RELOCATE YOUR THINKING HERE
The New Creative South is a place that honors the homegrown hustle. Savannah’s history is full of entrepreneurs – people who’ve made something out of nothing. From startups that grew into game-changers to innovators and civic leaders who pave the way for the future, Savannah is a vibrant hub for creative and innovative businesses, organizations, and individuals.
Savannah is part of the new creative south, a place where the past and present collide into the perfect place to call home. Music, art, film, technology, culture and hometown pride, Savannah offers plenty to those willing to call it home.
- 50,000 college students in the area
- 38,000 miles of fiber optic, 2nd only to Atlanta
- 80 miles of coastline
- 44 park and squares
- Home to largest design school in the US
- Largest Historic district in the US
- Over 52 festivals each year ranging from the Jewish food festival, to Black Heritage to the Savannah Music Festival
- Voted one of the “World’s 30 Friendliest Cities” by Condé Nast
- A community engaged in creative and innovative endeavors that cultivates an environment in which its citizens can thrive.
In recent years, the city’s signature lifestyle and focus on environmental stewardship has attracted $6 billion in foreign direct investment. Now, Savannah is turning our attention to technology. We’re leading the way into the future – and pioneering a model for other cities to follow.
- The Creative Coast: A great place to meet other entrepreneurs, find mentors, advice, and events that will help you get your business where you want it to be.
- Small Business Development Center: They provide no-cost consultation on everything from writing your business plan to marketing to strategic planning and finding sources of capital. They have 17 local offices in Georgia, including one in Savannah.
- SCORE: Free mentoring and workshops for entrepreneurs who are just starting out, or need to grow their business.
- City of Savannah Enterprise Zones: Promotes reinvestment along distressed business corridors by incentivizing property tax abatement and certain fee waivers. Property tax abatement is graduated over a 10 year period for business investments that are located within an Enterprise Zones and meet one of the following requirements :
- Job Creation Incentive: Create and maintain five new full-time equivalent jobs for the duration of the ten year graduated tax abatement period.
- Land Improvement Incentive : Invest in new residential construction or rehabilitation or other rehabilitation of an existing structure such that the value of the improvements exceeds the value of the land by a ratio of five to one according to the Chatham County Tax Assessors valuation.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS
- Savannah Economic Development Office – If you have questions about doing business in Savannah, call them. The Economic Development Department’s programs and activities are geared toward improving economic opportunities and increasing financial well-being for individuals, families, and small businesses of Savannah. These services include:
- Business outreach, support and assistance
- Development and administration of small business incentives to encourage business development and retention
- Micro and Small Business Development Program
- Commercial corridor revitalization activities and asset and wealth building services for Savannah residents
- Savannah Entrepreneurial Center – They provide classes and resources for micro and small businesses as well as:
- Entrepreneurial Center and Training
- Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises Program
- Workshops and Classes Schedule
- SEDA – SEDA is mostly in the business attraction space, but they have some good data about our local market and opportunities.
- Small Business Assistance Corporation – They provide low interest loans to small businesses.
- Small Business Development Center (Savannah)
- Worksource Georgia Employer Services – They can help provide training and employee salary assistance for qualified businesses.
- Buy Local Savannah: Buy Local’s mission is to support locally owned and operated, independent businesses in the greater Savannah area, to maintain our unique community character, provide continuing opportunities for entrepreneurs, build our community economic strength, and prevent the displacement of community-based businesses by national and global entities.
INCUBATORS & ACCELERATORS
- ATDC Savannah
- Bull Street Labs
- Georgia Centers for Innovation
- Don Ryan Center for Innovation (Bluffton) – An incubator and resource for innovative companies in Bluffton:
- Business Incubation Group at Georgia Southern (BIG – Statesboro) Headquartered at the Georgia Southern University City Campus and founded in 2014 when the Small Business Development Center, Bureau of Business Research and Economic Development, and Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership agreed to work together to leverage their resources and maximize the impact the programs can have on the economic vitality of the region.
- The Innovation Incubator at Georgia Southern (Statesboro) – The Innovation Incubator offers dedicated space to 20+ local entrepreneurs at City Campus in downtown Statesboro starting as low as $75/month.
- Georgia Entrepreneurs Network: A List provided by t
- City of Savannah Direct Loan Program
- City of Savannah Business Loan Guaranty Program
- HUD Special Purpose Loan Program
- Martin Luther King Revolving Loan Program (2016 T. McCoy Cornerstone Award for Administrative Professionals )
- SBAC Collateral Loan
- Georgia State Small Business Credit Initiative
- Microlenders in Georgia
- Georgia Micro Enterprise Network
- Angel Investors Tax Credits
- Georgia Green Loans
- CSRA Small Business
CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE
- Urban Savannah Chamber of Commerce
- Savannah Downtown Business Association
- Savannah Chamber of Commerce
- Savannah Small Business Chamber
- Metropolitan Savannah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- Savannah German Chamber of Commerce
MEETUPS AND KNOWLEDGE SHARING
- TechSAV – Like I’d leave us out. Our Slack group is a good place to get advice or answers to technical questions (or at least a lot of opinions) and get connected to Savannah’s Tech Community. Our Meetup group is really active and it feels like there’s something worth going to to practically every week.
- 1 Million Cups – Great place to practice your pitch, get feedback from other entrepreneurs, and see what other people are working on.
- TAG Savannah: The Technology Association of Georgia Savannah strives to educate, promote, influence and unite Savannah’s technology community to foster an innovative and connected marketplace that stimulates and enhances Savannah’s tech-based economy. TAG Savannah has over 24 events annually along with plans for two signature events in 2016. These events are aimed at fostering the technology community.
Best business practices – A Guide to Best Practices by Suntrust
What Savannah Looks Like: U.S. Census Bureau