A partnership between Augusta’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and Augusta Technical College will create a space for business development.
The microenterprise center will serve as an incubator for entrepreneurs and small business start-ups, as well as welcoming existing businesses to use the shared space.
In a new blog post on the DDA website, consultant, Tara Wood outlined what will be available in the new center.
“Temporary workspaces, meeting rooms, a commercial kitchen, technology equipment, and retail space will all be available to accelerator program participants. In addition, there will be opportunities to develop pitches, refine business models, and conduct market research in one centrally located training center,” she explained.
She went on to say the center will also give new and existing businesses access to experts on topics ranging from financing to marketing.
“Participants will also have the opportunity to interact and network with local venture capitalists and commercial banking representatives who will offer guidance in acquiring funding and accessing capital. Program facilitators will give advice and recommendations on matters including concept ideation and proposals, business ethics, intellectual property, marketing, finance, grant writing, and leadership.”
Plans for the center were first announced in September 2022. It is possible, thanks to $2.35 million from Congress and the Small Business Administration.
When Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) announced the funding, DDA Executive Director, Margaret Woodard said, “We are thrilled and thank Senator Warnock for sharing our vision. We look forward to working with Dr. Whirl and Augusta Tech to make sure small businesses are developing and thriving in downtown Augusta.”
At the same time, Dr. Jermaine Whirl, president of Augusta Tech said the college is looking forward to developing the center in Downtown Augusta.
“Years ago, the college operated an incubator on campus and the need for such a space is at an all-time high following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re thankful for Senator Warnock’s support, and we look forward to bringing this project to fruition in the near future.”
This will mark the third project Augusta Tech will have in or near the downtown area. Beginning in January 2023, a partnership with Piedmont Augusta gave the college the use of Summerville Hospital as a campus for its health sciences programs. Augusta Tech is also converting the former Johnson Motor Company on Walton Way into a campus for the college’s diverse automotive training programs. The target to open is the Fall semester of 2025.
The microenterprise center will be established along Broad Street. An announcement of the exact location is forthcoming. The goal is to have it up and running in 2024.