BIG News is coming your way!          March 2016
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Students Compete in the Georgia Southern University Business Innovation Group's Third Annual 3 Day Startup

The Georgia Southern University Business Innovation Group (BIG) held its third annual 3 Day Startup (3DS) on February 19-21.

3DS is a world-renowned program that creates a living entrepreneurship laboratory bringing together individuals from various backgrounds to provide students with the tools they need to start successful companies.

This intensive weekend event was filled with activity including workshops, business idea generation, customer engagement sessions and pitching ideas to judges. Winners from 3DS will move to the FastPitch competition in Savannah on March 4. Suzanne Hallman, Georgia Southern Business advisor, states, “What a weekend! This program and the students just keep getting better. The amount of effort the participants put into the ideas and presentations over one weekend is awe-inspiring.” 
“I’ve attended all three years, and this was the best year so far,” said Allen Muldrew, Downtown Development Authority director. “The Business Innovation Group’s 3 Day Startup program is a great asset to Georgia Southern and our community. It’s nice to see such a great launching pad for our future entrepreneurs.”

The six business ideas pitched this year were

Eagle Track – an analytical database management system for the military
Chapter Ease – a Greek life chapter management system
Park Plots – an app connecting people to solve parking issues for big venues
eBugg – a revolutionized smart shopping cart
LFG – a gamer matching app based on personality
My Guardian Angel – a car seat safety pad linked to a key fob
The team chosen by panelists to move on to the FastPitch competition in Savannah was My Guardian Angel. Team members are Layne Livingston, founder, Quinton Boyd, Thomas Carter, John Jones, Jeovannti McKoy and Joseph Watt.

The Georgia Southern University Business Innovation Group prides itself on its commitment to empower and equip entrepreneurs. 3DS is an example of the commitment BIG makes to create more businesses and jobs in order to sustain the economy. For more information, contact Suzanne Hallman, business advisor, at, or visit

BBRED Completes Analysis for McRae-Helena 

The Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development (BBRED) recently completed a target industry analysis for the City of McRae-Helena to identify potential industries as attraction targets that could support the existing industrial economy in McRae-Helena and surrounding Telfair County. To find these industries, the research team examined both the industrial sectors and workforce characteristics present in the region.

The McRae-Helena leadership intends to use the findings of this analysis to pursue identified industries with potential to locate in and positively contribute to the local economy of Telfair County. As part of this analysis, the research team compared Telfair County to a grouping of contiguous counties. High growth sectors were identified within the two areas. Industries recommended to McRae-Helena that could support business growth include manufacturing, wholesale trade and transportation and warehousing sectors.

The analysis identified 11 potential sectors that could be good recruiting targets for the City of McRae-Helena. Currently, the city is taking active steps as a direct result of the BBRED study to recruit new businesses to the area. Finally, BBRED would like to thank the North American Development Bank and the GENIE program for financially supporting this research project.

BIG Café

February 10’s BIG Café was a great success. This monthly networking event held by the Business Innovation Group (BIG) was comprised of more than 40 local entrepreneurs, students and faculty who brought energy and enthusiasm, creating a strong entrepreneurial atmosphere. Each gathered at City Campus in downtown Statesboro, enabling one another to help solve business problems by providing invaluable feedback while enjoying a delicious cup of complimentary coffee provided by Cool Beanz along with a nice addition of doughnuts.

The two presenters for BIG Café included Tina and Jeff Banks, owners of Kidovations, and Jonathan and Bob Chambers, owners of Citrusolution Carpet Cleaning. Each presented with the intent of receiving feedback from the attendees to help solve business problems. Tina Banks posed the question, “how do I leverage networking opportunities effectively when I am not the loudest voice?”

Elena McLendon, with the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority, suggested that Tina and Jeff “sponsor one of the Bulloch Recreational teams, allowing them to put [the company’s] name on the jerseys and maybe partner with Party Harbor and have an event with lots of inflatables.” Sponsoring a team will help get Kidovation’s name out there, and hosting an event will allow Tina and Jeff to interact face-to-face with the kids who may start attending Kidovations. Dusty Ziegler, owner of Dusty Zeigler Agency proposed, “Get something like a mascot that captures the culture that would be appealing to the kids as well as to adults, and use that mascot to go to events and cultivate that culture; it will take some of the burden off of you.” Other suggestions included contacting local churches to inform them on Kidovations, using social media, connecting with extroverted individuals at events so they can connect Tina and Jeff to others.

After a brief coffee break, Jonathan and Bob Chambers proposed the unique challenge, “How do we market the sale of our business?”

Fred David, owner of Minuteman Press stated, “It’s very important to put together a complete package of what you want, and be able to show a potential buyer what your cash flow is and how you justify your price.” Brian Reiss, owner of Party Harbor Inflatables, suggested, “Don’t advertise it because people may think the quality isn’t that good, and they just want out.” Other suggestions included using a broker, consider owner-financing, and looking at repeat customers to see if they have an interest in buying.

BIG Café was a huge success thanks to everyone who attended and gave invaluable feedback. BIG Café wants to especially thank Tina and Jeff Banks and Jonathan and Bob Chambers for presenting and our sponsors Fred David, Cool Beanz and Elena McLendon, DSDA. If you would like to present your business obstacle(s) at BIG Café, please contact Jill Johns at or (912) 478-0872.

Attend the next BIG Café if you would like to come together to network, drink free coffee and help one another thrive. Also, attend five times and you will receive a free BIG Café coffee mug!

View February’s BIG Café at

The next BIG Café will be Wednesday, March 9, 2016, with networking at 8:30 a.m. and presentations starting at 9 a.m.

Lunch 'n' Learn
Entrepreneurs, students and faculty gathered at City Campus on Tuesday, February 16, 2016, from noon to 1:30 p.m. for the monthly Lunch ’nʽ Learn series. ­­­­Sarah Horton, the instructor for this February’s Lunch ’nʽ Learn, presented the importance of good office space and available resources. Following the presentation, participants took a tour next door to see the exciting progress being made on the Business Incubator!
Upcoming Lunch ’nʽ Learn topics are

  • March 2016: Video Marketing
  • April 2016: Local Area Resources
  • May 2016: Loan Acquisition
  • June 2016: Web Design & SEO
  • July 2016: Social Media
  • August 2016: Growth
  • September 2016: HR Issues
  • October 2016: Passion & Purpose
  • November 2016: Global Entrepreneurship Week – Topic TBD

Thank you to everyone who attended, helping make the Lunch ’nʽ Learn series a tremendous success. A special thanks to Sarah Horton for sharing her knowledge on good office space and available resources. If you would like to attend future Lunch ’nʽ Learn sessions, be sure to visit in order to reserve your spot! Lunch ’nʽ Learns are held on the third Tuesday of the month. Remember to bring your lunch when you join us!

Entrepreneur Spotlight

Fred David’s BIG Café Success Story

Fred David attends BIG Café regularly and diligently provides invaluable feedback for fellow entrepreneurs. Fred saw the benefit of presenting at BIG Café and hopped on the train early. He decided to present at BIG Café on November 11, 2015. Fred sought out advice from local entrepreneurs at BIG Café in hopes of finding a good individual to bring on staff.

Fred David asked, “What are the avenues, and what are suggestions of places that I’m missing? Am I not asking the right questions of people to find a production person and a marketing person that could help me grow my business to the next level of where we need to be?” One suggestion included going out to different places like restaurants, for example, and watching the people actually work. Another suggestion was working with Georgia Southern University to develop an internship. Other suggestions included training replacements, looking at students from Ogeechee Tech, seeking out other mission groups and finding motivated people whom Fred could inspire.

Fred’s diligence to BIG Café paid off. After the event was over, several people went up to Fred and mentioned a young man called Taylor Genereux, a recent Georgia Southern University graphic design graduate, searching for a job. After an interview process, Fred decided to hire Taylor. Fred says, “He’s a wonderful young man; he’s been a great addition; and he’s the person I [was] looking for. So, I just wanted to say the BIG Café works.”

BIG Café can have the same impact on your business. If you want to solve a problem or issue, do not miss out on an amazing opportunity to resolve it by presenting at BIG Café! Thank you to all the local entrepreneurs, students and faculty members who make this program successful. Visit to watch Fred’s success story for yourself, or visit to view each BIG Café.

Tom Szaky–Sustainability & Entrepreneur Lecture Series Speaker

At the Performing Arts Center on Thursday, April 7, 2016, the Center for Sustainability and the Business Innovation Group (BIG) will partner to bring in this year’s Entrepreneur Lecture Series speaker, Tom Szaky, co-founder and CEO of TerraCycle, TerraCycle collects and repurposes hard-to-recycle post-consumer waste such as chip bags, cleaning product packages, etc. Mr. Szaky has also authored two books, Outsmart Waste and Revolution in a Bottle.
A well-known international public speaker who often times speaks to corporate and academic audiences, Szaky is also the producer and star of a reality TV show called “Human Resources.” Since its inception, Tom and TerraCycle have collected more than 100 awards for the work conducted from organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency, United Nations and the World Economic Forum.  
Szaky’s presentation is a partnership between the Center for Sustainability’s seminar series and the BIG Entrepreneur Lecture Series. The Center for Sustainability’s seminar series has featured nationally and internationally-recognized leaders in sustainability since 2008. The Entrepreneur Lecture series was developed by the Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership as a way to showcase the entrepreneurial spirit. This partnership plays a great role in helping to harness and grow an innovative culture in the region. Attendance verification will be provided for students.
Connect with Tom Szaky through Facebook at or Twitter (@TerraCycle).
To learn more about TerraCycle and its mission, please visit
This event is free and open to the public.
Student Sustainability Fees at Work!

Student Spotlight

Layne Livingston’s pitch for her car seat safety device earned her a spot in FastPitch and this month’s student spotlight.

Layne is a senior hospitality management major from Woodstock, Georgia. She was encouraged by her professor, Steve Stewart, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, to participate in the 3 Day Startup (3DS) program. “I had never considered myself an entrepreneur,” said Layne. “All I knew is that I had lots of ideas and motivation.” Those ideas and motivation paid off as she pitched to a small committee then to the larger group. She was surrounded by a very supportive and excited team who helped with research, customer discovery, pricing strategy and developing a prototype.

Layne will graduate in May but is confident that the My Guardian Angel team can handle developing and launching this exciting new product.

Layne is not an amateur when it comes to the stage. She was awarded second runner up at this year’s Miss Georgia Southern Pageant. Layne is also the chaplin for her sorority, Alpha Delta Chi, and volunteers for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Shortly after completing 3DS, Layne accepted an internship with Disney as part of its College Program. She will be a concierge in one of the company’s world famous resort hotels. Layne is very hopeful that the internship is just the beginning of a great career at Disney.

Congratulations, Layne! Keep up the great work!
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