UGA Innovation Springs Forth

December 10, 2020
by Jere W. Morehead, President

The renovation of the Spring Street Building, the site of the historic Town Spring near downtown Athens, is nearing completion—ushering in the next stage of UGA’s Innovation District initiative. When it opens in January 2021, the building will become known as the Innovation Hub, UGA’s front door for industry engagement.

I am grateful to The Delta Air Lines Foundation for generously supporting the Innovation Hub with a $5 million commitment to complete the building’s renovation and to launch the Student Industry Fellows Program, a new experiential learning opportunity that prepares students to collaborate with businesses on research and development. The first course in the Student Industry Fellows program will be held in the Innovation Hub this spring.

UGA has ranked among the top five universities bringing new products to market for six straight years and is quickly developing a reputation for helping startup companies succeed. In FY2020, UGA startups garnered more than $7.3 million in funding to develop their products, a jump of more than 60% from the previous year and more than twice the amount received in FY2018. This type of funding is precisely what most startups need to bridge the divide between innovative ideas and paying customers.

Like the spring that flows beneath the Spring Street Building, the Innovation Hub symbolizes the start of something new. I look forward to the many avenues for economic development that will be created in this unique space through entrepreneurship and collaboration among our faculty, students, and industry partners.