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LANCE: Startups find healthy ecosystem in Savannah

Google the term “startup ecosystem” and a list of websites will pop up. Startupcommons.org explains, “A startup ecosystem is formed by people, startups in their various stages and various types of organizations interacting as a system to create new startup companies.”

The elements that make up startup ecosystems vary from one city to another, but the fundamentals are similar. Many startup ecosystems include individuals with innovative ideas, entrepreneurs at different stages, mentors, advisors, and investors. Key players can be universities, startup competitions, startup event organizers, startup accelerators, service providers, and venture capital companies.

With the rise of tech startups over the last 15 years and their high growth potential, Savannah’s own startup ecosystem has been growing and building momentum. An important part of what we do at The Creative Coast is connecting entrepreneurs with the right people and supporting programs. Here’s a quick list of some organizations that can help you along your entrepreneurial journey here in Savannah.

  • Georgia Tech Savannah offers many professional development courses including Leading Well workshops and a monthly Learning Series aimed at helping businesses grow and succeed. The university also offers a Coding Boot Camp (https://codingbootcamp.pe.gatech.edu) aimed at junior level web developers.
  • The Georgia Tech Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) (http://atdc.org/savannah/) in Savannah helps tech companies and product-based startups in the Savannah area by providing education, coaching and connections.
  • The Georgia Southern Business Innovation Group (BIG) provides entrepreneurial resources and programs for students and the Statesboro community. Check out BIG’s next event, 3 Day Startup (3DS), a pitch competition for students. The event takes place Sunday at 7 p.m. in the Information Technology Building on Georgia Southern’s campus.
  • With an online Slack community and monthly meetups, techSav (https://techsav.co/), provides both virtual and physical meetups for the local tech community. techSav’s Refresh features content from local technologists about code, culture and more. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own projects to hack on, share or just get help with. Join Refresh this Thursday at 6 p.m. at 2222 Bull Street for a special edition on Open Savannah to discuss improving Savannah’s public data and government services through code.
  • Startup Grind (www.startupgrind.com/savannah/) is another monthly techSav event where you can meet local startups, founders and innovators. At each meetup, attendees listen to talks by featured entrepreneurs, get educated, connect with other successful entrepreneurs, and get inspired.
  • The Technology Association of Georgia Savannah (TAG) fosters an innovative and connected marketplace that stimulates and enhances Savannah’s tech-based economy. TAG members gain access to 200 plus events around Georgia for free or discounted prices and each year hosts the TAG Business Technology Awards for which the public nominates local companies for being the most innovative in the coastal region.
  • Maven Makers (www.mavenmakers.com) is Savannah’s makers space, a place for entrepreneurs to take classes on making and prototyping their next big endeavor. Located at Creators’ Foundry, Maven Maker’s provides a spacious workshop full of tools, materials and ideas to inspire your next project. Take a class and kick your skills up, learn how to use new tools from bandsaws and soldering irons to 3d printers, and collaborate with like-minded makers.
  • 1 Million Cups Savannah (www.1millioncups.com/savannah) helps local startups obtain real-time feedback and build critical relationships. Every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Creators’ Foundry, one to two entrepreneurs present their endeavors followed by 20 minutes of audience feedback. This is a great way to obtain fresh insights and validate your idea.

If you are a local entrepreneur, I encourage you to take advantage of the local resources and programs available to you. Figure out how your business can be more innovative and unique by talking to other experienced entrepreneurs in Savannah’s growing and vibrant startup ecosystem. If you are interested in participating in any of the above programs or want to connect with other founders and tech startups geniuses, email kait@thecreativecoast.org to learn how.

In the words of Steven Johnson, author of Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age, “individuals have better ideas if they’re connected to rich, diverse networks of other individuals. If you put yourself in an environment with lots of different perspectives, you yourself are going to have better, sharper, more original ideas.”

Kait Lance is an entrepreneurship evangelist and community manager at The Creative Coast, a not-for-profit organization that promotes the creative and entrepreneurial community within the region. Kait can be reached at 912-447-8457 or kait@thecreativecoast.org.

ENTREPRENEUR RESOURCES

  • · 1 Million Cups Savannah

www.1millioncups.com/savannah

  • · The Creative Coast

www.thecreativecoast.org

  • · Georgia Southern Business Innovation Group (BIG)

https://coba.georgiasouthern.edu/big

www.pe.gatech.edu/savannah-campus/courses

  • · Georgia Tech Savannah’s Coding Boot Camp

https://codingbootcamp.pe.gatech.edu

  • · Georgia Tech Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)

www.atdc.org/savannah

www.tagonline.org/chapters-and-societies/savannah

  • · Startup Grind

www.startupgrind.com/savannah

  • · techSav

www.techsav.co

  • · techSav’s Monthly Meetups

www.techsav.co/events/

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