Advance Point Global, a Hilton Head Island security company headed by state Rep. Andy Patrick, has won a spot in Bluffton's small-business incubator.
The company is the 10th to be accepted into the Don Ryan Center for Innovation, which provides free business advice, mentoring and subsidized office space for startup tech companies at its Buckwalter Place location.
"It looks like a viable company who, as they become successful, can really help the community," said Jordan Berliner, director of the nonprofit incubator, which is supported by the town of Bluffton, Clemson University and private companies. "They're a technology company with good growth potential."
The incubator's goal is to give tech firms a few months to a few years' worth of business help so they can become independent, job-producing, taxpaying companies.
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Berliner stressed that APG was vetted the same way all as other potential incubator companies and was given no special treatment because of Patrick, a Republican House member and former Secret Service agent who is running for the 1st District congressional seat.
Patrick said the new initiative is currently an APG endeavor but could lead to a spin-off company. The plan is to use the incubator's help to develop technology-based solutions for local governments and private companies so they can verify that employees and potential hires are eligible to work in the United States.
Since January 2012, nearly all S.C. employers must ensure their workers are eligible to work in the U.S. -- an effort by S.C. lawmakers to curb illegal immigration. Businesses caught employing illegal workers face a range of penalties, including fines and losing their business licenses.
Patrick's company has worked for Beaufort County, ensuring employers were using legal workers, as well as checking that businesses and county subcontractors were paying business fees.
"So we're using that same concept to build a technology platform to do those checks and get similar results, but do it in a way that is less intrusive," he said.