Bluffton incubator adds 2 new businesses

gmartin@islandpacket.comAugust 27, 2012 

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The Don Ryan Center for Innovation is set to add the eighth and ninth partners to its stable of entrepreneurs, the town of Bluffton announced Monday.

The center, a public-private program that tries to help new technology companies form and develop, credited its resources and affiliation with Clemson University as the key to attracting the ISS Group, a software firm that soon will relocate its headquarters from New Jersey to Bluffton.

The center's other new client is BottlesUp Glass, a Bluffton business producing water bottles made of recycled materials.

Center director Jordan Berliner said the newest additions indicate the town's reputation as a hub for entrepreneurship is growing.

"It shows that the center can be a useful component in Bluffton's overall economic development, and it is one more way of demonstrating that Bluffton is open for business," he said.

He added it was too early to tell how many jobs the ISS Group's move could bring to the area or where its new headquarters would be.

The company offers software and technology assistance to businesses, according to its website.

BottlesUp owner Laurel Herter said she first learned of the center's benefits while speaking with Louise Hodges, owner of pest control business Greenbug, another Ryan center client.

She said the $200 monthly fee to join the center is a good investment.

"We're looking for new local investors and think the business expertise they seem to offer will help," she said. "They will be reviewing our business plan, and it's always good to have fresh eyes."

Herter added that the center's Buckwalter Place office is a "really nice facility," and she was impressed by its meeting space.

The new companies join Greenbug All Natural Products, Surface Scientifics, Jester Communications, Nutrifusion, Globepac, a financial services company and a gaming electronics company as clients.

The center is supported by the town of Bluffton, Clemson University, CareCore National and Buckwalter Tech Park, along with private sponsors that include St. Joseph's/Candler Health System, Nexsen Pruet law firm, Regions Bank, Hargray Communications and the McNair Law Firm.

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