MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The HTC Aspire Hub, located in the heart of Myrtle Beach’s Arts and Innovation District, is days away from its grand opening.
As technology continues to shape society, the Hub was created to support local entrepreneurs wanting to invest in their technological ideas.
Leaders at the Hub said it’s a key investment that could greatly diversify the job market on the Grand Strand. Coders, programmers and digital marketers are just a few of what Barb Royal likes to call visionaries who could thrive in the space.
The tech incubator is a collaborative effort from HTC, the city of Myrtle Beach, and eMYRge, a non-profit organization that runs operations at the hub.
“We are bringing in businesses that are scalable,” said Barb Royal, executive director of eMYRge. “Ones that start in Myrtle Beach and can have the potential to scale all over the country all over the globe.”
Entrepreneurs will soon be able to take advantage of resources at the Hub by renting a desk or pods, but some are already leaving their mark.
Myrtle Beach native Ray Antonino, the co-founder of permits.com, said he left the area to find better resources to expand his business.
“It’s kind of nice to come back around and be in a place where our business is up and thriving,” Antonino said, describing his business as one that simplifies and expedites permits for construction contractors across the country.
While running his business out of the Hub, he also supports aspiring entrepreneurs.
“The real purpose is to help the entrepreneurs who are local to get connected with folks that can help them accelerate their companies,” Antonino said.
Royal said Myrtle Beach has more to offer than hospitality and that the HTC Aspire Hub is the key to diversifying the city.
“There’s a lot of tech going on in Myrtle Beach that not everybody knows about,” Royal said. “But I think that’s what’s so great about this space is that we can be a beacon for all those people and say ‘hey this is home,’ ” she said.
The HTC Aspire Hub will help entrepreneurs and college students alike. Royal hopes the resources available will keep local college graduates thriving on the Grand Strand instead of going out of state.
Officials with the Hub have already worked with students at Coastal Carolina University and plan to expand partnerships with other local colleges in the future.
“We think it’s very important that we make sure that that’s happening and that people understand at the university level that kids and students understand and young adults understand that we are a resource,” Royal said.
The grand opening of the Hub will be at 11 a.m. on Feb. 17.