University Economic Development Association


Business Innovation Group- GENIE (Georgia Enterprise Network for Innovation and Entrepreneurship)

Award Category: Place
Submitted By: Georgia Southern University - Business Innovation Group
Program Info: Learn More
BGSU Reimagining Rural Regions (R3) Initiative


The Georgia Enterprise Network for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or GENIE, is a Georgia Southern University initiative that uses readily available technology to distribute the advising, training, and financing assistance to rural and underserved communities in our region and across Georgia, in order to increase regional resiliency and create jobs. GENIE takes existing programming from our ecosystem partners like the SBDC & SCORE, and – using equipment installed at local partner organizations like chambers of commerce, business incubators, and development authorities – deliver that content to marginalized groups that traditionally have little or no access.

Partially funded by the US EDA, each GENIE location consists of three basic components: a Virtual Receptionist, an Interactive Collaboration Room, and a Presentation Center. Our Virtual Receptionist kiosk can be placed in organizations without the foot traffic or revenue to support a full-time receptionist, allowing new visitors to talk live with a representative who can answer basic questions, direct inquiries, and schedule appointments with BIG staff. Our Interactive Collaboration Rooms are equipped with Internet-enabled whiteboards and conferencing equipment designed to increase productivity of online meetings and facilitate regional cooperation. And our Presentation Centers will deliver BIG’s entrepreneurial programming and virtual learning systems to locations and organizations in rural and underserved communities that may not typically have access to such services.

By using modern communications and meeting technology to link underserved communities with the resources of Georgia Southern’s ecosystem, BIG hopes to harness the energy of rural and minority entrepreneurs and accelerate the region’s economic growth.

University Economic Development Association

PO Box 97930
Pittsburgh, PA 15227
216.200.UEDA (8332)