It’s great to be a tech nerd in Savannah.
It wasn’t always that way. Kevin Lawver, Co-founder and Director of Tech SAV, a nonprofit organization dedicated to uniting Savannah’s growing technology community, should know. When he moved to Savannah 11 years ago, finding like-minded people was a challenge.
“I kept running into really smart geeks and entrepreneurs who did cool stuff, but they never talked to anyone about it,” Lawver said. “There wasn’t a place for people to up their game, to gain skills,”
In 2017, he and co-founder Yvonne Jouffrault started Tech SAV not just as a place for tech workers and entrepreneurs to gather, but to create visibility for people considering a move to Savannah. Lawver now runs the organization with Sarah Pounders, who serves as the operational lead.
“People interested in coming here need to be able to see that there is a tech community in Savannah and that we do stuff,” said Lawver. “People find us who are just passing through. They contribute to the community while they’re here, and then they leave. But they’re taking that impression of Savannah as a good place to be with a supportive tech community with them, and they will tell other people. “
The word about Tech SAV is spreading. Events like Tech Tuesday and LunchFunction draw crowds, and more than 400 people connect online via Slack. The growth has encouraged Tech SAV leadership to establish a chapter of codebar, a free monthly workshop where registered students can receive one-on-one coaching on coding tutorials. The Savannah chapter is the second in the United States.
“Growth has been kind of nuts,” said Lawver. “As more tech jobs open up in Savannah, we are seeing more participation.”
Indeed, economic development is one of Tech SAV’s primary goals.
“We have become a community for remote workers in Savannah. Our goal is that, if we can create enough collision hours between remote workers and tech aspirants and entrepreneurs and freelancers, they will eventually build things together and create jobs.”
Tech SAV is also giving back to the community. The organization recently raised almost $3,000 for Santa’s Pantry, which fed more than 1,500 people during the holiday season.
“Part of our bigger goal is not to just be a place where tech folks gather but where we rally to help people who need it. We have each other, but at a certain point that’s not enough,” Lawver said.
|WHAT’S HAPPENING||WHAT IS IT?||WHEN AND WHERE?|
|Tech Tuesday||Happy hour hangout for technologists, entrepreneurs, designers, and tech curious
|First Tuesday of every month @ various venues in Savannah, 5:30pm onward|
|TechSAV Co-working Day||Full day of free co-working for TechSAV members
|Third Thursday of every month @ The Labs, 9am-5pm|
|LunchFunction||Lunchtime talks about topics of interest to the tech community
|Third Thursday of every month @ The Labs, 12-1pm|
|LunchFunction Fundamentals||Super intro-friendly installments of LunchFunction for beginners
|Once every three months of LunchFunction, 12-1pm|
|Lunch Club||Casual, social lunchtime get-together
|Last Tuesday of every month @ various venues in Savannah, 12-1pm|
|codebar||Software tutorials with one-on-one coaching. (Sign-up required.)||Second Monday of every month @ The Labs, 6-8pm|