Don Ryan Center offers free membership for limited time

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As part of the Small Business Economic Resiliency Plan approved by the Bluffton Town Council in April, the Don Ryan Center for Innovation (DRCI) is expanding its mission, and taking on an important role in helping to assist small businesses through the economic challenges produced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Don Ryan Center, founded in 2012 as a not-for-profit organization, provides the business community with the space, resources, experienced guidance and contacts in order to successfully launch and grow their businesses.

The Center has been appointed by the Town of Bluffton as the DRCI Small Business Concierge. In this expanded new role, the DRCI will be working to help local businesses respond to the business disruption being faced today, and provide them with the resources they need to help them plan for recovery - including a free annual DRCI membership and free rent at The HUB - the soon-to-open new home of the Don Ryan Center for Innovation.

The HUB will offer flex space and a wide range of business-building services, including gigabit high-speed internet, and will serve as the center for innovation and economic development in Beaufort County.

Beginning immediately, the DRCI Small Business Concierge offers local businesses:

• Waived DRCI membership fee for 12 months for the more than 3400 companies with a Bluffton business license, as well as all businesses in Beaufort County, during the pandemic-recovery phase

• Waived cost of rent at The HUB at Buckwalter Place for 12 months.

• Pro bono assistance to help businesses navigate through legal questions and parameters facing businesses today (through partnership with local legal resources).

• Walk-in local clinic for local businesses.

• Assistance in helping businesses prioritize, reshape, communicate and maximize governmental policies and programs in preparing for the new normal of business.

In addition, the Don Ryan Center and the Beaufort County Economic Development Corporation have created a comprehensive COVID-19 resource guide, providing business owners with explanations of federal and local programs such as the CARES Act, SBA programs and S.C. Department of Workforce programs. The resource guide can be downloaded at donryancenter.com.

"This is an unprecedented time for local businesses, and the Town of Bluffton's Small Business Economic Resiliency Plan provides businesses throughout the region with a number of key components to help them recover and rebound at this critical time for their business," said Mike Levine, CEO of the Don Ryan Center.

For more information about the Don Ryan Center for Innovation and the resources now available to local businesses through the DRCI Small Business Concierge, including free membership, free flex space and business resources at The HUB, and to access a copy of the COVID-19 Resource Guide, contact the DRCI at 843-540-0405 or donryaninfo@townofbluffton.com, or visit donryancenter.com.

In addition, to schedule a time to visit and book specific time at The HUB, visit members.donryancenter.com to sign up and confirm your spot.

Created in 2012, the DRCI has graduated more than 35 companies from the formal incubator program and mentored many more. Graduate companies have created more than 100 jobs and generated more than $5 million in annual payroll as well as more than $30 million in annual revenue.

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