Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Savannah, GA

Savannah

US News & World Report ranked Georgia as the ninth-most active state for entrepreneurship, with Savannah becoming a top city for African-American owned businesses.

Savannah, GA, located on the Savannah River, is the state’s fifth-largest city as well as the central point of its third-largest metropolitan area. Georgia’s oldest city and home to established businesses, Savannah – and the state as a whole – is establishing itself as a good place for new ventures as well. In 2015, the website NerdWallet published a study of the best places for black-owned businesses in which Savannah placed sixth. As a whole, the state of Georgia ranked third on the 2018 WalletHub list of the best states to start a business. Finally, the US News & World Report ranked Georgia as the ninth-most active state for entrepreneurship.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Savannah’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

1 Million Cups holds weekly networking meetings for entrepreneurs in a number of cities around the country, including an active chapter in the city.

The meetup group holds weekly meetings in which members can give 1-minute pitches for their businesses and network with one another.

REIA is a group designed to help real estate investors and entrepreneurs meet one another and network to help each other find success.

With both social meetups and education-focused workshops, tech SAVannah aims to help support and grow the tech community in the area.

 

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

Held annually since 2009, Geekend is a two-day conference celebrating and supporting the technology and innovation ecosystem in the Georgia area.

Among the many events held by the chamber are regular networking opportunities, an annual small business expo, and an annual business awards ceremony.

The chamber holds events designed to support its members, including monthly networking breakfasts.

 

Startup Competitions:

Student entrepreneurs at universities everywhere enter their sustainability startups in the BIG Pitch Competition, where finalists compete in the city for a $10,000 cash reward.

2018 marked the first of SCORE’s BizPitch, a Shark Tank-style pitch competition with cash prizes and professional services totaling $10,000.

Eagle FastPitch is a startup competition open to students at all three locations of Georgia Southern University, including the Armstrong campus.

Held every year during Geekend, Pitch Circus is a chance for promising technology startups from the area to compete for cash and in-kind prizes.

 

Co-working Spaces:

In addition to traditional co-working space and office options, Bull Street Labs offers additional services and amenities to help its members grow their businesses.

Novel Coworking plans to open its Savannah location, with a variety of both traditional co-working memberships and private office space available, in December 2018.

Regus has office space available for rent in both in the city and just across the state line in Hilton Head, SC.

Offering a variety of amenities and several membership options, Thinc is one of the area’s oldest and most-established co-working spaces.

 

Maker spaces:

Mayne of the Live Oak Public Libraries’ locations in Savannah and the surrounding area host temporary maker spaces and workshops for the public.

Maven Makers is a 7,000-square foot workshop with tools and equipment available through a number of flexible membership plans.

 

Incubators:

Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center has a Savannah location that helps local technology and product-based startups grow and succeed.

Just across the border in Bluffton, SC, the Don Ryan Center for Innovation supports entrepreneurship in the area through a number of programs, including business incubation.

The center provides entrepreneurs in the area with the resources and community support they need to grow their businesses.

The Georgia Small Business Development Center has a number of offices that help people start or grow their businesses.

 

Accelerators:

In addition to more general incubation services, the Advanced Technology Development Center offers programs specifically to accelerate Georgia-based FinTech and manufacturing companies.

Not strictly an accelerator program for startups, the city offers programs to help small businesses and the local economy grow.

 

Colleges/Universities:

Generally known as a school for creative minds, SCAD offers more entrepreneurial-minded students a minor in business management and entrepreneurship.

SSU’s Advancement of Creativity and Entrepreneurship Center is designed to help support student entrepreneurs inside and outside of the classroom.

Students can participate in a 12-hour entrepreneurship program that includes classes on marketing and management.

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

Based in nearby Hilton Head, SC, Ariel Southeast Angel Partners invests in startups around the southeast and the United States as a whole.

Littlejohn Capital is a group that makes investments in mid-sized companies undergoing various forms of transition.

Savannah Lowcountry Angel And Mentor Ventures is an investment firm that also provides mentorship and other resources to help startups scale and succeed.

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

The Savannah Business Journal offers e-mail alerts covering breaking business news in the city and the surrounding cities in Georgia.

The briefing daily e-mail newsletter covers business news from the community and the state of Georgia as a whole.

Subscribers of the will receive news and information about the local economic environment and events.

This newsletter has multiple topics and information, with a section dedicated to covering business news and events.

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Savannah not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

Charleston, SCGreenville, SC, Raleigh, NC


Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at Funding$age where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.