Georgia State University commitment to nurturing local talent beyond the standard education continues with the opening of its latest incubator, LaunchGSU. The 3000-square-foot business incubator invites any current student to apply to use the space and its resources to build their startup from the ground up.
“The Provost recognized the fact that millennials are more independent than previous generations and they are interested in pursuing their own dreams,” says LaunchGSU manager’s Erica Bracey.
“We’re providing the education in the classroom, but they also needed a space where they could work on their business. This is a place for students who are interested in launching their own small business and working on their side hustle,” says Bracey.
Any student, undergraduate or graduate, across any of GSU’s colleges, is eligible to become a member. Currently they have members from the College of Business, College of Arts and Sciences, and Computer Science with businesses ranging from photographers to cryptocurrency and music collaboration apps.
“Prior to coming to the incubator, I spent 10+ years working for the small business development center at Georgia State where we did business coaching and consulting for entrepreneurs. The biggest issue? Many entrepreneurs didn’t know where to go for resources,” says Bracey.
“I imagine that the same issue occurs at the student level. Often, they don’t know what questions to ask. My goal is to make sure that students who have the right passion and drive have access to resources that will fill in some of the pieces that they need — from financing to segmentation,” says Bracey.
Following the news of a new Entrepreneurship degree offering last fall, Bracey shares that they recognize that not everyone is interested in or can fit that minor or major into their educational goals. LaunchGSU gives them a chance to make sure they still have the information they need to form a small business.
“We offer non-credit based continuing education and workshop training programs that will cover topics that they would get if they were to take some of the entrepreneur classes. There will be staple workshops every semester, but I’m practicing what I preach and listening to the students too,” says Bracey. “Some of the staples will be business model canvas, customer discovery, marketing, social media, and business etiquette.”
Among other benefits, the incubator will offer printing services, a mailing address, panels and speaker events, connections to other downtown Atlanta startup spaces, and invaluable networking.
“The biggest benefit of LaunchGSU is that the space is open 24/7, 7 days a week. Georgia State students will apply to be members and we’re vetting to make sure they are working on a business project or small business,” says Bracey.
Right now LaunchGSU has 70 members enrolled in the business incubator — it’s currently accepting applications and will continue to accept them year-round on an open enrollment basis.
Photos courtesy of LaunchGSU/Georgia State University