In 2008, Digital Bridges was formed under the Knight Foundation, which granted $1.5 million to Georgia College with the purpose of utilizing technology to empower Baldwin County citizens. By increasing digital literacy within the community, Digital Bridges hopes to assist in developing innovative leadership, according to its website.
Digital Bridges has accomplished its mission by providing computer clinics, website development assistance, social media management and free use of internet and software programs.
Most people in Milledgeville are aware of the variety of technology services Digital Bridges provides, but Digital Bridges may be contributing more to Milledgeville than they think.
Recently, Digital Bridges has shifted its focus from serving technology assistance to further assisting Milledgeville’s economic development.
Through various partnerships with local community projects and committees including Milledgeville Baldwin County’s Chamber of Commerce, the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Development Authority, the Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority and the Georgia Small Business Development Center, Digital Bridges has worked as the liaison between the community leaders and community members.
After gaining relationships with the workforce development committees in Milledgeville, Digital Bridges has slowly transitioned into serving a greater focus on economic and community development.
“We want to move and shake as much of the economy and pick up the pieces that have fallen apart here,” Tommy Cook, Digital Bridges director, said.
Digital Bridges works closely with programs including Business Before Hours, Young Professionals, Partners for Progress, nonprofit organizations and others to engage with organizations who further push for Milledgeville’s economic growth.
“We are trying to shift our model to fit the best of the community,” Cook said.
Digital Bridges users have approached the company seeking services they haven’t provided. Cook says Digital Bridges will help provide services or will help find someone who can.
“We will do almost anything. We try and say no to nothing,” Cook said.
So far, they haven’t said no to anything. Just recently, Digital Bridges introduced a mobile tenant plan for community members. The mobile tenant plan was brought on after Mark Brownlow approached Digital Bridges to use their facility regarding his new business, Need a Nerd.
Need a Nerd works to fix software and hardware issues on electronic gadgets including smart phones, cell phones, tablets, desktops and laptops.
Brownlow reached out to Digital Bridges after he experienced dangerous work environments. Because Brownlow didn’t have a permanent business office, he would make house calls to fix customers’ gadgets. He sought a safer work environment at Digital Bridges where he now has a centralized office for his clients.
A mobile tenant plan allows Digital Bridges to become a co-working space for local entrepreneurs or business owners. The plan charges an affordable fee for unlimited use of Digital Bridges resources, assisting local entrepreneurs’ start-up costs. These resources include printing, Wi-Fi access, computers, software programs, office space and supplies.
Further assisting local businesses, Digital Bridges also provides website development at a rate of $250 to $500 and the Georgia Small Business Development Center services. The Georgia Small Business Development Center is a business consulting firm for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Digital Bridges hosts a space to the SBDC for Milledgeville’s local entrepreneurs.
Cook says Digital Bridges continues to seek “creative and sustainable projects” for the Milledgeville community.