Developing new ideas and businesses
While you may think of Bluffton as a delightful “old town” with galleries, restaurants and boutique shops, you would be right. However, it is a growing and striving community that offers much more.
Change evolves from many sources and so it is with Bluffton. A few years ago, resident Larry Hughes attended a lecture about “technology villages”. After hearing how these villages were designed to be small business incubators, he determined that Bluffton might be just the right place to implement one.
At the same time, Dr. Mac Horton, Director of Clemson’s Institute for Economic and Community Development, was on a mission. He wanted to establish incubators for business start-ups in some of the less populated areas of SC. Bluffton wasn’t even on the radar…
Larry Hughes presented his ideas to Clemson to convince them that Bluffton was an ideal location. Care Corp’s Larry Ryan, then CEO, offered 1,600 square feet of space to the new concept which would later become the first Clemson Center. Although the center began just two years ago, the Bluffton Don Ryan Center for Innovation has graduated 6 businesses with many others in process.
Credit must also be given to Bluffton Mayor, Lisa Sulka, who took the chance to move forward with an untried opportunity. Creating the technology village required a tremendous team effort by local government, businesses, and individuals within the community. Now Bluffton has become the model for other communities in the state. Pretty amazing for a town of 738 residents just 15 short years ago – and just getting started!
When new residents move to this area, they often have extra time on their hands and a wealth of business experience. There are so many ways to get involved in our community. Working with the Ryan Center for Innovation can offer volunteers a rewarding experience while sharing knowledge and assistance to young aspiring entrepreneurs.
With all of the opportunities available to residents to become active contributors, there is no need to be bored or unchallenged when you move to the Lowcountry!
For more information, visit www.ryan-innovation-center.com