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Success, accelerated

You have a great business idea.  We are here to help you succeed.


Success, accelerated

You have a great business idea.  We are here to help you succeed.


Get started

The Don Ryan Center for Innovation is a business incubator charged with growing Bluffton's and the surrounding regions economic base by helping innovative start-up or early stage companies.

 We offer space, resources,  hands-on consulting support, and can link you to business mentorships, technology evaluation, product development services, marketing services, intellectual property research, and seed financing introduction.



Go Team

We build a team of people and resources around you and your idea to ensure that you start fast and stay that way.


Go Team

We build a team of people and resources around you and your idea to ensure that you start fast and stay that way.


The DRCI is a big believer in building a team of talented people around your idea. Our region is blessed with not only beautiful scenery but with a large number of successful business people who want to help our innovators grow.

When you enroll in the DRCI we start building your team. 

Many times the members of the team have experience specific to the industry you are entering.  You will meet with your team at least every other week at a scheduled time to gauge progress and set new goals.  Everything is tracked online so that all team members are always up to date.

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The Program

The Program

Since 2012 we have helped over 96 companies.  Maybe we should be helping you.


Entrepreneurs can propose their idea to the DRCI "pitch pool" for review. A full business plan is not a prerequisite; this is an exploratory process to determine if your idea can be grown through the utilization of our resources.



Upon entering the program, entrepreneurs have access to a range of resources including R&D, market development research, angel funding, creative workspace, and human resources. We are here to support and foster your idea development.  We use BaseCamp to keep all team members on task and informed.


The DRCI is designed for entrepreneurs who anticipate a 12-18 month development cycle. Once we have helped you launch your idea to market, the sky’s the limit.


Our program is not a "cookie-cutter" one in which we treat every company the same.  We work to help you in the areas that you are weak.  Some companies need help in many areas, others need just one.  Below is a list of our most commonly provided services:

  • Business licensing and company formation advice
  • Sales advice
  • Marketing advice
  • Accounting/Financial advice
  • Mentors
  • Funding Introduction
  • Other services as required by innovator
  • Ongoing business/technical consulting
  • Office space & Infrastructure
  • Structured bi-monthly team meetings 
  • 18 month goal planning and execution
  • Business Plan development/execution
  • Social media advice and planning
  • Website advice and development


  1. Be a for-profit business in a high-growth field;
  2. Have a product or service that can be commercialized within a reasonable amount of time;
  3. Be in the early stages of business development;
  4. Demonstrate strong market for products or services;
  5. The company should intend to remain in the region;
  6. Have a basic business overview or a written description of a business;
  7. Have the ability to pay the incubator’s monthly fee;
  8. Agree to meet twice a month with your team to set goals and objectives and to evaluate business conditions.


There's no such thing as one right way to do a startup. You just have to do it—to work as hard and smart as you can to take your company from concept to reality.

It’s not easy, but it is possible.   But you have to be focused.  

If your start up is a "hobby" we are not for you.  

If you are not goal oriented, we are not for you.

If you are not a self starter, we are not for you.

We can help. We are going to build a team of talented people around you.  We are going to help you make it work - but YOU have to be committed.





While the main focus of the DRCI is to help the companies enrolled in the program, we also partner with local organizations to foster the environment of innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.

The South Carolina Department of Commerce and the Office of Innovation is a strong partner of the DRCI.  The Center was awarded an Innovation Challenge Grant in 2015.


We work with the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to teach them about starting their own companies.  SCAD students are not only running companies in the program, but are also engaged with our companies as interns.

We also teach innovation and entrepreneurship with schools in the Beaufort County School District.  Through our programs such as "Virtual Field Trips" and working with the teachers in the Enterprise Design elective.


The Technical College of the Lowcountry (TCL) not only is involved with their entrepreneurship courses but can also be brought in for technical and manufacturing consulting.


We also encourage innovation and entrepreneurship with University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) and draw on their students to be involved in the DRCI.


The Town of Bluffton’s Public Development Corporation is a 501 (c) (3) community driven organization that was established in 2012 by Town Council. The Corporation’s mission is to enhance the business climate for investment and development and attract new business to Bluffton by facilitating and brokering economic and real estate development opportunities


LowcountryWorks™ is a directory and map of known high-knowldge, high-impact companies in Bluffton South Carolina and the surrounding region. Career seekers will find this site especially useful by being able to quickly view the companies that are hiring and directly link to the respective opportunities. 


The Company Showcase, features a simple, comprehensive, and up-to-date listing (and map) of companies operating within the region.  Companies can be quickly filtered by industry or limited to show only those known to be currently hiring.

 LowcountryWorks™ is a part of the Don Ryan Center for Innovation comprehensive talent attraction and development strategy.