By Nicholas Beshiri
After researching entrepreneurial events in Athens, there were many at my disposal. Between the University of Georgia and Four Athens, a local technology startup incubator, there was something almost every day of the week. I had no idea this community was so large until doing research for this class. When I looked over the calendar of events, most of them were just simple meet-and-greets at local bars around town, but one caught my eye. I decided to attend the open house for a new technology start-up in Athens called Hackyard.
Hackyard is described as a non-profit hacker space located in the Four Athens tech incubator in Athens, Ga. The goal of the non-profit is to provide a workshop space for the community as well as teach classes that range from the basics like Intro to Electronics to the more specific Build your own i3 Prusa Rework. Although I have very little knowledge of the subject matter that many of the classes cover, I thought it was a really cool idea for the community. To have a space that is so specialized in these fields could bring an entire new industry to the Athens area.
Like many of the gatherings put on by Four Athens, the open house was a low key event and gave people from the surrounding community the opportunity to come in and explore the space without having to enroll in a class. The space is set up in such a way that anyone one could draw inspiration from it. Although modest, the one large room had everything one would need to build their own computer hardware, including a 3D printer, or learn computer animation. Hackyard also held several computer stations that are used for classes in software development and coding. After walking around the space for a few minutes, I saw a familiar face from my days in film school at UGA.
One of the members of the team, Josh Marsh, was a grad assistant in a few of my undergrad classes at UGA. Marsh’s title on the website reads: Hacker-artist, Hackaday writer, animator, 3D printer and electric vehicle guru. I was excited to see that someone from school had also stayed in Athens and was a part of such a great project. It brought this class into perspective and helped me to see that I could also become a part of a startup similar to Hackyard in the future.
Attending the Hackyard open house was a great experience. It was great see a startup that is still in its infancy and developing. Hackyard will hopefully continue to grow, and with the classes it provides for the community, it has the potential to help develop several other tech startups around town. This event also inspired me to become more involved in these types of events around town. The people who were at the event were extremely friendly and I had similar backgrounds as the attendees. Being able to talk to likeminded people about their different ideas and experiences is a great way to spend a few hours each week. The open house will definitely not be the last event that I attend and I am looking forward to attending one of the “Hackathons” in December to see what hacking is all about.