If there’s one thing most people think about when they imagine Augusta, it’s probably hacking their way around the back nine of an azalea lined course. What they may not realize is the amazing growth the city’s technology sector has seen over the last decade. The US Army Cyber Command and NSA Georgia at Fort Gordon, along with continued expansion of health technologies at Augusta University, and Energy & Environmental Research at Savannah River National Lab have successfully merged southern hospitality with collaborative innovation.
Aside from the golf course, these days you’re as likely to find folks hacking code and building startups in one of the many coffee shops around town. Or, taking it to the next level at theClubhou.se the Augusta community’s collaborative incubator. In its 5th year downtown, theClubhou.se is the place where entrepreneurs, techies, and the creative class meet. Newcomers can show off their chops at a hackathon, or learn new skills through meetups such as PyAugusta or 3D Printing Club. Entrepreneurs meet each other, and find mentors and structure through weekly Founders Circles and monthly Lunch & Learns. And of course, libations flow monthly at Beer & Bytes, where the community gathers to network and learn about the next BIG thing to be made in Augusta.
In the Old Academy of Richmond County, theClubhou.se operates a co-working space, where members have access to a desk, wifi, free coffee, meeting space, and mail service. Members also have access to a full makerspace where they can learn how to use laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC routers, and more to help tinker on new ideas and build prototypes. Classes and bootcamps are available in coding, fabrication, and business. For those ideas that are really taking off, private office space is available as well.
Startup resources don’t end there. Across town in West Augusta, the UGA Small Business Development Center offers coaching and business plan assistance for small businesses at no charge. Once startups have figured out how to solve a business problem, they can make a short trek across the river to visit Central Savannah River Angels. As part of the Venture South network, CSR Angels provide angel investment opportunities to help startups scale their business to the next level.
Any mention of technology in Augusta would be incomplete without including the Information Systems Security Association’s Greater Augusta Chapter. The group meets monthly at Augusta University and is responsible for organizing the annual cyber security conference, BSidesAugusta.
So, welcome to town. There’s no excuses. Go make something.
Eric Parker is one of the leading Innovation Architects in the nation, and co-founder and Chairman of Hack Augusta/theClubhou.se, a non-profit community innovation center responsible for helping thousands of people learn skills, and start new businesses. Eric has helped develop over $100m in workplace strategy, construction, and technology projects.