After ensuring the successful completion of the $40 million ForeverGold campaign, new Associate Vice President for Development Robert Shippey will lead the operation of the Business Incubator at Brenau University.
Shippey, who was previously director of the campaign and senior director of development, said his responsibilities will continue to include initiatives such as major gifts, procurement of art for Brenau’s esteemed Permanent Art Collection and planned giving.
“But, with the campaign completed, the administration determined that the responsibility would be mine to oversee the transition and provide leadership for the incubator,” Shippey said.
In May, Shippey received his MBA in project management from Brenau, which, combined with his experience in fundraising, he said makes BIBU a natural project for him.
After managing the transition from Lanier Tech, where the incubator functioned as the Manufacturing and Development Center, Shippey now will oversee the infrastructure development, such as new computers, phones and additional technology, as well as examining the existing facilities and determining best use of those spaces. The university is also forming an advisory board, which will work with the College of Business & Communication to see how its faculty and students can contribute to and benefit from BIBU.
“We want to ensure the site provides maximum opportunity for the incubator to grow and the businesses in it to succeed,” Shippey said. “Our goal is to work with startup companies, inventors and entrepreneurs to develop great ideas into sustainable, standalone businesses.”
The key, Shippey said, and as the term “incubator” implies, is not to house businesses indefinitely, but to provide them a space in which to strengthen, grow and, eventually, launch.
The purpose of BIBU is twofold: It functions as a business incubator offering professional and creative guidance and support to startups and small businesses. It will also serve as a virtual and actual laboratory, providing practical business experiences and opportunities for social impact for Brenau MBA students and faculty, as well as those in broader disciplines.
Going forward, Shippey will work with Carroll Turner, executive director of BIBU, whom Shippey credits for building the incubator from the ground up.
“I am so grateful for the leadership Carroll has provided and pleased that he can continue to stay on as executive director,” Shippey said. “He and I are discussing ways that he can tell the story of the incubator and I can tell the story of Brenau and, together, we can provide this first-rate facility that will cultivate small businesses, with the hope that those businesses will launch, work, stay in and invest in the community.”