Bluffton sets up nonprofit to guide start-up incubator

A new nonprofit created by Bluffton Town Council on Tuesday will oversee an incubator for start-up technology companies.

The incubator is a partnership between the town and Clemson University. It will be housed in donated office space at CareCore National's headquarters in Buckwalter Place.

The project aims to mentor small companies with the goal of creating new products, services and jobs.

The nonprofit, called the Bluffton Technology Incubator Corporation, Inc., will be responsible for recruiting the start-up companies and helping them develop.

It will have a board of seven directors appointed by the town to staggered terms. Mayor Lisa Sulka will be a voting member of the board, while town manager Anthony Barrett will serve ex officio as a nonvoting member.

The town has committed $50,000 over three years to help fund the project. It also will hire a consultant with a salary in the range of $65,000 plus benefits, Barrett said.

Sulka said the nonprofit will be able to collect donations that could underwrite the entire project, and she noted that investors interested in the incubator have called the town to find out how to give money and support but were waiting for the town to establish a way for them to do so. She did not name specific investors.

"Large medical companies have been very interested in this innovation center, because they could benefit from the companies that come out of it," Sulka said. "They just wanted to see that we were moving forward with it."Town council will vote on bylaws at its November meeting and will discuss appointments to the board during the next month, Sulka said.

Council members discussed potential board members in executive session, but no formal votes were taken.

Follow reporter Allison Stice at twitter.com/BlufftonBlogIP.

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