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UNG gets $1.45 million federal grant to boost entrepreneurship

A $1.45 million grant aimed at boosting entrepreneurship in Hall and five other Northeast Georgia counties has been awarded to the University of North Georgia.

The three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Labor will benefit high school students in Dawson, Fannin, Forsyth, Gilmer, Hall and Lumpkin counties.

The program will expand existing UNG programs offered to area high school students, such as the entrepreneurship competition “InnovateUNG” and “Building Ethical Employability” workshops.

Specifically, the grant will fund the “StartItUp Appalachia” project, which “seeks to accelerate the development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region,” according to a UNG press release Friday, Nov. 20.

The grant “is expected to have an immediate impact on career opportunities for the high school students in these counties, and provide a foundation that will boost the economic development of the region for decades to come," said Bobbi Larson, director of community engagement and economic development at UNG.

According to the release, the project uses three approaches to boost entrepreneurism in the region: youth entrepreneurship education; training for educators, economic development and industry professionals; and development of the local and regional ecosystem.

“Through the grant, UNG seeks to build capacity for schools that don't have the people or the knowledge to provide this kind of instruction,” Larson said. “We're also working to build relationships that make it easier for these programs to continue into the future.”

Sandy Ott, director of UNG's Blue Ridge Campus, said. “Increased business opportunities, employment rate, income per capita, median household income, and other key economic indicators all could rise with the establishment of a sustainable workforce development model in these communities.”

Compiled from by the Gainesville Times from a University of North Georgia press release. See original story here.