Beaufort Digital Corridor Brings Tech Hub To Lowcountry

By Stacy Olmos | Share: Posted on

Ian Leslie has lived in the Lowcountry for 15 years, and he's pretty tech savvy.

"We heard the Digital Corridor was coming to Beaufort.... it's very important to me to invest back in the knowledge economy. I think it's important for young professionals to have jobs to stay here for," Leslie said.

Leslie and his business partners signed on as soon as Beaufort Digital Corridor opened its doors less than two weeks ago; and they launched their first mobile app Monday.

"C'reer, its a career matchmaking app available on your iPhone or android device. Uh what it does is it delivers a vocational assessment to high school students, helps them figure out um their personality, what careers are the best match for them and then connects them to the best university or college that places professionals in those careers," Leslie said.

Tech startup like C'reer are exactly what the city of Beaufort had in mind when planning the Digital Corridor.

Beaufort City Councilman Stephen Murray spearheaded the project.

"The council took a very strong focus on economic development about 2 years ago and specifically how do we create more economic opportunity, better jobs, for people who have to work and live here," Murray said. "What this seeks to do is to try to bring a sense of technology community together to give them a formal place to meet on a monthly basis so that synergies and companies and ideas can develop bring folks together."

With funding from the city, Hargray, Beaufort County Council, South Carolina Department of Commerce, and the Municipal Association of South Carolina, they were able to raise nearly a quarter of a million dollars, partner with the Charleston Digital Corridor and make the BASEcamp office space reality in Beaufort.

The BASEcamp hub consists of 10 office spaces, ranging in size from one to six people, and in price from $300 to $800 a month, utilities, fiber optic internet and coffee included.

Murray says it's time to for Beaufort to catch up with the rest of U.S. cities.

"I really think we are at risk of becoming a sleepy little retirement village and I don't think anybody whether its a young professional or a retiree wants that for our community so programs like this in trying to create opportunity for people are really important for who we are and who we want to be in the future."

And while the office spaces are reserved for tech startup companies, everyone in the community can be part of the innovation. Anyone can buy a yearly membership for $99 and get access to Friday networking events and the conference room.

"We'll have monthly Fridays at the corridor and have a guest speaker and we'll alternate topics, so one month, we'll talk about business development and how to grow your business, and the next month will be something on technology and emerging technology trends."

Currently, two offices are rented out. One to Leslie, and the other to University of South Carolina Beaufort computational professor, Brian Canada, who brings in students to work on projects.

See the WSAV-TV news coverage here.