Tracey Tillman at January 9 BIG Cafe
Tracey Tillman, owner of The Defending Force, makes his presentation at the first BIG Cafe of 2023 Credit: Chase Amoroso

Georgia Southern’s Business Innovation Group (BIG) held its first BIG Cafe of the year on Wednesday, January 11.

These sessions hosted by BIG provide a space to facilitate and help local entrepreneurs learn and grow while sharing coffee and food. The event begins with short presentations, followed up by questions from the audience. This gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to receive feedback and to get and refresh their ideas.

Attendees of the cafe offer feedback and new ideas for presenting entrepreneurs (Photo: Chase Amoroso)

“This is a chance to network and to learn something new,” said Catherine Blake, Accelerator Manager at the BIG. “It’s a great opportunity to build up our ecosystem. Because an ecosystem is nothing without its people. It’s nothing without connections.”

Local entrepreneur Tracey Tillman, owner and operator of the faith-based security service, The Defending Force, attended the event and said he gained valuable information from the meeting.

Catherine Blake and Tracey Tillman (Photo: Chase Amoroso)

“The big benefit I got from coming was the feedback I got from the crowd,” said Tillman. “They asked some questions and gave some proposals that I hadn’t thought about. I’m here to learn and grow as a business, so it was great to have that information from people who live in the area.”

The Cafe is scheduled on the second Wednesday of each month, opening at 8:30 a.m. and ending at roughly 11. Current and future entrepreneurs, students, and anyone who is interested in gaining knowledge regarding business innovation and networking information are welcome to attend.

“Every single person brings with them a portfolio of contacts of experts with great advice,” said Blake. “At the end of the day, this [event] is in the spirit of helping others, and helping the community; that’s why we are here.”

The next BIG Cafe will be held on Feb. 8 at the Business Innovation Group location on East Main St. in downtown Statesboro.

For more information visit the BIG group on Facebook or email

The BIG Cafe offers a chance for entrepreneurs to collaborate and learn from each other each month (Photo: Chase Amoroso)
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Chase Amoroso is a Georgia Southern graduate originally from Long Island, NY. He majored in multimedia journalism with a minor in biology. He is a freelance writer and has a special interest in covering...