software to assist with his business financials.

Brewer and his unique persimmon farm were recently featured in the GEMC Georgia Magazine September edition for the Little Ocmulgee area.

GENIE business advisor Suzanne Hallman says, “We are proud to be a part of this growing business and look forward to continuing to assist Mr. Brewer as he is able to enjoy the fruits of his labor.”


Georgia’s Enterprise Network for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (GENIE) is a web-based virtual business incubator focused on assisting entrepreneurs and small business owners in economically challenged counties in Georgia. GENIE’s goal is to help create and retain jobs in Georgia by harnessing the power of entrepreneurship. GENIE is a grant secured through the Community Adjustment and Investment Program (CAIP) which helps the private sector to create new jobs and preserve existing jobs that are at risk of being lost in communities that suffered job losses directly or indirectly attributed to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). GENIE participation is open to any interested parties in Georgia with efforts focused in Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Lincoln, Telfair, and Wilkes counties.

College of Business named in Newsweek’s 2014 Top Business Schools

The Georgia Southern University College of Business Administration was recently named one of Newsweek’s 12 Top Business Schools of 2014. The recognition comes on the helm of the College being named as one of the nation’s Top 30 Best Online MBA Programs by

College of Business Administration

“We’re excited about the recognition. It reflects the dedication and hard work of our faculty and staff, the increasing quality of our students and the impact of our alumni,” said Allen C. Amason, dean of the College of Business Administration.  “As a College, we believe our stock is rising and this recognition reinforces that belief.”

The College of Business Administration provides a student-centered, learning community that imparts, applies, and extends the current boundaries of knowledge about today’s dynamic global business environment. The curriculum reflects the concern for academic excellence and student success. Faculty, staff, students, and alumni are known for using their diverse strengths to advance the College’s core values: excellence, integrity, accountability, respect, and an appreciation for sustainability.

Other college of business programs recognized by Newsweek were the UCLA Anderson School of Management, the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego, the Carlson School of Management- University of Minnesota, and the SMU Cox School of Business.

Georgia Southern University and all of its programs contained under the University’s umbrella are accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.  The College of Business has undergraduate and graduate accreditation through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).  Only about five percent of all colleges of business have AACSB accreditation.

Front Page News

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.”

Graduate Student Speaks at TEDx Creative Coast Conference

francis OGeorgia Southern engineering student, Ugochukwu Francis Okechukwu, a native of Nigeria, has been invited to speak at the 2014 TEDx Creative Coast Conference themed “Exploring R/Evolution.”

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.

Company X seeks student entrepreneurs

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!

Campus Evolution and Company X

Campus Evolution, Company X & City Campus