By: Lexie Newhouse
On October 24th, Erica Bracey of LaunchGSU led a group of undergraduate and graduate students across campus for the first annual Georgia State Entrepreneurship Crawl to spread some panther pride as part of the Homecoming festivities. The crawl featured entrepreneurial spaces and resources available to Georgia State students, where the tour stopped by LaunchGSU, CollabTech, CMII, the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute, the Small Business Development Center, the Georgia State Library and EXLAB.
The first stop, LaunchGSU, featured an entrepreneurial space with over 60 members representing a variety of majors from across the university. In addition to utilizing 24/7 access to the space, students can also attend events, workshops and panels to further connect themselves to startup resources and the overall ecosystem. Startup Exchange, Startup Semester, Social Entrepreneurship Club, and multiple Panther Hacker interest groups a few student organizations that currently call LaunchGSU home.
Across the hall from LaunchGSU is CollabTech, which served as stop number two for the crawl with CollabTech Manager Tim McCann leading the tour. Established in 2008, CollabTech is an entrepreneurial space for biotech research, where six companies currently rent out offices and laboratories. It provides biological and chemical startups companies with access to equipment that may not otherwise be accessible due to limited funding, space and legal requirements. The space is classified as a BSL-2 biosafety level, with BSL-4 being the highest level of containment.
From biotech to creative media, the Creative Media Industries Institute (CMII) was the crawl’s third stop. Elizabeth Strickler led the tour and shared about the institute’s focus on immersive, interactive and innovative media. Currently, CMII offers two majors in Media Entrepreneurship and Game Design. As Strickler described it as “bringing gaming out of the basement,” CMII is challenging the way that people consume, create and distribute media through AR, VR and other immersive experiences, where students had the opportunity to experience these technologies firsthand. The building itself has designated floors for “increasing the workforce” (Floor 1), “growing media entrepreneurship and innovation” (Floor 2) and research and development (Floor 3).
The Entrepreneurship Crawl could not go without mentioning the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies’ Social Entrepreneurship program, another industry-specific entrepreneurship program at Georgia State. Led by Nelson Pizzaro, this program equips students interested in working within the nonprivate or governmental sectors with the entrepreneurial knowledge to implement positive social change.
In time for lunch, the tour swung by the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute (ENI) for a lunch-and-learn style presentation. Deniece Griffin shared about ENI’s course offerings, the Entrepreneurship Major and Minor, and the various programming available to students. Rose Somefun also stopped by to inform students of benefits of living in ENI’s E-House Living Learning Community (LLC) as the current E-House Resident Assistant.
The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) was another stop for students. As part of the Robinson College of Business and one of 17 Georgia SBDC Network locations, this public service unit provides consulting and training on business plans, marketing strategies, financial analysis, management structure, access to capital, social media and much more for emerging and established businesses.
With market research being core to entrepreneurship, the crawl had to visit the Georgia State Library to learn more about the entrepreneurial library resources available to students. Business Librarian Daniel Le shared about the various Entrepreneurship, Technology Start-ups and Small Business databases, where students can learn more at http://research.library.gsu.edu/smallbusiness/free.
The crawl concluded at Georgia State’s EXLAB makerspace, a collaborative environment centered around experiential learning, creativity and innovation. From workshop fabrication to 3D realization, textile production and digital design, students now have the space and resources to build, solder, sew, measure and create. For entrepreneurs, this is the perfect space to prototype products and designs.
To learn more about these Georgia State entrepreneurial spaces and resources, visit eni.gsu.edu!