The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded Georgia Southern University and the City of Statesboro, GA a grant of nearly $1.1 million for an expansion of the University‚Äôs City Campus to establish the FabLab and Innovation Incubator.
The EDA‚Äôs $1,097,360 grant enables Georgia Southern and the City of Statesboro to renovate two buildings and create a business incubator with office space and a fabrication laboratory that will have 3D printers and other equipment to support advanced manufacturing.
Locating an incubator and a Fab Lab within the same space combines support for innovation and entrepreneurship with the sequential commercialization process.
The idea is based on the FabLab pioneered at MIT by Dr. Neil Gershenfeld to enable low-cost manufacturing of ‚Äúalmost anything.‚Äù
This Fab Lab model has since been successfully replicated at universities all over the U.S. and the world. The Statesboro FabLab is the first one in the State of Georgia.
Charles Patterson, Ph.D., vice president for Research and Economic Development at Georgia Southern, said many of their faculty and students are engaged in entrepreneurial activities creating inventions, technologies and devices which the university can license, patent and spin off into companies.
The City of Statesboro pitched in with the remaining $800,000 commitment for the $1.8 million project, in order to facilitate purchase of the two buildings that will house the Fab Lab and incubator.
The expansion of the City Campus includes space for the Statesboro office of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the University‚Äôs Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership, and the Bureau for Business Research and Economic Development (BBRED).
The announcement was made by U.S. Rep. John Barrow, who said this was a huge opportunity for Georgia Southern to break out and become a leader in business development.
Rep. Barrow said it was also an opportunity for small businesses to find the resources they need to compete and grow, and an opportunity for the community to show how you can come together and create conditions that help businesses grow.
Georgia Sothern University President Brooks A. Keel, Ph.D., likewise said that it was a golden opportunity to help build new businesses in the community, generate new jobs and put more people to work.