We welcomed Patrick Bentley to our meeting this past Wednesday morning. Patrick is the Emerging Industries Project Manager for the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA).
Patrick was born and raised in Savannah. He attended Benedictine Military School and graduated from Morehouse College. He works with technology-based and creative-design companies who are interested in locating to this area. Patrick has himself started a tech-based company, a non-profit aimed at benefitting kids in the community; he is a member of the Metropolitan Rotary Club in Savannah and is the Director of a newly formed StartupGrind, Savannah chapter. His emphasis is on attracting technical companies to Savannah or nearby communities in order to offer opportunities for local people.

Patrick told us that, when new graduates emerge from our colleges, jobs are scarce. There is disappointment and frustration. His job is to encourage tech companies to locate in this area so that opportunities may open up for our college graduates; by the same token, our universities must prepare students for jobs in the tech area. All must use the computer, everything is done online, and the fundamentals of business must also be learned. This involves, among many things, money management, credit, tax, promotional detail, researching a market, and more. The job of SEDA is to assist companies coming into the area in terms of business necessities: location, buildings, personnel, sources of finance, local laws and requirements. SEDA does not itself offer financing or venture capital; its functions are advisory, and Patrick asked us, as current or retired professional business people, to offer input to his endeavor. He offered a challenge to us to assist in any way we can; we have much experience to offer and a more prosperous community benefits us all.