In order to expand the footprint and resources for cybersecurity startups in Georgia, the soon-to-open Hull McKnight Georgia Cyber Center for Innovation and Training in Augusta has formed a strategic partnership with entrepreneur-focused non-profit theClubhou.se to manage its new innovation space, opening this July.
The $100 million Cyber Center is the single largest investment in a cybersecurity facility by a state government to date. The 332,000 square feet center will nurture the intersection of local university, law enforcement, the U.S. Army and the private sector to promote cybersecurity and related technologies through education, training, research and product development.
Eric Parker, founder and president of theClubhou.se, told Hypepotamus how they ran a similar program, called the Mesh Network, to help leaders incubate local health-related startups in their communities.
“We develop technology to help people that run incubators in mid-size communities in the south run more effectively and help them organize challenges,” Parker explains.
“That’s part of why the Cyber Center wants to work with us, so they could use that network to overlay more cybersecurity startups across the state of Georgia.”
Founded in 2012, theClubhou.se is a division of Hack Augusta. Since inception, the non-profit has helped 60 entrepreneurs grow 55 companies, created 155 jobs and had a $7 million annual economic impact in Augusta through their incubator programs. In the last year, the non-profit has also been able to bring $1.2 million in private grants and investment funding from outside of Georgia to support startup growth in Augusta and across the state, according to Parker.
“One of the big challenges for us in growing the startup community is that we’ve always been in old spaces within the community, and it’s been great to breathe new life to these old spaces, but the fact that we’ll now be in a new, state-of-the-art building for meetings is going to stimulate a lot of business activity,” says Parker.
The 7,000 square-foot space will be a big upgrade from the current Clubhou.se as it will help the non-profit add more classrooms for their coding and cybersecurity programs. They will continue operating both spaces — the existing space will function as a full-blown makerspace for the community and the Cyber Center space will function as a co-working and business incubation space.
They also tap into local talent at Augusta University, Augusta Technical College and the surrounding community to increase grant and funding opportunities.
“I’m truly excited about the opportunities our partnership presents for both our organizations,” said Calvin Rhodes, state chief information officer and executive director of the Georgia Technology Authority, said in a statement.
“Reaching outside state government for support of our incubator/accelerator mission allows us to benefit from the experience of the talented and creative team led by Eric Parker at theClubhou.se. We’ll be able to share resources with each other, reinforce each other’s work, and help ensure greater success for us both.”
Opening mid-July, theClubhou.se’s new space will be unveiled during a special edition of their monthly entrepreneur event Beer and Bytes. “We’ll bring the community together to see that everything is open and celebrate giving the entrepreneur community this new start,” says Parker.
Featured image via theClubhou.se. Inline image via Cyber Center