BBRED Collaborates with Marketing Research Class to Conduct Survey

The Business Innovation Group’s Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development (BBRED) at Georgia Southern University continued its partnership with Dr. Dora Bock’s Marketing Research students this Fall semester. Students in these classes worked to develop and collect data using phone survey techniques. The information collected from this survey will be used by the First Bank of Georgia to assist with their marketing efforts. The Fall 2014 survey was conducted to gain an understanding of how current and potential customers in the surrounding area view services offered by the financial services industry.

The project provided students an opportunity to gather and analyze data that is highly valued by marketers in the business world. Dr. Bock’s classes also used statistical software and analysis techniques to extrapolate meaning and value from the data. Student callers contacted over 2,700 people from the five zip codes surrounding the bank in order to obtain a valid sample size. From the students calling efforts, 309 completed surveys were collected.

In addition to survey research, BBRED can also conduct research on other factors that influence economic development in a region. This research includes, but is not limited to: Retail Gap Analysis, Economic Impact Studies, Policy Impact Studies, and Event, Tourism, or Annual Contribution Studies.

Congratulations to Entrepreneurial Student Rachel Paule

RachelWe are excited to send BIG congratulations to Entrepreneur student Rachel Paule, this year’s recipient of the Leonard and Betty Blount Scholarship.

We first met Rachel at our 3 Day Startup in February. Teams voted on business ideas they found interesting. Three potential fashion apps were combined into one team. Rachel’s fashion app helps users determine what to wear based on a database of what they own, where they are going, and the current weather report. This app became known as Sweater Weather.

Although Sweater Weather did not win the 3DS competition, Rachel reached out to the Georgia Southern Incubator for guidance. Rachel and her team are developing the fashion app. Rachel and the Sweater Weather team has great resources for app development and coding. The problems with development began with creating a database of clothing. The Incubator team helped find potential companies with basic clothes such as t-shirts, shorts, long sleeved, or pants rather than focusing on brands. Still, issues arose in trying to make connections for rights to use photographs of the clothing.

The incubator team then worked to connect Rachel with indie clothing designer and Georgia Southern alumni, Emily Bargeron. Emily owns Mamie Ruth and was excited about the opportunity to help Rachel with her Sweater Weather database.

Rachel is still pursuing the Sweater Weather app and is hopeful to start beta testing in 2015.

Rachel is also the President of the Georgia Southern Service Learning Advisory Board. She has been actively engaged in student leadership since becoming a student at Southern.

Rachel also works part-time while pursuing her degrees. She continues to impress us with her ability to manage so many tasks while maintaining a full class load. We look forward to Rachel’s bright future and helping her in her entrepreneurial ventures.

Global Entrepreneurship Week ends with BIG Cornhole Catapult Ringers

Another great Global Entrepreneurship Week is in the books. The week started off wonderfully with the Mayor’s proclamation, read by Councilman Boyum. The proclamation gave a brief summary of Global Entrepreneurship Week as an initiative aimed at young people all over the world to connect, inspire, mentor, and engage the next generation of entrepreneurs.

This proclamation is just one of the many ways that the City of Statesboro continues to show support for all the efforts of the Business Innovation Group at City Campus. We are thankful to have the City of Statesboro as our partner.

The week continued with lectures from area experts. Ron Kirby gave a motivational talk on Wednesday evening about leadership and guiding a team after which we enjoyed an intimate networking event on Wednesday at Eagle Creek Brewery. We rounded out speakers on Thursday morning with our first webcast ProBid procurement session featuring Gulfstream.

The highlight of the week definitely came at the end with our first ever BIG Maker Day on Saturday. This was our first attempt at a maker faire type event. The purpose was to build excitement and intrigue of what’s to come with the area’s first Digital Fabrication Laboratory. BIG Maker Day landed on the heels of the One Georgia grant award which will help to fund the equipment for the FabLab.

Regular Farmer’s Market grazers wandered over to see what the excitement was all about. Spectators were amazed by sample products, provided by Technical Training Aids, made by a 3D printer similar to what will be available when the FabLab opens. Kids also enjoyed constructing Build and Grow kits provided by Lowes.

Spectators and attendees alike were especially captivated by the BIG Cornhole Catapult workshop and competition. Eight teams showed up at 9 am Saturday morning to begin constructing catapults. The Maven Makers of Savannah, Ty Donaldson and Tim Cone, brought lumber and other materials, giving each team the same ‘kit’ to make their catapult with.  It was especially intriguing to watch as teams got creative and made modifications in hope of increasing their chances of winning.

Teams ranged from middle school aged kids to hobbyists and professionals. BIG thanks to all the teams who participated: M Squared, The Bright Knights, Statesboro High School, The Lobbits, Boro Take Out, Spencer and the Red Beards, Trubert, and Team Brodie.

M Squared seemed to have a pretty accurate catapult during first adjustments. They experimented by adding more weight to gain distance, but had a devastating malfunction when the load became too much for the bucket to hold. They recovered well and had a good showing in the three rounds of general competition.

The rest of the teams had a few hits here and there landing a bag or two on the boards. They all had their fair share of misses as well. Spencer and the Red Beards, led by Councilman Boyum placed third. Their catapult seemed deadly accurate, but a little too much arc resulted in bags hitting and bouncing off the board.

Trubert and Team Brodie found themselves in a sudden death fourth round match. Both teams tied with five points each at the end of round three. Trubert, consisting of Robert Faller and True West, landed one more bag in sudden death. However, it was Team Brodie that went home with the bounty by landing two bags. Congratulations to Cleve, Lori, and Bryce Kinard and Austin Lasota for taking home the first place chalice.

BIG thanks to everyone involved. A special thanks to Sea Island Bank for providing tailgate chairs and Robert Faller for making a beautiful set of custom cornhole boards for the winners. Most of all thanks to our outstanding volunteers and staff at City Campus and to the Maven Makers for creating custom chalices for the winners and moderating such an enjoyable event in Downtown Statesboro.  We appreciate all the support and look forward to building upon this momentum to cultivate the creative culture in our region.


From L-R: 3rd Place Team Spencer and the RedBeards, 1st Place Team Brodie and 2nd Place Team Trubert




the build is on


Cornhole Catapult teams






Funding Secured for Georgia Southern City Campus Fab Lab equipment

3D objects

A few examples of what a 3D printer can make.


The Business Innovation Group at Georgia Southern University is pleased to announce the receipt of funds from an Equity Award granted by the OneGeorgia Authority. OneGeorgia is a program that has merged with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs becoming a financial partner for economic development in Georgia. They recently announced their decision to grant a $500,000 OneGeorgia Equity Award for the advancement of workforce development in the Statesboro-Bulloch County region. The project, titled “Statesboro-Bulloch Regional Career and Workforce Initiative,” involves Georgia Southern University, the Development Authority of Bulloch County and Ogeechee Technical College. The grant will assist with the purchase of equipment, software, and machinery necessary to support economic growth and a work ready labor force; leveraging the expertise of Georgia Southern University and Ogeechee Technical College by supporting business startups and workforce training.

At City Campus, the funding received from the OneGeorgia Authority Equity Fund coupled with additional funds from Georgia Southern University will be used to secure computers, two types of 3-D printers, a mig welder, CNC plasma cutter, and other rapid prototyping equipment for the Innovation Incubator and Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab).

The programs in City Campus are coordinated by the Georgia Southern University Business Innovation Group (BIG) located in downtown Statesboro and encompass departments of the College of Business Administration, including the Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development (BBRED), the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and the Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership (CELL). “This support will go a long way in helping us make the FabLab a reality,” said Dominique Halaby, director for the Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership. “The State’s investment is the perfect complement to investments already made by the City of Statesboro and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.”

The Innovation Incubator and FabLab is a joint venture between Georgia Southern University, the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority, City of Statesboro, Statesboro Arts Council, and the Economic Development Administration. The project is associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) established Global FabLab Network. The incubator is designed to create sustainable jobs, increase the number of local businesses, and improve and diversify the economic drivers in coastal Georgia. Once completed, the FabLab and Incubator will serve the community as a hub for creativity and small business innovation. Citizens will be able to take their ideas from conception to prototype in one place.

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.