Business & Economy

Key programs relocate into Innovation District

Terrell Hall is becoming the new home for Innovation Gateway and the Office of Industry Engagement. (Photo by Cydney Bish)

The Small Business Development Center, Innovation Gateway and Office of Industry Engagement are moving closer to Broad Street.

The intersection of downtown Athens and North Campus is becoming the front door for innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Georgia. This fall, several key UGA units will relocate to the Broad Street area as part of the university’s Innovation District initiative.

The Small Business Development Center, which provides tools and training for the community’s small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs, will move into the building at 382 E. Broad St. That will put the SBDC just north of the Spring Street Building, which is undergoing renovation to become a hub for faculty innovation, industry engagement and experiential learning within the Innovation District.

This move—the SBDC has been in the Chicopee Complex—will strengthen UGA’s role in community entrepreneurship and boosting economic vitality in Athens.

Allan Adams

“The UGA SBDC Athens office works to help small businesses in Athens and the surrounding area grow and succeed,” said Allan Adams, state director of the SBDC, a public service and outreach unit with 17 regional offices throughout the state. “Our new location on Broad Street will allow us to better link local entrepreneurs to the array of resources and opportunities within the university’s Innovation District.”

Innovation Gateway and Industry Engagement

Innovation Gateway, which helps move UGA research into the marketplace, and the Office of Industry Engagement will move into the first floor of Terrell Hall on Jackson Street, immediately west of the Spring Street Building. This move is being enabled by the relocation of the Graduate School from Terrell Hall to Brooks Hall.

Both offices stand to benefit from their proximity not only to Innovation District facilities but also to the amenities of downtown Athens when hosting industry representatives, alumni and other stakeholders in the future.

Crystal Leach (UGA photo)

Crystal Leach, UGA’s director of industry engagement, said, “North Campus will increasingly become a hub of innovation for UGA, and that’s exactly the kind of creative energy that can impress a potential industry partner. This location will allow us to easily connect industry partners to UGA talent from multiple disciplines as well as the many resources the Athens community has to offer.”

“This move will not only bring together our licensing and startup teams but place us next to the Spring Street Building that will eventually house much of our Innovation District programming,” said Derek Eberhart, associate vice president for research and executive director of Innovation Gateway. “Being located near other key players in the Innovation District will no doubt lead to new synergies between UGA units, as well as with our industry and community partners.”

In 2019, Studio 225 opened on West Broad Street as UGA’s center for student entrepreneurship and the first step in the physical development of the Innovation District.

Once these relocations occur and the Spring Street Building renovation is complete, many of UGA’s programs and services that support faculty, student and community entrepreneurship will be in close proximity within the Innovation District.