As many small business owners know, the early stages of business development can be rigorous. Stephen Nottingham, co-founder of Fren, knew he needed support to guide him along the way as he built his design business. He was referred to the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (UGA SBDC).

Fren is a multidisciplinary design technology and innovation company with a central focus in healthcare and education. The business offers 21 disciplinary design skillsets that are incorporated for a variety of different design services.

Fren works with hospitals and medical facilities to create unique programs and environments so that medical procedures are less intimidating and more easily understood, ultimately allowing patients to have a better overall experience. Examples of their work include therapeutic play spaces, treatment rooms using augmented reality and family waiting underwater theaters.  

“The challenge when they came to the SBDC was getting funding for a business concept that was difficult to understand and had no track record,” said Becky Brownlee, area director at UGA SBDC in Savannah.  “We worked with them to help refine concepts and the business plan and overall strategies to help them grow.”

Since then, Nottingham has added several employees and annual revenue has grown by 400% with each year of operation.

“I knew if I was going to put everything into the development of a business, I needed to guarantee its success. That was by working with the UGA SBDC”

Stephen Nottingham, co-founder, Fren

For More Information: University of Georgia SBDC | (706) 542-2762