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People in the News

May 11 - Jennifer Bonnett named as SEDA Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Executive Director of The Creative Coast

Category: People in the News

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

May 11, 2018 - The Savannah Economic Development Authority has named Jennifer Bonnett as Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In an accompanying announcement released this week, Bonnett will also serve as Executive Director for The Creative Coast.

At SEDA, Bonnett will be responsible for developing and implementing an aggressive and proactive marketing and business development action plan that attracts creative production, design and technology prospects to Savannah for successful location and operation.

As Executive Director of the Creative Coast, Bonnett will be focused on the Savannah community to help create, grow and keep innovative businesses in Savannah through direct service and programs that support the needs of the companies and encourages an active and thriving ecosystem for entrepreneurs, investors and creative enterprises.

Most recently, Bonnett was with the Georgia Institute of Technology as the general manager of the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC). Based out of Atlanta, ATDC works with more than 2,000 technology startup entrepreneurs each year across Georgia. Founded in 1980, ATDC has grown to become one of the most successful, longest-running and largest university-based startup incubators in the country. While at ATDC, Bonnett spearheaded the development of a recurring year round curriculum and statewide expansion.

“Jen Bonnett has a wealth of experience, connections and in-depth understanding of the creative technologies industries and will be a fantastic asset to this region and the businesses in the creative technology sector,” said SEDA President and CEO Trip Tollison.

“The Creative Coast has a legacy of innovation - from the programming we deliver, the spaces we inhabit, and the leadership that guides us. Jen Bonnett is a proven champion of innovation and understands that growing good technology is not about the tech, but the people,” said Creative Coast Board Chairman Clinton Edminster.

Bonnett is also the founder and Chief Chick for StartupChicks, a non-profit focused on helping female entrepreneurs launch and scale their businesses, and has more than 25 years of experience in the information technology field. Bonnett was CEO of Nexpense, a mobile technology company focused on eliminating expense reporting for small to mid-sized businesses through the use of mobile devices, business rules and automation. Nexpense was acquired in July 2012.

She was also the Vice President of Technology for Seacoast Synergy and the Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of eTour.com. In 1999, eTour.com was named the “Most Addictive” site on the web and the “coolest tool site” of the year by Cool Site of the Day. eTour.com was acquired by Ask Jeeves in May 2001.

"I have been an advocate and friend of the Savannah Startup / Creative Technologies ecosystem in my role at ATDC for the last few years,” said Bonnett. With the recent successes of Geekend, the Global Game Jam, #MadeInSAV, and the SCAD Plus program, I am thrilled to come home and focus on helping this burgeoning creative technology community get to the next level."

SEDA also announced the departure of Creative Technologies Project Manager Patrick Bentley. Bentley, who has been with SEDA since August 2015, has relocated with his family to Bahrain.

“I would like to thank Patrick for his time at SEDA. He laid a great foundation for Jen to build upon. We wish him the best of luck,” said Tollison.

Bonnett will begin her new positions on June 18.

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