Georgia Southern University’s Business Innovation Group (BIG) has hired Patrick Woock, Ph.D., to lead its efforts in supporting south Georgia entrepreneurs as the unit’s new director of business incubation.
In this newly created position, Woock will be responsible for continuing to grow the footprint that Georgia Southern has already established in the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. He will work in the southeast region through BIG’s Innovation Incubators (I2) and around the state through the Georgia Enterprise Network for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (GENIE) program.
“As someone who has worked in industry and in academia, Patrick is the perfect person to help take our incubator to the next level,” said Dominique Halaby, DPA, associate provost for Innovation at Georgia Southern University.
Woock comes to Georgia Southern with more than 20 years of experience in leading entrepreneurs. He previously served as the director of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) SCORE Business Mentors program in Duluth, Minnesota, and the director of the McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise at the University of St. Thomas in Texas. Additionally, he brings extensive international expertise with 14 years of Asian business development experience.
“I’m excited to join the BIG team, and I am looking forward to implementing an impactful vision that will bring sustainable opportunities for south Georgia’s entrepreneurs,” Woock said.
In the role, Woock will also oversee the operations of the FabLab, the Business Accelerator Program and the Virtual Incubator Program.
As a unit, BIG works to build an ecosystem throughout the state of Georgia to help entrepreneurs create, incubate and accelerate their for-profit business enterprises. In October 2022, the efforts of BIG and its resource partners culminated in Georgia Southern University being selected as one of 51 nationwide grant recipients of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Build to Scale program, wherein the University received $600,000 in grant funding along with $600,000 in local match funds. This was followed by the awarding of a $794,472 EDA grant to scale up the GENIE program, which will connect businesses in 27 underserved locations throughout Georgia with the technical assistance they need to be successful.
With incubators already established in Statesboro and Metter, and a third soon to open in Hinesville, BIG is committed to developing and deploying new technological platforms, innovative programs, quality services and educational events to help meet the needs of area businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators seeking to expand business operations or launch new business enterprises, products and services.