Hinesville Business Incubator For Entrepreneurship Celebrates Grand Opening

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SAVANNAH, Ga., November 30, 2023 — The Hinesville Development Authority, Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and the city of Hinesville, in partnership with Georgia Southern University’s Business Innovation Group (BIG), have launched the very first Hinesville Business Incubator, partially funded by an Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant. The incubator is located across the street from Georgia Southern’s Liberty Campus in downtown Hinesville.

“I am immensely proud of the united effort to bring the Small Business Incubator to our community,” said Mayor of Hinesville Allen Brown. “This invaluable asset will serve as a wellspring of innovation and a cornerstone of growth for our community. It is not merely a building; it is a symbol of the city’s commitment to fostering local talent, nurturing entrepreneurship, and enriching the lives of our residents.”

The Hinesville Business Incubator will be operated by BIG, which currently runs two other incubators, including one in Statesboro targeting cross-industry clients, and the other in Metter, called the Georgia Grown Innovation Center, which targets the agricultural industry. The Hinesville Business Incubator is slated to serve greater Liberty County in addition to military veterans, spouses, career changers and budding entrepreneurs. 

“The Hinesville Business Incubator serves as a testament to the City of Hinesville and the Hinesville Development Authority’s commitment to fostering economic vitality,” said Kenneth Howard, city manager for Hinesville. “I’m proud to have been a part of the team that helped bring this project to the community, and I have no doubt that it will be the driving force behind a brighter, more prosperous future for our community.”

The team at BIG is looking forward to growing the Hinesville Business Incubator to better serve and reach more entrepreneurs in the region. 

“The Business Innovation Group at Georgia Southern University works to build an ecosystem throughout the state of Georgia to help entrepreneurs create, incubate and accelerate their for-profit business enterprises,” said Dominique Halaby, DPA, associate provost for Innovation and Commercialization at Georgia Southern. “BIG works to facilitate access to university resources, to create opportunities for student experiential learning and to foster an environment that supports a growth mindset throughout the state. We look forward to offering these opportunities to the Coastal Georgia region.” 

The Hinesville Business Incubator works on a membership model offering options such as private offices, hot desks, dedicated pods or workspaces for virtual opportunities. Included in membership are training programs, business coaching and access to BIG’s extensive network of resources. Community programs such as BIG Café, will be open to the public providing ways to network and discover interesting ventures being developed. 

Leah Poole, Chief Executive Officer of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, believes the incubator will make a difference to the entrepreneurs in the area. 

“The Liberty County Chamber is extremely proud to play a role in the formation of the Georgia Southern University Business Incubator in Hinesville,” said Poole. “We know that the entrepreneurs who receive assistance from this facility will receive top-notch service in the formation of their business.”

Justin McCartney, chairman of the Hinesville Development Authority (HDA), said the incubator will provide a resource that aligns with the HDA’s vision. 

“The vision statement of the Hinesville Development Authority charges the members of the board with helping to create an environment in which people are drawn to Hinesville as a distinctive and attractive place to live, work, and play,” McCartney said. “We can see how our efforts have helped bring additional economic options to the community, enriching the lives of those that come here.

“Fort Stewart has been the economic engine for this community for decades,” he continued. “The Hinesville Business Incubator will provide a mechanism for military and veteran families to start and grow their own business enterprise. The HDA is honored to have been a part of bringing the incubator to fruition, and with the knowledge and expertise that Georgia Southern University brings, we look forward to seeing the new entrepreneurs grow and thrive in our community.”

BIG was founded more than a decade ago when the University’s entrepreneurship and business development programs agreed to work together to leverage their resources and maximize the impact the programs can have on the economic vitality of the region. The result has been two vibrant business incubator centers where students, faculty, veterans and business professionals can find the support, education and training necessary to start and grow a new business. With locations in Statesboro, Metter and now in Hinesville, BIG is expanding the footprint of Georgia Southern and economic development in the region. 

Entrepreneurs or individuals with winning business ideas who would like to be a part of the Hinesville Business Incubator and receive business advising and coaching are invited to apply for membership by directly contacting Blake at cblake@georgiasouthen.edu or 770-883-1117. 

Visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu/BIG.

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/R2 institution founded in 1906, offers approximately 155 different degree programs serving more than 26,100 students through 10 colleges on three campuses in Statesboro, Savannah, Hinesville and online instruction. A leader in higher education in southeast Georgia with expert faculty, the University is focused on public impact research and engaging learning opportunities through knowledge and know-how that prepare our students to take ownership of their lives, careers and communities. Visit GeorgiaSouthern.edu.