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The Beaufort Digital Corridor is a creative effort to attract, nurture and promote Beaufort's knowledge economy through a combination of technology-enabled initiatives and business incentives, private business support and member-driven programming.

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Beaufort Digital Corridor’s BASEcamp Renovation Underway

The Beaufort Digital Corridor is pleased to announce that the renovation of BASEcamp is underway. The approximately five thousand square foot facility at 500 Carteret Street is strategically located in Downtown Beaufort, a few blocks from Bay Street. The renovation project is beginning just over 30 days since the unveiling of the Beaufort Digital Corridor by the City of Beaufort and is expected to be ready for occupancy in November 2016.

BASEcamp will soon become Beaufort's premier business incubator and co-working office designed to meet the transitional professional office space needs of tech and tech-related entrepreneurs seeking adaptable, affordable office and conference facilities of the highest quality, while gaining access to the network of entrepreneurs and professionals in both Beaufort and Charleston, South Carolina. Additionally, BASEcamp will support Beaufort's local creative arts community through the "BASEcamp Gallery."

"The development of BASEcamp represents a tangible and primary step forward as part of the Beaufort Digital Corridor's comprehensive long-term economic strategy in support of tech focused entrepreneurs," said Beaufort Redevelopment Commission member and City Councilman, Stephen Murray.

"Our goal with the development of BASEcamp is to create a modern, highly flexible, welcoming (and oh by the way, dog-friendly) workplace that allows entrepreneurs to focus on achieving their business goals while also being conducive to collaboration," said Project Manager and Charleston Digital Corridor Director, Ernest Andrade.

BASEcamp will be available for occupancy this November. Contact us to learn more or reserve an office or co-working desk.

About the Beaufort Digital Corridor

The Beaufort Digital Corridor is a community-sourced business initiative to attract, nurture and promote the city's knowledge economy through an array of impactful programs, products and events while leveraging the city's renowned livability. More: beaufortdigital.com

Beaufort receives $150,000 grant toward Beaufort Digital Corridor work

Beaufort has received a boost toward readying a technology venture downtown.

Hargray Communications will provide $150,000 under the Rural Development Act for work on the Beaufort Digital Corridor. The new technology and economic development initiative, backed by the successful Charleston Digital Corridor, is renovating 500 Carteret St. for use as office space to draw tech startups and businesses.

Renovations on the building are underway. The space is scheduled to open in November.

‘Digital Corridor’ Illustrates InterDev as Trusted Advisor

Long an example of operational execution, Atlanta-based InterDev has pursued growth by hawking managed IT services to the public sector, securing key deals in suburban communities near Atlanta and Chicago.

A break-fix provider for most of its 36 years, InterDev now dedicates more than two thirds of its staff to its burgeoning government services division.

With its latest move – the Beaufort Digital Corridor – the solutions provider appears to again be flexing the nuanced marketing tactics that have generated so much momentum to its public-sector efforts, including an April agreement to provide complete IT services to the city of Beaufort, S.C.

"As the managed IT services provider for the City of Beaufort, this is a natural extension of InterDev's relationship with Beaufort and an investment in its citizens and the local economy," InterDev CEO Gary Nichols said. "We're looking forward to having the same technology business growth for Beaufort that Charleston (S.C.) is experiencing with its digital corridor."

InterDev is the first company to contribute to the new Beaufort-area program, patterned after 15-year-old Charleston approach. The plan aims to stoke the local tech economy by attracting technology businesses, raising wages and keeping the best and brightest workers at home.

In addition, the corridor effort will help train a local technology workforce by establishing youth technology education programs and computer coding camps.

Beaufort, the state's second-oldest city after Charleston, recently hired InterDev to provide 24/7 monitoring and maintenance of servers, networks, employee workstations, backup systems and hosted applications.

The MSP also serves as the liaison between the city and other technology providers, like telecommunications vendors, and educates city officials about technology solutions in use at other municipalities, providing strategic guidance to help Beaufort modernize its IT environment.

During an interview about the company's public-sector initiatives this past spring, CEO Nichols expressed his view that "marketing is a critical component of growth and it's where I think a lot of MSPs fall behind."

Beaufort City Councilman and city redevelopment commissioner Stephen Murray suggested the corridor initiative is precisely the type of proactivity that InterDev was hired to achieve.

"Like Charleston, we are committed to incenting technology entrepreneurs to locate in Beaufort by providing the optimal business, education and social environment conducive to the success of high-tech businesses," he said.

Beaufort Digitizing Downtown Corridor

In addition to being known for its beautiful views, history and hospitality, downtown Beaufort could soon be recognized as a digital mecca for high-wage technology companies.

City leaders are delving into a public-private partnership to create the Beaufort Digital Corridor as a way to recruit and nurture small tech-related businesses to enhance economic opportunity for a generation that thrives on technology.

With many entrepreneurs working out of their homes in small spaces, the corridor can offer a setting to do business and collaborate with fellow tech-savvy small businesses.

The Beaufort Redevelopment Commission recently voted to use the same model that helped build the Charleston Digital Corridor, which has grown the technology economy from 18 companies in 2001 to more than 350 as of 2015.

An old banking building at 500 Carteret Street will soon undergo renovations to designate about 5,000 of 18,000 square feet for small, new tech companies. The costs are still being discussed, as the design remains in the planning stages, said Beaufort City Manager Bill Prokop.

Prokop said the building should be renovated by mid-fall and the first participants could be working in the center by late December.

"Our goal is 10-12 companies by the end of this year, and 100 participants here at BASEcamp within five years," Prokop said. "There are a lot of strategies to put into play to make that happen, but we are ideally located to tap our talent bank, with the Marine Corps Air Station, USCB and the Technical College of the Lowcountry right outside the door."

The city will look to find financial partners while the Charleston Digital Corridor helps by creating a business development strategy.

Interested tech companies wanting to join the Beaufort corridor will go through an application process with the Charleston Digital Corridor, Prokop said.

Mayor Billy Keyserling said the goal is to expand the tax base by creating more jobs, help service members transition into civilian life and attract visitors who are looking to relocate.

City Councilman Stephen Murray, a Beaufort Redevelopment Commission member and key advocate of the project, said Charleston's Digital Corridor is a success story worth imitating.

"We have a lot in common with Charleston, including history, beautiful buildings and natural coastal environment, and a high quality of life that is appealing to young tech entrepreneurs," Murray said. "The secret is to provide the business, social and education infrastructure to get them started and to succeed here."

The Beaufort Digital Corridor will rely on participation from the community. Like Charleston, Beaufort attracts many new residents and visitors because of its rich history, preservation, charm and beauty.

In the 1990s the Charleston economy was heavily dependent on the tourism industry.

The cost of living was rising at a dramatic rate while per-capita wages were stagnant and a large percentage of college graduates were leaving the area due to lack of economic opportunity.

"The issues facing Beaufort are strikingly similar to Charleston's challenges in the 1990s, namely rising cost of living, dependence on military establishments, visitor-centric development, stagnating wage levels, and brain drain," said Ernest Andrade, executive director of the Charleston Digital Corridor.

Andrade said the project is a "business development initiative" because it will focus on helping homegrown and local talent create new tech-related businesses, rather than traveling to other states or countries to recruit existing companies to relocate to the Lowcountry.

Beaufort Council Stephen Murray speaks to invited guests

Beaufort Plans Digital Corridor Initiative In Hopes Of Replicating Charleston’s Tech Success

Young people in Beaufort are leaving en masse. The city's becoming more expensive, but pay isn't going up. It's a haven for tourists and outsiders, but locals have fewer options.

If that sounds familiar, perhaps it should. The way Beaufort officials see it, their situation isn't so different from Charleston's a few decades earlier.

They see two coastal cities dependent on big military installations, both long on historic charm and tourist appeal but relatively short on economic diversity. And in Charleston, they see one that shook its doldrums and emerged with a booming economy, thanks in part to a manufacturing renaissance and a burgeoning technology sector. Read More

500 Carteret Street

Digital Corridor Announces Expansion Of Program To Beaufort, SC

Charleston, South Carolina – The Charleston Digital Corridor is pleased to announce a partnership with the City of Beaufort to launch an implementation of its highly successful tech business development initiative. The vote passed unanimously and with high praise at the June 21st, 2016 meeting of Beaufort City Council and the Redevelopment Commission.

Mayor Billy Keyserling and City Council laid out four straightforward goals - diversify Beaufort's economy and expand the tax base; transition military personnel to the civilian workforce; court visitors to relocate and create jobs; and develop relationships with all levels of public education.

Like Charleston, the Beaufort Digital Corridor's mission is to attract, nurture and promote high-wage tech and tech-related companies in the city and the Sea Islands by diversifying the city's economic base.

Stephen Murray, a Beaufort City Councilman and member of the Beaufort Redevelopment Commission, was instrumental with establishing the Beaufort Digital Corridor. "We have a lot in common with Charleston including history, beautiful buildings, pristine coastal environment, and a lifestyle that is appealing to young tech entrepreneurs," Murray said. "The key is to provide the business, social and education infrastructure to get them started and succeed here."

The first step for the Beaufort Digital Corridor is the renovation and up-fit of a city owned building, just blocks from Bay Street and the city's Waterfront Park. Dubbed BASEcamp, the 5,000 square foot business incubator and co-working space, located at 500 Carteret Street, is expected to be available for tech and tech-related companies late Fall 2016.

"We will utilize the hands-on experience of Ernest Andrade and his team to execute this business development strategy for the city of Beaufort," said William Prokop, Beaufort City Manager. "In essence, the Charleston group will incubate Beaufort's tech business development effort."

The success of the BDC will require meaningful participation from the Beaufort community. "We will seek private professional and financial partners to assist us with making the Beaufort Digital Corridor successful." Keyserling said. "We're going to make this work."

"There is no silver bullet to helping Beaufort become successful," said Charleston Digital Corridor Director, Ernest Andrade. "We will address the issues with a practical, measurable and long-term approach and with the direct engagement of the community just as we do in Charleston."

Beaufort Unveils Plans to Create Tech Hub, Boost Jobs

Beaufort is partnering with a successful Charleston technology initiative with the goal of drawing and building high-tech companies and adding jobs.The Beaufort Digital Corridor could launch as soon as this month under the oversight of the Charleston Digital Corridor, an economic development initiative started in Charleston in 2001 to diversify the city's businesses and workforce. In recent years, the city has joined the conversation as one of the top tech communities in the country.

The idea of the Beaufort Digital Corridor will be pitched to the city's Redevelopment Commission at 5 p.m. on Tuesday at City Hall. Charleston Digital Corridor founder Ernest Andrade is scheduled to present the partnership to commissioners.

"We've come a long way now," said Stephen Murray, a City Councilman who heads the commission's economic development efforts. "We feel like we're at the point we need formal approval and broad community interest before we do anything."

The gathering Tuesday will later move to 500 Carteret St., the city property that would eventually be used as space for the project. Beaufort bought the building in part to address a parking need downtown. Uses for the 18,000 square feet of office space was to be planned by the city's redevelopment panel.

At the time, city manager Bill Prokop said the city didn't want to be in the real estate business and that the property could be returned to private owners if a parking garage is built. This is the first public proposal for how the city might use the building. Organizers envision the space as 10 furnished offices with month-to-month leases and co-working memberships.

The Charleston Digital Corridor will help develop the Beaufort operation's budget, start a business incubator, hire a manager, build a website, create a broad wireless network and establish a foundation and nonprofit status, according to plans outlined for the Redevelopment Commission. Beaufort is hoping the project will add jobs, keep transitioning military members in the area and draw outsiders to relocate here for work.

The idea for the project started more than a year ago in the face of bleak wage numbers and census data showing young residents fleeing Beaufort, Murray said. A group of city leaders visited Charleston last summer, toured the Digital Corridor and returned optimistic about similar growth in Beaufort. Two repurposed downtown Charleston buildings provide 30 offices and about 20,000 square feet for startups and intermediate businesses. A third, much larger space is set to open next year.

While Charleston's size and population dwarf Beaufort's, the smaller city's economy is similar to what Charleston faced before the city committed to tech –- many tourism-based jobs and smart people leaving the city, Murray said. Charleston's has been a 15-year effort. Beaufort leaders hope they have a head start by utilizing the brand in place.

Members of the Charleston Digital Corridor would be able to share space in Beaufort, and vice versa.

With a positive reception Tuesday, Murray thinks the Carteret Street building could be open to hosting businesses and tech entrepreneurs by the end of the year. "I'll also say if not this, then what?" Murray said "If folks have other ideas on how we can increase wages and stop the brain drain and capture more transitioning military and help prevent our working folks from leaving, I would love to hear them. But this is one of the best things we've been able to come up with."

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