What We Do

The Beaufort Digital Corridor nurtures and promotes technology entrepreneurs. Our BASEcamp facility - located in downtown Beaufort - provides scalable office space for tech startups and coworking desks for remote workers. BDC offers networking opportunities, continuing education, and member-driven programs to help grow the tech economy in the Lowcountry.

Talent

Opportunities Abound
LowcountryWorks Tech Business Directory, Talent Portal, CODEcamp, Game On!, Live Work Mentor

Spaces

Get Working
Work Spaces, Scalable Offices, Coworking Desks, Conference Room, Event and Meeting Space

Community

Peer Networking
TECHconnect, BASEcamp Gallery, Fridays @ the Corridor, Coworking @ the Corridor, Beaufort Free Wi-fi

Capital

Accelerating Growth
Regional Tech Investors, Capital-related Education, Pitch Events, Looking to add to Investors List
STATS

Latest News

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Beaufort Digital Corridor Awarded Relentless Challenge Grant

The Beaufort Digital Corridor has been awarded a $65,000 Relentless Challenge grant from the South Carolina Department of Commerce Office of Innovation. The grant funds projects that focus on fostering the relentless pursuit of transformational ideas, specifically in the areas of entrepreneurship, talent development, and access to capital. The grant requires a dollar-for-dollar match from non-state entities.

The Digital Corridor's project, Technology Product Development Training, is for entrepreneurs with a product idea that has scalable potential. Through immersive experience, they will be able to understand exactly how they will develop their product, what they need to do that and be in a much better position to complete their product in a timely manner. Training will be provided largely by University of South Carolina Beaufort Computer Science faculty and students, as well as the BDC's mentor and professional network.

"Empowering localized efforts for the innovation community is crucial as South Carolina's knowledge economy continues to grow," said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. "Access to capital, talent development, and high-scaling entrepreneurship are key elements for a thriving innovation ecosystem. We look forward to collaborating with each Relentless Challenge project over the coming year."

Interested parties are encouraged to attend an informational seminar open to residents, BDC members, and the public at BASEcamp on Wednesday, Jan. 29 from 6-7pm. Applications will be accepted through Feb. 7 to determine product concepts that have the best commercial potential. "This project creates the environment for accelerated technology development, which speaks to the reason the Beaufort Digital Corridor exists: to help technology entrepreneurs become growing, hiring companies," said BDC Board Chairman Kevin Klingler.

Nate Schaub: The Mind Behind Design

Nate Schaub, now Chief Creative Officer for SmarterChaos, founded MINDFLINT, a full-service strategic marketing and design agency that helps individuals, businesses, and non-profits capture and communicate their best story, connect with the people who need to hear it, and create authentic engagement that produces real, measurable results. Recently, MINDFLINT was acquired by SmarterChaos.com, a digital marketing agency based in Denver. Nate had this to say about the merger:

"We couldn't be more thrilled to lock arms with the incredible team at SmarterChaos. After a decade of 'growing alongside' one another, we finally realized that we could do way more together than separately. Not only do our skills complement one another perfectly, but more importantly than that, our values – the pillars on which we've each built our companies – are in total alignment. I'm truly excited for each of our clients, as well as the ones we haven't even met yet, to experience the benefits of this new partnership."

Where did you grow up and what was life like?

I grew up in Washington State- where I became a huge Seattle Seahawks fan- spent a few years in Nashville, and then settled in Colorado through high school, college, and beyond. I grew up with the Seahawks, who started around the time I was born. I was a faithful fan through the rough times for so many years until they finally broke through and won the Super Bowl. Fast forward to living in Colorado: I was at a Super Bowl party when the Seahawks beat the Broncos, had waited my whole life for that moment, and everybody else at the party was a Broncos fan whose team was just badly beaten. I had a hard time celebrating because I felt so bad for everyone else.

How did you come to be in Beaufort?

We moved to Pittsburgh in 2015 to start a commercial real estate business. I was the creative director with a background in the retail side as a broker. Close friends from our time in Denver moved to Beaufort in 2014 after vacationing here for many years. During our time in Pittsburgh, we took several trips to visit our friends in Beaufort, getting to know the area and their friends, and saw it as almost a second home. With my oldest daughter about to enter high school, we thought about where we wanted to spend the next eight to ten years of our life while our girls went through school.

We decided that Pittsburgh was not it; I was no longer with the company I went there for and nothing was tying us there. We thought about going back to Colorado, and if we didn't do that where else would be on our list. Beaufort was on it because we like the weather- we'd lived in cold climates, and even though we have family in CO, it has grown a lot, real estate prices have gone up considerably, and we decided against it. Since I could work from anywhere, Beaufort ended up being a good fit.

Would you say you have an entrepreneurial drive?

Yes! I was entrepreneurial as a kid- selling snow cones in the front yard or selling candy that I had bought from Sam's Club out of a wagon. The first business I had was in junior high. It was called Vacationer's Lawn Mowing Service, and that was my niche, which turned into a bigger business my friend Jimmy and I ran during the summers in Nashville.

What was your first job, or most memorable early job? What did you learn from it?

I think I learned more from the businesses I started- and that's why I've challenged my girls to start their own business, even if it's small like babysitting or lawn care. It taught me the fundamentals of going out and marketing yourself. I remember hand-drawing a flyer, making copies, and then pounding the pavement going door to door- not just sticking the flyer in the mailbox, but having real conversations with people. That's probably what I learned the most- having to talk to an adult, which is difficult as a junior high kid. I struggle with that with my own kids, getting them out of their shell to have a conversation. And then just the basics of following through, doing a good job, how to get repeat business, how to schedule your time.

What does your company do and what drew you to it?

Mindflint historically has been a creative agency. We help companies capture and communicate their best story. Everybody has a story, whether they are a nonprofit or for profit, small or large, an individual or a big business. With all the white noise out there, being able to capture the essence of your story and communicate that to the people you're trying to reach differentiates you in the marketplace if you can compel your target audience to take some sort of action. That's the ultimate goal of marketing: action. Engagement is difficult. Being able to work alongside a client and creatively tell the same story across whatever touch point your audience has gives the customer a consistent experience, something small businesses don't do too well.

What drew you to this type of work and inspired you to start this company?

I was an English major doing creative writing and poetry in college. My first job out of college was at a nonprofit as the website editor. I edited content and was given the latitude by my boss to start teaching myself photoshop. I started doing tutorials on my own and built a little website using Front Page for my then-girlfriend, Shanea (now my wife!), for our one-year anniversary. It was about the dates that we had during our first year together. It was a natural extension of the creativity I was always drawn to as a writer to build that bridge over not only communicating stories in writing or verbally, but on the page as well. I discovered a talent for graphic design, which morphed over time to building websites and doing more print and other types of design, eventually bringing in people who have more experience and classical training in some of those areas.

How would you describe the company culture?

What we focus on is service more than anything. We talk about "having heart"- we genuinely put other people and their interests first, including each other as well as our clients. This leads to us taking on projects that don't necessarily pay the most, but that we engage with- both with the client and with their story at a much deeper level. We've stayed away from marketing things that we are not passionate about or that we have ethical qualms with. Life's too short to waste time selling certain things. We come across as authentic and trustworthy- we do what we say we do. We want to be a partner and grow into an extension of that person's team.

What is your marketing style? Why is that your approach? Has it changed over time?

It has changed over time. I'm a perfectionist and I like things to be a certain way, so by nature I tend to hold myself to a really high standard. Over the years I have learned to surround myself with people who are very capable, with niche expertise that I don't have, and release them to work their magic. I've learned to step back, keeping a gentle hand on the rudder giving them enough room to succeed and fail, thrive and grow. We are a virtual agency and I have to be hands-off as they work directly with clients, empowering them to do what they are good at. Two of the main people I work with, Cortney and Jennifer, have been with us for many years. We brought in a student intern for the summer, which was a new challenge for me. It was great- Prathamesh, a computer science student at USCB, is very driven. I give him a general sense of direction and he is a good critical thinker and self-starter; we continue to give him project work.

What lessons have you learned from bosses?

I've never had a micro-manager as a boss. I need to have room to roam. I worked for a solid year for a software company in Pittsburgh as Director of Marketing, and the CEO that I reported directly to was very much that type of leader- kind of the way I lead my team. Let's touch base, let's talk big picture strategy but I'm going to let you go do what you do and keep me abreast of where you're headed so we can make sure we're moving in the same direction.

What's the hardest or most important lesson you've learned in business?

Learning how to say "no" because I'm very much a people pleaser. I've had instances where I had a gut sense that we should not take on this project at this time or at this level. With up-front honest conversations and due diligence on both sides we really do enter into a project as a partnership. If either one of us are not happy with this, how do we establish expectations that will be beneficial to both parties? Honesty, transparency, and a willingness to say "no" or "wait" in certain circumstances.

What is a misconception about being an entrepreneur?

Sometimes people only see the upside, such as flexibility, or no cap on earning potential, but may not ask deep enough questions that miss all of the seed that you have to put in the ground to create that harvest. There have been many times that I thought I might rather have a day-job with decent health insurance and a consistent paycheck.

Do you have a morning routine? How do you start and end your day?

I set my alarm early although I would not characterize myself as a morning person. My first 15-20 minutes I read the Bible according to a structured plan for the year. It's life-giving and the right way to start my day when it's consistent, quality, and quiet before the family gets up. Then the girls start getting up and I make lunches, or breakfast as my wife gets ready for work. Everything else is kid-related until my own workday starts.

What obstacles have you faced building your business?

The biggest obstacle I wrestle with is scalability. With a service business, you want to continue to provide a certain level of quality and customer experience. If the trust and authenticity start to deteriorate, your brand suffers as a result. Ours is a people-business so in order to scale, I need people who do things at the quality level that we've built our reputation around. Finding those people and delivering that level of service as we work virtually can be hard because of the complexity of the work, the number of tasks associated with any one project, and the communication surrounding that. As it grows outward, there's a tendency for things to fall through the cracks so you have to be detail oriented. The quality of the work can suffer, so learning how to scale while still maintaining all of that has been hard.

What advice would you give an aspiring entrepreneur?

Surround yourself with really good people. Don't think you have to figure it all out on your own; lean on people who have experience that you don't have. Ask a lot of questions and create relationships with mentors. There are people who would love to serve and help an up and coming entrepreneur- whether it's a structured organization like Martin Goodman with the SBDC, or a mentor network like we have here at the BDC.

I always went out of my way to meet people who had been successful in business. Years ago, I invited a guy in my church to breakfast and that ended up striking up a long-term relationship that has dramatically impacted my family, my career, and me personally. Go out of your way, step out of your comfort zone and foster those types of relationships.

What do you see as the future of your company?

I see an upward swing for us in 2020. With our recent acquisition by Smarter Chaos, being able to leverage their team's expertise will allow me to step back and focus on the things I am good at, adding more value to the company. Offloading some of the things I've had to do as the sole owner will help us get to where we want to go faster. I think we'll see a significant shift in terms of the size of projects we are able to take on, the amount we can do at any one time, plugging in new capabilities with our current clients with more support on all levels. We're trying to broaden our base here, working with interns or designers locally, hopefully providing more steady work.

Are you a Mac or a PC? iPhone or Android?

Mac. iPhone.

What's a book you always recommend?

Currently, I'm reading books in the personal and spiritual development genre: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, who is a hero of mine, and The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer has been fundamental in my life.

What is your usual Starbucks (or other restaurant/pub) order?

I usually just get black coffee, but I'm much more of a beer nerd. I'm definitely excited about the new Salt Marsh brewery coming to Port Royal. I'm also part of a group of guys in Battery Point that brew our own beer. I always ask about the best local IPA. In terms of food, Old Bull: a pizza and an IPA.

Outside of work what keeps you busy?

Family and friends. We have an active neighborhood community. We had thirty people at our house for the Super Bowl with the game on the projector, the screened porch open, and lots of kids running around. We love the climate and lifestyle here, and we often can be found with other families out in the neighborhood. We enjoy kayaking and anything associated with the water and outdoors.

LowcountryWorks Revitalized

The Beaufort Digital Corridor and the Don Ryan Center for Innovation are pleased to announce the collaborative deployment of the updated LowcountryWorksTM portal, a SaaS offering that was initially launched as a locally curated showcase of targeted companies operating in the Beaufort County region, including the City of Beaufort and Towns of Bluffton, Hilton Head, and Port Royal.

Recognizing that the competition for scarce technical talent is becoming increasingly challenging, LowcountryWorks has evolved beyond the original showcase of targeted companies by giving regional tech and tech-related companies an additional and efficient means to promote their job openings while allowing career seekers from inside and outside the region to share their talent profiles with potential employers in the region.

LowcountryWorks has also become more interactive by allowing visitors to sign up for updates when companies, jobs, and talent profiles are added to the portal.

"LowcountryWorks is a crucial resource for Beaufort County and beyond, contributing positively to the growing body of collaborative teams in the region working to diversify our economy as we see more and more technology companies coming our way," according to John O'Toole, Executive Director, Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation.

Development of the updated LowcountryWorks portal is made possible by an ongoing partnership in the region with our mutual friends at the Charleston Digital Corridor.

CODEcamp Beaufort Spring 2020

The Beaufort Digital Corridor brings something fresh to the Spring 2020 class of CODEcamp – Beginning Mobile Development, a brand new addition to the CODEcamp roster. Registration is open now for this limited seating opportunity.

The eight-week course takes place on Saturdays from 10:00am-1:00pm at the Corridor's BASEcamp facility starting March 28, 2020 and runs through May 16. CODEcamp is a project-based, code education program designed for busy adults of all experience levels in a convenient, affordable guided class format.

We are pleased to see the return of instructor Matt Shaw, senior software engineer, whose professional focus is mobile development. Matt was inspired to create the curriculum for the new CODEcamp offering after teaching two seasons of Intro to Web Development. Students will learn the basics of mobile development using React Native, an open-source mobile application framework created by Facebook that can be used for both Android and iOS.

The class is for beginners, so anyone who is curious about what it takes to create a mobile app can join. However, former CODEcamp students may have a leg up because they already have been introduced to coding languages including JavaScript. The practical application of what is learned in the CODEcamp courses can be used right away.

The Corridor is seeking sponsors to help offset some costs for the program in order to continue offering classes at least twice a year in a format that remains affordable for students.

BASEcamp Gallery Spring 2020: This is Beaufort

Beaufort Digital Corridor is pleased to present This is Beaufort: Photography by Phil Heim and Clay Goodwin for the BASEcamp Gallery Spring 2020 exhibit that will display throughout March, April, and May.

Two self-taught photographers, two different perspectives on the Lowcountry. Join us as we open BASEcamp Gallery to the public on First Friday, March 6, 2020 to celebrate the work of these artists and see for a moment through their respective lenses. Doors open 5:00-7:00pm at BASEcamp – 500 Carteret Street, halfway between USCB Center for the Arts/Sea Islands Center Gallery and the downtown galleries.

Phil Heim was always interested in the art, starting with his first camera- a Bazooka Joe palm sized mini camera that took B&W photos. Just before retiring from the Marines, he decided to take a deeper dive into photography using a digital camera. He then practiced digital photography for a year before he jumped to professional level equipment. Developing his own unique style with both vibrant color and B&W Lowcountry seascapes, landscapes, and shrimp boat scenes, he started his own gallery, moving to a prime location on Bay Street by 2017.

Clay Goodwin has been a hobbyist for over thirty years and has just begun to document portfolios of some of his favorite Lowcountry subject matter. Whether that be contemporary, fine art, or abstract, Clay's photos give the viewer the grounded perspective of walking paths less traveled- historic signs and abandoned buildings out in the fields or by roadside stands. Though he has shown his work at local festivals, he also is a photographer for hire and does his own editing, printing, original B&W film developing, and print making.

New Membership Level: Sole Proprietor

The Beaufort Digital Corridor now has a Sole Proprietor-level membership for those working in tech and not associated with a company. People who move to Beaufort do so because of its livability, bringing their work with them- work-life balance is key for them. That's why we see so many sole proprietors, remote workers, and consultants- they enjoy the freedom of their profession and rely on their own business and time management.

If you are a sole proprietor, consultant, or remote worker in a tech-related field, we invite you to connect with us and enjoy some of the benefits, at the very least plugging in to a relevant, forward-thinking community at a level that makes sense.

Solo workers can benefit from the tech ecosystem the Digital Corridor offers. This could include generating work locally or growing your venture. Even keeping things small, simple and sustainable as a one-person operation can benefit from idea exchange.

Member tech companies may benefit from services that sole proprietors offer as well as the potential for collaboration with particular expertise. And finally, both benefit from like-minded focus, professionalism, and the sharing of best practices while enjoying the living in this incredible place.

Click HERE to join.

Sit on these painted benches, and learn more about Beaufort

Residents and visitors to the City of Beaufort may notice new painted benches dotted around downtown, offering a respite for people who want to sit for a few moments.

The benches were placed last week in six locations throughout downtown, and will be viewed by members of the South Carolina Arts Commission, who are visiting Beaufort on Jan. 23 and will meet with the artists who painted the benches. The Arts Commission will be in town to hold a workshop for the public as part of its Canvass of the People 2020 tour, and has added the bench tour to its visit.

The bench project, which is under the auspices of the Beaufort Cultural Arts District Board (CDAB), began about a year-and-a-half-ago. Robb Wells, President and CEO of the Greater Beaufort & Port Royal Convention & Visitors Bureau and at the time a member of the CDAB, said that visitors to Beaufort indicated in surveys that the City did not offer enough seating downtown to allow them to sit and "take it all in."

"The CDAB wanted to create a solution that would foster collaboration, offers local artists visibility, and provide the seating that people said they wanted," said Rhonda Carey, a member of the CDAB and downtown events coordinator for the City.

The collaboration began with LowCountry Habitat for Humanity, whose carpenters built each 4-foot long bench. "This served as the 'canvas' for each artist," Carey said.

Six partner organizations were asked to work with their artists to create a design that would reflect their organization's mission, identity, and place in the community, Carey said. Various materials were used, including oil paint, acrylic, spray paint, and digital artwork. The project was funded by the CDAB and each of the participating organizations.

Artist Omar Patterson's "Low Country Dreaming" evokes iconic images of the Low Country – sunset, palm trees, and marsh grass – along with historically significant African-American figures – Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Beaufort's legendary Robert Smalls. Patterson wanted his bench, sponsored by the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce and situated outside that building, to have "images that were significant to Beaufort's African-Americans."

"It took me about three weeks to paint the bench," he said. "I enjoyed every minute of it. It's such a blessing to be part of something so great and historic, and to capture the spirit of the Low Country."

Linda Silk Sviland painted Habitat's bench, using the organization's blue and green colors to show a blueprint of a home and the actual finished home. The words "these are my plans for Saturday" are painted over the blueprint – a tagline that Habitat sometimes uses.

"I think it's a wonderful way to make art," she said. "Other cities have done beautiful sculptures, but there is no function other than beauty. This is functional art – it's a terrific way to have the public see art that is useful."

Where you can find each bench:

Sponsor: Beaufort Digital Corridor
Artists: Jess O'Brien, Nate Schaub, Aaron Miller, Shawn Hill, Shelley Barratt, Brian Canada
Theme: Plug in
Location: Corner of Carteret and North streets

Sponsor: Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce
Artist: Omar Patterson
Theme: Low Country Dreaming
Location: Corner of Bladen and Duke streets

Sponsor: Lowcountry Habitat for Humanity
Artist: Linda Silk Sviland
Theme: Seeking to put God's love into action
Location: Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park

Sponsor: National Reconstruction Era National Park
Artist: Ginger Noah Wareham
Theme: United when the impossible suddenly became possible
Location: Corner of Craven and Scott streets

Sponsor: Santa Elena History Center
Artists: Frank Anson, Tom Van Steenbergh, Sandy Dimke, Lynne Darling
Theme: Beaufort's earliest history and heritage
Location: Courtyard at Bay and Bladen streets

Sponsor: University of South Carolina Beaufort
Artists: Mary Ann Ford and John Rodriguez; master builder Greg Rawls
Theme: Beaufort College – Rich Heritage of Education
Location: Entrance to Center for the Arts

More photos HERE.

Upcoming Events

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Free CARES ACT Webinar from Office of Innovation

Department of Commerce Office of Innovation will be moderating a free webinar Thursday, April 9 at noon [Register HERE] specifically for startups and self-employed individuals attempting to navigate the CARES Act. The webinar will be hosted by Jackson Lewis Attorney John Connell.

There has been an abundance of these types of webinars, but not many targeting very small businesses or independent contractors. These groups are especially struggling to submit PPP loans and gain advice for first steps, so we'll direct the conversation accordingly.

Scribble: South Carolina Innovation Hub

South Carolina Department of Commerce

Don Ryan Innovation Zoom Session: Cash Flow 101

You need to understand the impact of reduced sales on your cash, what your cash flow will look like in the next 3, 6, 12-months, and how you can impact your cash quickly. Learn more and register HERE.

Get the incremental steps to take control of your cash flow in the short-term and strategic methods to keep your business healthy throughout and after this crisis, including:

  1. How to determine how much cash you should have in reserves
  2. The three types of cash flow and how they appear on a Statement of Cash Flows
  3. How to forecast cash flow and why it's important. An Excel template will be provided as a takeaway.

3Phase Webinars & Virtual Office Hours

3Phase is introducing a series of new webinars and virtual office hours. The webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, April 15, 2020 at 10:00am. Learn more and register HERE.

This first event is broad in topic to provide a general overview. 3Phase is more than willing to do specialized events, catered to your particular audience.