The Creative Coast exists to connect, support, and develop creative and technology entrepreneurs to positively impact the economy in the Greater Savannah community. Its vision is that Savannah will be transformed into a vibrant hub for creative and innovative businesses, organizations, and individuals.
Overview of The Creative Coast
The Creative Coast is a 501(c)3 non-profit that was founded in 1997 by the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA), Chatham County, and the City of Savannah to create and foster the creative technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Through its activities, the organization strives to make an economic impact on the Greater Savannah community, the region, and the state by cultivating high-wage, high-tech, and creative jobs.
Today The Creative Coast exists in partnership with SEDA, the City of Savannah, the Advanced Technology Development Center, and the Georgia Southern Business Innovation Group. It hosts more than five different programs, an annual innovation and startup conference, and at least four monthly events to achieve its mission. The organization also offers various online tools and resources to help startup tech founders and tech-enabled businesses.
The Creative Coast’s Programs and Services
The Creative Coast catalyzes the innovation economy in Savannah through the following:
Resources & Tools:
- Membership Workspace – The Creative Coast suite serves as a members-only workspace with a common area, desk space, podcast room, and a board room to work. The organization offers different membership levels to accommodate the varying needs of the community.
- Community Events Calendar – Local entrepreneurial and startup organizations can submit their events (webinars, networking, conferences, etc.) to its calendar for cross-promotion.
- Online Learning – The Creative Coast’s website offers educational podcasts and workshops covering various topics from marketing, to funding, to exit strategy and more on-demand.
- Job Board and Talent Network – Local business and freelance workers can submit job postings, talent profiles and business profiles for display on The Creative Coast’s free job board. The Creative Coast promotes listings to its online network of 35,000+ followers and subscribers.
- News – The News section features original pieces, updates, and announcements from across the Coastal Empire and Low Country’s startup ecosystem.
- Funding Opportunities – The Creative Coast promotes funding opportunities from around the city, state, nation and globe to help startup founders and existing businesses learn about grant opportunities, pitch competitions, state/federal funds and incentives, and more.
- chooseSAV.com – chooseSAV is a brand and website that serves as a relocation guide for companies and individual innovators looking to relocate to Savannah, GA. The website showcases the neighborhoods of Savannah and surrounding communities as well as things to do and where to work, launch, or scale a company in Savannah.
- thecoastalnavigator.com – The Creative Coast launched thecoastalnavigator.com in 2023 to serve as a resource for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs to find educational guidance, funding, workspaces, networking opportunities, talent, and mentorship within the southeastern, coastal startup ecosystem.
- BiG Idea Accelerator – In partnership with the Georgia Southern Business Innovation Group and the Advanced Technology Development Center, The Creative Coast hosts four monthly four-hour sessions focussed on helping entrepreneurs validate a startup idea through customer discovery, build structure for their business, and find funding to launch. Attendees receive expert advice from experienced serial entrepreneurs and a talented pool of business experts, who provide accountability.
- FastPitch – FastPitch is an annual pitch competition for local startups. Founders pitch their innovative endeavors in five minutes each. Winners, who are selected by a panel of judges, receive funding from a prize pool of $10k. They also receive promotions from The Creative Coast.
- Lunchtime Topics – Lunchtime Topics is a monthly, in-person educational program from noon to 1p on various topics relevant to entrepreneurship, technology, and innovation. Topics have covered subjects like SEO, email marketing, finding funding, developing a solid exit strategy, building low-code apps, and more.
- Summer STEAM Sessions – Each summer the Creative Coast teams up with local recreational centers and STEAM specialists to provide lessons in STEAM to rec center campers. This is a part of The Creative Coast’s efforts to build the future innovative workforce and provide high-wage opportunities for Savannah’s youth. Summer STEAM Sessions are free.
- Girls Code Savannah – Girls Code Savannah is a coding academy and camp for girls in 5th to 8th grade. Girls have several opportunities throughout the year to learn entry-level coding and then build on their skills. This is a part of The Creative Coast’s efforts to build the future innovative workforce and provide high-wage opportunities for Savannah’s youth. Girls Code Savannah is a free program.
- Monthly Coffee Hours – These morning events are hosted at local coffee shops in the area to allow entrepreneurs, techies and creatives a place to come together to share ideas, network and enjoy.
- Monthly Evening Networking Events – For those that can’t make it to morning coffee hours, these evening networking events are hosted in various local restaurants or bars in the area to allow entrepreneurs, techies and creatives a place to come together to share ideas, network and enjoy.
- The GRIT Conference – GRIT is a two-day innovation summit during which entrepreneurs, designers, coders, innovators and technology mavericks get together to hear world-class speakers and panelists. This is event is great for networking and learning something new.
- SHE HUSTLES – SHE HUSTLES is a tri-annual evening conference focused on connecting, empowering and educating business leaders and entrepreneurs who happen to be women. The event includes food, a wine bar, a panel discussion, an engaging keynote speaker, and a networking session.
- Tech Tuesday – Tech Tuesday is an event of techSAV and co-hosted by The Creative Coast. It takes place on the second Tuesday of every month from 5:30-7:30pm at a different location around town. The event brings together local techies, tech founders, and various tech workers from product specialists, to digital marketing specialist and more. The tech curious are also welcome to join to learn about working in tech and build relationships in tech.