Following the success of UGA’s inaugural Entrepreneurial Week celebration in March, university officials have announced that Thinc. at UGA will become a permanent, year-round initiative to promote entrepreneurship and foster economic development throughout the region.
“It was so gratifying to see Entrepreneurial Week tap into such an obvious and deep reservoir of interest among our students,” said David Lee, vice president for research. “It reinforced how important it is for us to supplement traditional university education with practical and inspiring programs such as these that encourage our students as well as our faculty to think like entrepreneurs, solve problems and create new opportunities, including new businesses.
“Harnessing the tremendous talent, energy and creativity resident at UGA to improve the lives of Georgians and other global citizens is at the heart of our mission as a land-grant university, and Entrepreneurial Week was a new approach to doing exactly that,” Lee also said.
Entrepreneurial Week featured lectures, workshops, panel discussions and networking events that brought potential business partners together and provided important information for would-be entrepreneurs that will help move their business plans from concept to reality.
“Thinc. (at UGA) enabled us to reach out to an entire entrepreneurial-minded community, representing business, local government, students and faculty,” said Margaret Wagner Dahl, associate provost for economic development and director of the Georgia BioBusiness Center. “Our open house at the Georgia BioBusiness Center had more than 100 attendees, and we are now working with two potential startup companies and one company that ight take up residence at the university.”
UGA also asked more than 3,000 stakeholders throughout Georgia to provide feedback about the economic needs in the state, and more than 115 participants in a specially designed workshop discussed how the university can best promote economic development, engagement and innovation.
Other participants ranged from UGA students who made and sold their own products on campus to internationally recognized business leaders working at the highest levels of corporate America.
“This is only the beginning for Thinc. at UGA,” Lee said. “This is a critically important activity that we not only plan to replicate annually but also plan to build on throughout the year.”