Lucas Center Earns Top 5 Spot Globally for Idea Accelerator Bootcamp

July 20, 2023
By: Tiffany King

The Art & Lindee Lucas Center for Entrepreneurship at the College of Coastal Georgia was established in March 2022, and within a year, was named one of the top five initiatives globally for community engagement and promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in entrepreneurship programming. The Lucas Center was recognized by the Accrediting Council for Entrepreneurial and Engaged Universities (ACEEU) for its Idea Accelerator Bootcamp program that helps entrepreneurs go “from idea to startup in just one day.”

The ACEEU is an international organization specializing in acknowledging and fostering entrepreneurial and engaged potential of universities on institutional and divisional levels. The ACEEU hosted the Triple E Awards, a global recognition of efforts toward the quest for entrepreneurship and engagement in higher education. The Idea Accelerator Bootcamp earned fifth place for the EDI Community Engagement Initiative of the Year category.

“I was ecstatic when I learned that the Idea Bootcamp made the top five, and surprised that a global organization would recognize such a young entrepreneurship center,” said Ande Noktes, executive director of the Art & Lindee Lucas Center for Entrepreneurship. “Our team wasn’t as surprised though, because we’ve all worked so hard to create a program that really serves the needs of our community.”

The Bootcamp is a one-day program for aspiring entrepreneurs. Participants start the morning with just an idea, and leave in the afternoon with a startup plan to bring their idea to life. A day at the Bootcamp involves reflection and self-assessment, problem solving, structuring a business model, applying the basics of marketing, an overview of financials, and more. The age range of Bootcamp varies from 17 to 77, and so far, 42 percent have launched their businesses, 78 percent are women, 69 percent are people of color, and 61 percent of businesses are earning revenue within the first year.

The Lucas Center plans to expand the Bootcamp to other communities across the region, focusing on areas with large rural populations. This past spring, a Bootcamp was held in Darien. Future plans also include adding more open seats to the ACCELER8 program, which supports existing businesses in reaching their growth goals within eight weeks of classes. At the end of the program, business owners will have an opportunity to pitch their business for grant and investor funds.

“We’re also excited to have our second Lucas Challenge Business Pitch Competition on campus this fall,” Noktes said, “and look forward to seeing the creative problem solving of our students!”

To learn more about the Lucas Center and its programs, visit