Savannah Economic Development’s Jen Bonnett – VP of Innovation/Entrepreneurship & ED of The Creative Coast talks with Brian Ardinger, Inside Outside Innovation founder about Startup Ecosystem Building. Jen recently moved from Atlanta, where she founded Startup Chicks, led the state of Georgia’s technology incubator, and helped the ATL startup community. She ranks ATL in the top startup ecosystems in the country.
Highlights from their conversation:
- Savanah has three University assets. Similar to Boulder.
- Why the Creative Coast? Savanah has a thriving arts community. How do you teach artists to thrive online?
- Digital technology a significant focus. Also, healthcare tech and logistics.
- E-commerce – creative meets the port.
- Jen knew community and leaders. Began by building Ecosystem map — missing investor community.
- Savannah is a significant port.
- Startups don’t know each other or their peer groups. We are creating peer group and revenue meetups.
- “Slowvannah” – Blog post
- Savannah has high net-worth individuals, but they don’t know how to invest in startups. ATL has involved ecosystems.
- Jen was active in ATL in recruiting corporations to be involved in the startup ecosystem.
- She’s talked with all major Savannah corporations. They want help in how to engage.
- Trends in ecosystems – 20-year game. The corporate tie-in is key, as well as collaborating with other cities. Figure out what you do well and focus on those industries.
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