Andrew Dollar, with Athens State University, spoke to Athens Rotarians regarding his research, findings, and plan for an entrepreneurial ecosystem building in downtown Athens. 
Dollar started his presentation by showcasing the State of Entrepreneurship throughout the nation, state, and local levels. Dollar determined an incubator in Athens has the potential to contribute positively to the local economic climate by driving innovation and entrepreneurial activity.  However, its success or failure will largely depend on the involvement of local entrepreneurs - an ecosystem the city is unfamiliar with. Dollar conducted several surveys and over a dozen hours of interviews with local entrepreneurs and small business owners. 
Dollar used his research findings to apply and recently received a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission which was matched by Athens State University. The focus of the grant funds will be used to build an innovative ecosystem to support entrepreneurship and small business development in downtown Athens at the Center for Lifelong Learning on Marion Street. 
Goals for LaunchBox
  • Establish a collaborative workspace
  • Large tables, sofas, reserved desks, rented offices
  • Create an after-hours professional networking culture
  • Roundtable discussions, industry night, pitch night
  • Provide business development assistance
  • Professional development, technical assistance
  • Deliver community education programming
  • Hackathon, lunch & learns
The goal is to have LaunchBox open by October 2022. 
How can Athens Rotarians help this project? 
  • Mentors
  • Professional services
  • Time & expertise
  • Space
  • Support
You can contact Dollar at