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October 3, 2012

Business incubator making progress

MILLEDGEVILLE — The City of Milledgeville will continue to discuss and plan with local officials next week regarding the process of transforming the former Shaw Industries Group Inc. facility into a thriving business incubator.

According to www.georgia.org, business incubators help companies commercialize their ideas into marketable products and services. There are 25 business incubators across the state, including incubators serving as startups for bioscience companies with laboratory space and equipment, medical device and medical software startup companies, manufacturing-focused companies, agriculture-focused companies, and incubators targeting economic development.

The Augusta-Richmond County Small Business Incubator was originally built for technology innovation 13 years ago, which is currently used to foster regional economic development through provision of managerial and technical assistance, low office rental rates, and shared access to basic office services and equipment.

Located adjacent to Augusta Technical College, the 14,000 square-foot incubator is government-funded.

In Milledgeville, the 93,000 square-foot warehouse was donated to the city by Shaw Industries, after which City Council members voted on the Resolution during the Aug. 28 meeting. Mayor Richard Bentley officially signed the deed following the meeting.

The space will provide a comfortable area for 20 to 25 entrepreneurs to start up their business models once the facility opens up in two to three months time. Couch is also considering “Milledgeville Center of Innovation and Commerce” as the new name of the business incubator.

Shaw Industries closed its Milledgeville plant in February 2009 due to the economic conditions, which led to lower consumer demand for its products, affecting around 150 employees. The company is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the world’s largest carpet manufacturer and leading floor covering provider.

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