Start-ups and new starts for Georgetown after fire

The state of South Carolina had its first start-up weekend in Georgetown.

Fifty-four people came to the event, which aims to inspire entrepreneurial-minded people to bring their innovative business ideas from 'concept to launch'.

Jon Rossi, who came to facilitate this event from Colorado, has attended 19 of these start-up weekend events across the nation. He said the turnout in the city of Georgetown was bigger than the turnout he saw in Denver, Colorado earlier this month.

According to other event organizers, this weekend's turnout was particularly impressive considering the location had to be moved at the last minute because of Wednesday's fire on Front Street. Initially, the event had been scheduled at the historic, South Carolina Maritime Museum. Rossi said everyone who signed up, showed up.

For other instructors who have worked at events like these before, the large turnout was a promising sign because it was indicative of a big interest in start-ups and entrepreneurship around our area.

From Friday through Sunday, both large and small groups of people had 54 hours to come up with a creative idea. A majority of the groups had web and mobile applications, some of which could be applied to a variety of business models.

However, one team chose to create a product targeted at high-school and college-aged students to help them retain information they study in class more effectively.

"We are doing a project that's based on a 2007 study by a German neuroscientist that said if you are exposed to an odor while you are studying, and you are re-exposed to that odor while you're sleeping, that you can get up to 13 percent better memory retention of your studying material," said Mikkel Green, owner of Verde Design, LLC.

One hope is that these start-ups can inject new life into our area, particularly in Georgetown, which is entrenched in history and culture, and especially now in its more vulnerable, post-fire state.

"Ultimately what I'm looking forward to is that both of these groups will one day come together and you'll see a still beautiful Georgetown, but a moving forward Georgetown," said Dr. Anthony Robinson, an Assistant Professor at the James M. Hull College of Business at Georgia Regents University in Augusta.

The weekend was capped off with Green's team and other groups giving special presentations to a panel of judges on Sunday evening.

The panel of judges will give out prizes that will help these continue to develop their start-ups even after the weekend is over.

The Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce, Cowork MYR, and Alliance Economic Development of Georgetown County were responsible for making this first start-up weekend possible.

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