Students Bring Business Ideas to Life at 2nd Annual 3 Day Startup

The Georgia Southern Business Innovation Group (BIG) will be providing prospective business developers and innovators with the opportunity to bring a business idea to life. February 20-22, BIG will host 3 Day Startup (3DS),  a world renowned program that has a goal to kick start new student-run companies and build entrepreneurial capabilities in students and their university communities. There will be an information session on January 20, 2014 in the College of Business Administration (COBA) room 1124 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. on the campus of Georgia Southern University.

This once-in-a-lifetime program opportunity creates a living entrepreneurship laboratory bringing together interested individuals from various education backgrounds and providing students with the tools they need to start successful companies. Once selected, participants will attend workshops, generate business ideas, get feedback from mentors, engage potential customers, pitch ideas, and receive a 3DS Success Kit. More information may be found on

BIG prides itself on its commitment to empower and equip entrepreneurs. 3DS is another example of the commitment that the Georgia Southern Business Innovation Group has made to encourage young entrepreneurs execute their ideas and create new businesses.

For more information or inquires contact the Suzanne Hallman, Business Advisor, at

BIG Staff News

Staff at Georgia Southern’s Business Innovation Group (BIG) have been investing in professional development since being hired at City Campus. BIG is excited to congratulate a couple of staff members for completing courses in recent months.

BIG Business Advisor, Suzanne Hallman, joined the National Business Incubator Association (NBIA) almost immediately after being hired for the GENIE virtual incubator program. NBIA, the world’s leading organization advancing business incubation and entrepreneurship, offers an incubator managment certificate program. The program includes content such as incubator and client funding, mission and strategic planning, facilities management, selecting and serving clients, encouraging entrepreneurial synergy and more. In order to complete this program, participants must take four full-day training workshops, completeing 24 hours of total training.

Mrs. Hallman began this program in October 2013 and completed her last course requirement for certification at the National Business Incubator Association Training Institute in Portland in October 2014.

“The NBIA program provides a comprehensive overview of the top practices in incubator management,” said BIG Director, Dominique Halaby. “We are proud the Ms. Hallman has successfully acquired the skills to aid in the development and growth of the Georgia Southern Innovation Incubator.”

Andi Wilson, BIG Administrative Coordinator, graduated from the Georgia Academy of Economic Development (GAED) earlier this December. GAED’s mission is to assist community leaders in their economic development efforts by providing an understanding of the critical processes, strategies and components involved in improving their local and regional economies and achieving economic success in today’s global economy.

The Fall 2014 class at GAED featured 40 participants from eight counties in the coastal region. Andi was among seven students from Bulloch County. Other counties represented include Liberty, Chatham, Camden, Effingham, Bryan, Glynn, and Screven. Meeting once a month at the Richmond Hill City Center, the class studied topics such as tax digest, consensus building, tourism product development, and ethical decision making. Experts in each subject area presented to the class and were given discussion opportunities during breaks and meals.

“BIG is committed to the development of the Georgia economy,” said Director Halaby. “Through the GEDA Leadership Academy, Ms. Wilson has gained the insight, and understanding of key programs and practices throughout the state.”

Read the Statesboro Herald article on GAED here

The Business Innovation Group is proud of these recent accomplishments and will continue to help its staff grow as experts in their fields.



December Entrepreneur Spotlight

Mrs. Tina Banks

Mrs. Tina Banks

This month’s Entrepreneur Spotlight is on Mrs. Tina Banks, owner of Kidovations Educational Experience.

Tina and her husband, Jeff, moved to Statesboro from Atlanta in 2002 to start a children’s ministry. Along with the ministry, they began Kidovations as an in-home daycare.

After experiencing tremendous growth, Tina opened Kidovations’ first location on Brampton Avenue in July 2009. This infant suite quickly filled up and the Banks’ soon were in search of yet another location. Kidovations found new space close to the Brampton location on Stambuk Lane, opening rooms for 6 weeks – 4 year olds in June 2010. Eventually Tina and Jeff moved all the children into classrooms at Stambuk Lane, and closed the Brampton Avenue location.

In 2014 the Banks bought the building on Stambuk Lane. They are currently renovating an empty middle space previously used as storage. This expansion will open a classroom dedicated to after school programs for children aged 4 years and older.

Also in 2014 the Banks acquired Tiny Tots Daycare on Parker Rd. They have been working diligently to bring this location up to the Kidovations standard. This acquisition is a wonderful growth opportunity for the Kidovations Educational Experience.

Tina joined the Georgia Southern Innovation Incubator in August, 2014, shortly before acquiring the new location. Tina was seeking help with employee policies and customer growth and retention.

The BBRED team in the Business Innovation Group (BIG) began pulling market information for Tina to help determine demographics. She also began working with a student team from Dr. Joe Rousseau’s Applied Small Business Management Class. The team consisted of: Rachel Paule, Arielle Page, Devin Stoval, and Andrew Vaugh.

The students were tasked by Dr. Rousseau, to engage with their client to identify and achieve a key strategic objective. Dr. Rousseau said, “They were super performers, exceeding their goal by developing and helping to implement a new Customer-Family Handbook and a Best Practices New Employee Handbook.”

This required them to learn about Kidovations and its childcare business. They met with parents and teachers and secured their client’s agreement on project goals, the project plan and timeline. Upon completing their project, they prepared a Project Plan Report and presented their challenges, bottlenecks to overcome, achievements, and forward action recommendations.

Tina enjoyed working with the student team so much that she is likely to work with another team next semester to continue improving upon and implementing the recommendations.

Business Advisor, Suzanne Hallman said, “I have known the Banks’ since they opened the Brampton Ave. location. It has been inspiring to see Tina grow her business over the years. As a parent I feel confident entrusting the care of my child to her and her team while I am at work. I enjoyed working with her on marketing plans in the past, but I am thrilled to be working as her business advisor now to help her with the challenges of managing two large locations.”

Tina continues to work with the Incubator to set milestones and goals to help her reach full-capacity at both Kidovations locations. She is fully deserving of this month’s BIG Entrepreneur Spotlight.

Sustainability Fees to Fund Living Wall at City Campus

Screen-Shot-2014-12-19-at-8.23.54-AMGeorgia Southern University’s Center for Sustainability is pleased to announce that the Business Innovation Group has been awarded a Sustainability Fee grant for the City Campus. The Student Sustainability Fee Projects Grants were established in spring of 2014 to improve environmental sustainability across the campus.

The Sustainability Fee Committee received 25 proposals requesting a total of $725,836. The committee selected 11 projects, totaling $198, 996 in awarded funds. The BIG Living Wall proposal was fully awarded the requested amount of $19,650.

BIG changes are underway at City Campus as we prepare for construction of the FabLab and Innovation Incubator. Redevelopment plans include the enclosure of the alley that separates the two buildings. The living wall will bring warmth and life to the revitalized space as a model for urban agriculture. Once the renovations are complete, City Campus will use the newly covered alley to host university functions and community events.

The living wall will address sustainability themes such as water conservation, sustainability promotion and food sustainability. For instance, the plants will be irrigated with grey water collected from the roof as needed. Georgia Southern students will work with university architects, landscape architects, and contractors to design, build, and maintain the living wall as a signature component of Georgia Southern’s City Campus.

Beautification of the alley is another step in the right direction for Georgia Southern’s BIG pursuit of developing a Creative Corridor in Downtown Statesboro.

To read more on other award recipients across campus click here.

BBRED Collaborates with Marketing Research Class to Conduct Survey

The Business Innovation Group’s (BIG) 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: