GSU economic department receives grant

Tannis Kufner

Georgia Southern University’s Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development (BBRED) received a $295,927 grant by the North American Development Bank (NADBank).

The grant will be used to expand the Georgia’s Enterprise Network for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (GENIE) project, according to a news release.

GENIE will extend services of GSU’s City Campus. This project will assist entrepreneurs and small business owners in the rural counties of Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Lincoln, Telfair and Wilkes.

The five designated counties will receive the guidance and support they need to create new businesses, grow existing businesses and create an economic climate that leads to more jobs for area residents, according to the news release.

GENIE will assist area businesses through mentoring, connecting and training and will provide a place for clients to hold meetings and events.

“Through GENIE, we will be able to provide much needed planning assistance and guidance to some of the most economically challenged communities,” Dominique Halaby, D.P.A., BBRED director, said in the news release.

For many small business owners in these communities, accessing these services is only possible by taking time out of their business day to travel to a workshop or to receive counseling from support service organizations located in larger population centers.

This new project intends to cut travel time and bring workshops closer to the small business owners.

Business owners will be able to access timely economic information and receive technical assistance from a skilled business advisor who will work to establish financial goals and performance benchmarks based on the clients’ business needs and training interests.

Halaby said in the news release, “We are building the City Campus to become a vital part of the state’s entrepreneurial economy.”