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Beyond Shark Tank: Myrtle Beach entrepreneurs attend seminar ahead HTC Aspire Hub opening

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 6:34 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Launching a new business requires a few things, including space and money. The city of Myrtle Beach is trying to help its entrepreneurs survive and thrive in the “shark tank” by meeting those needs.

The city and HTC are opening a new aspire hub for entrepreneurs to co-work and make connections. It’s still under construction, but the city believes it will be open by the end of the year.

In the meantime, several dozen entrepreneurs came out for a seminar at the Myrtle Beach Train Depot for a few tips and tricks for getting investors to pick them.

“I’ve been doing air brush temporary tattoos in Myrtle Beach for the past 21 years,” said Entertainment Tats founder Chris Martin.

Martin says things were going well for Entertainment Tats until problems with staffing shortages and COVID-19 started to get in the way the past few years.

He had to get creative, and in the process, he’s reinvented the air brush tattoo experience.

“We’re pursuing automation,” said Martin. “We’ve created a robotic air brush tattoo and face paint experience, and hoping to launch that right here in Myrtle Beach.”

Martin’s dream now is to see the I-TATU robot and kiosk at restaurants, concert venues and sports arenas. In order to make that happen, he’s got to get some investors on board.

“It’s very difficult to find people in the right platform or space to want to invest in a smart kiosk or an automated experience,” said Martin.

Martin and a few dozen other entrepreneurs came out to Beyond Shark Tank to get some tips on how to master the investment step.

The guest speakers, who are investors themselves, shared all the do’s and don’ts for convincing investors to buy in to a product or idea.

“You’re going to find very quickly when you start talking to investors that they have a preferred way to make these investments, and you should probably have a sense of what that is going into it,” said Tim McLoughlin of Cofounders Capital.

The dozens of new start-ups will be able to put those investment strategies to work at the new HTC Aspire Hub on 9th Avenue North in Myrtle Beach.

HTC spent $250,000 renovating a storefront to make a space for new business owners to share contacts, recruit and bounce ideas off each other.

Jennifer Dale has 50 people on stand by for her new animation studio start-up, and she’s hoping the connections at the hub will help her grow that to 200 in the next few years.

“Because of the job growth and working with different young people in this area, I may be using some of their facilities,” said Dale.

While work on the aspire hub wraps up, the city is also working on several other buildings on 9th Avenue North right next door.

Those four store fronts are also available for lease and should be complete within the next few months.

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