CONTACT:  GRAYSON KELLY, 646-1548 OR gkelly1@tctc.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           6/12/2019

                                                                                                (By Lisa Garrett)

PENDLETON --- Are you a budding entrepreneur with an innovative idea for a new business start-up but haven’t fine-tuned a strategy to successfully get it off the ground?

A $100,000 grant from the Department of Commerce to Tri-County Technical College is providing funds to create INSPIRE Lab, a new business incubator program designed to give future business owners the proper resources and knowledge to create new businesses.

The Lab will serve as a place to educate business owners or start-up founders through programs and give them access to professional business mentoring.

Applications are being accepted online at INSPIRE Lab Applications link . The deadline for submission is August 1, 2019.

A committee of entrepreneurs will serve as advisors and will be looking at the viability of each business proposal, as well as the practicality of each coming to fruition.

Funds are being used for the development of a business incubation program that blends online and classroom studies that provide personal coaching and counseling from seasoned business veterans to help individuals to further their business ideas. 

The 12-week program will cover Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Leadership, Design Process and Entrepreneurship.

Between 6 and 12 entrepreneurial companies will be selected to participate. They will meet two hours each week.  Twelve modules will be completed.

“The main goals and objectives of the Project INSPIRE Lab are to build and launch programs that deliver real business skill sets, such as problem solving, critical thinking, entrepreneurship, design thinking and leadership. The industry areas which we are investigating and will build programs around are in Advanced Materials, Civil Infrastructure and Educational Technology. Some of the core training elements will be customer problem/solution mapping, selling/marketing, building a team, storytelling, early adopters, business plan execution and access to capital,” said Grayson Kelly, vice president of Institutional Advancement and Business Relations at Tri-County.

“Being an entrepreneur means creating and cultivating new business concepts. It is a daunting task with startup business owners being the sole risk takers and stakeholders. As such, they must assume the various roles within an organization. Performing multiple duties within the startup can be roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Without the proper resources and teams to assist in making it through the small business startup challenge, company founders can quickly find themselves in over their head,” said Kelly.

“Our goal is to build entrepreneurs within the Upstate, in our own backyards,” said Craig Kinley, consultant.

The Tri-County Technical College INSPIRE Lab is sponsored by Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties

Initially the INSPIRE Lab programs will be located at the Tri-County Technical College Anderson campus at 511 Michelin Blvd, Anderson. The launch of the final location is under design at 1428 Pearman Dairy Road in Anderson and is scheduled to open first quarter of 2020.  The 50,000-square-foot facility is designed for industrial use with all the amenities needed to foster growth and development of a business: from industrial power, to forklift and freight accessibility, and even collaborative office space.

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