Wed, April 24, 2024

New video debuts vision of downtown business incubator

A new video by Dickinson Architect offers a step-by-step tour of the Augusta Technical College’s incubator project planned for Broad Street.

Posted on LinkedIn, it features Nick Dickinson and Augusta Tech President, Dr. Jermaine Whirl outlining the process and what the end result will be.

The microenterprise center is being built in the former Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce building at 600 Broad Street.

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In the video. Dickinson and Whirl begin on the first floor, which they said will be called “The Den.”

Click here to watch the video produced by Oak Film, a local video and film production company.

“The Den is really going to be the central location for entrepreneurs to be able to talk about their products, their services, and their business concepts to potentially enable investors that want to help them thrive and succeed here and to market and sell the cool concept,” Whirl explained.

He said it will be similar to the ABC Television program “Shark Tank.”

The project, a partnership between Augusta Tech and Augusta’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA), will be called Accelerate Augusta. It will serve as a shared space location for entrepreneurs and small business start-ups, as well as welcoming existing businesses.

The next step in the video tour moved into the core of the microenterprise center, the incubator itself.

“Individuals will come into the accelerator program, four to five small businesses that have the feasibility, the capacity to actually grow right here in this office space,” said Whirl. “They will have access to networks and computer labs. Importantly, it’s an opportunity to really cultivate their ideas, work with mentors, to develop businesses so that when they are ready, they can access the funding.”

Dickinson said the center is an exciting project for downtown Augusta.

“I can’t wait to see small businesses grow,” he said. “Huge economic impact for our area.”

During the December 7 announcement, Margaret Woodard, Executive Director of the DDA, said activity at the building can help spur the redevelopment of lower Broad Street.

“You’re going to have students and entrepreneurs and 24/7 activity around here. It’s called the halo effect. And that’s what we look at once there’s a project and we watch the halo effect and see what buildings go under contract. Property values go up, so we’ll be watching that for a couple of years,” she said.

The building was designed by renowned architect, I.M. Pei, who also designed the penthouse on the top of the Lamar Building the Augusta Civic Center, now the James Brown Arena, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

It was used by the Chamber beginning in the 1970’s until 2010. The Chamber first moved to Greene Street, then to its current location in the Riverfront Center on 10th Street in 2016.

Target opening is this fall. Whirl told ABD he anticipates he and Woodard would have an update later this month.

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