Startups could be the future for Augusta's economic growth

Wednesday, November 6, 2019
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The startup community in Augusta is growing. Each week local startups are meeting up to discuss business ideas and ways to push their current companies forward.

On Wednesday morning, dozens got together to show off their ideas at the Cyber Center in downtown Augusta. Many of these businesses are cyber-related.

But, the startup community is hoping to kickstart the Augusta economy, and they're asking big questions.

“How can the people of Augusta really participate in the growth of an innovation economy as cyber grows, as any technology grows?," said Eric Parker, founder of Clubhou.se.

Parker believes the answer is building small but thinking big. His nonprofit, Clubhou.se is a business hub offering co-working space, helpful tools, and mentorship.

In 7 years, they've helped create one thousand jobs.

"For every $2,000 invested in supporting startups, we create a new job in Augusta," said Parker.

The Augusta Regional Airport is trying its hand in the startup world too.

"This is our way to help grow aerospace, the aerospace business cluster in our area," said Diane Johnston, who works in marketing and business development at the Augusta Regional Airport.

It's called Skyworx Innovation Xchange. The startup incubator is in its early stages, but the airport plans to renovate an old building and put it to use. They plan on offering aerospace companies a space to grow with access to the airport.

"Hopefully at some point in time, the businesses will grow and build a hangar or a facility out here on the airport, create jobs, create more economic impact. So, we think it's a win-win for everyone," said Johnston.

With the growth of cyber and Fort Gordon, Eric Parker says the talent is here, it just needs to be used.

'It's the growth of startups which is going to power our economy beyond that government investment," said Parker.

At the Cyber Center, entrepreneurs plan to start meeting once a week soon. There's still a long way to go at the airport, but it just shows there's a growing investment in the future of startups locally.

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