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Since 1980, the Advanced Technology Development Center at Georgia Tech has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs and their companies put billions of dollars back into the state economy. On Thursday, it showcased experiences and advice from some of those etrepreneurs.

“What we’re about is creating high-tech, high-growth, high-paying jobs,” Jennifer Bonnett, general manager of ATDC, said Thursday during Georgia Tech-Savannah’s Learners and Leaders session at the school’s west Savannah campus. The organization served about 1,600 entrepreneurs in seven locations across the state last year, including Savannah, through education and social programs.

“We’re trying to grow them from scratch instead of spending a lot of money to recruit a company to Georgia,” Bonnett said. The organization guides entrepreneurs with education, coaching and other resources to get their ideas off the ground.

Bonnett, along with Blake Ellis, CEO and founding partner of CommerceV3, and Yvonne Jouffrault, founder at Tour Buddy Apps, gave insight into the local entrepreneurial market. It’s continuing to grow, despite a few hurdles, with the help of ATDC programs and other local organizations, including the Creative Coast.

“My belief is that sometime in the near future most of the jobs around here are going to be self-created…,” added Ellis, who also serves on the board of directors at the Creative Coast.

“There a lot of different factors coming into play and what we’ll see in the future is a situation where many, many more of our citizens will need to understand the basics of how to create their own job.”

For those people in Savannah who have the ideas and drive to create their own path, ATDC offers several resources including intensive startup bootcamps, which are lead by Jouffrault and combine classroom-style training and workshops to ready them for success and any hurdles that they might face.

“… Innovating involves failure and I think people don’t always understand that,” Jouffrault said.

“My company has been in business six or seven years now and we’re constantly going back to our customers and finding out more about why they’re using our product and what’s not working. We’re constantly innovating and asking those questions, we’re never done with that process.”

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