Preparing for the implementation of the Johnson-Brown Innovation and Opportunity Center

A cornerstone of the Each 1 Teach 1 Entrepreneurship Institute, the Johnson-Brown Innovation, and Opportunity Center was designed to offer various skills and resources for underrepresented youth in the Horry County area.  


The center will offer different tools, as well as workshops, to encourage academic success and achievement/motivation for young students. This center is in collaboration with CCU’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies.  


The entrepreneurship institute, as well as the center, works closely with the deans of the Wall College of Business and the Spadoni College of Education. According to a CCU press release, these collaborations stem from the generosity of Conway residents T.J. Johnson and Thomas P. Brown, as well as his son and wife, Jessie Campbell Brown and Thomas P. Brown III. Their funding allows for all of the new opportunities and advancements that are now present in our community.  

The Each 1 Teach 1 Entrepreneurship Institute logo, founded by donors Thomas and Jessie Brown. This institute is in work with the new upcoming innovation and opportunity center.

Thomas and Jessie Brown started this initiative 10 years ago with the hope of instilling entrepreneurial ideas and skills in underrepresented children and adolescents. According to  


Matthew Gilbert, director of Each 1 Teach 1, who works closely with the family, said, “They started from humble beginnings, and so they wanted to give others, in similar situations, a hand up… not a hand out.”  


He also said their overall goal is to benefit students and the community, so as far as funding goes, they will help anywhere it’s needed. Additionally, the families behind this movement are extremely involved on campus, attending sporting events and getting to know students as well as the faculty and staff. CCU’s campus serves as an image of what these students’ future can look like, and the kind of things they can achieve one day.  


Some of the things offered by E1T1 and the upcoming center include innovation academies/workshops, access to different tools and resources, and a connection to the community and to college students/faculty. Gilbert, began his position May of 2021, when challenges and hardships caused by COVID-19 interfered with some of their progress. 


“Covid stopped our progress, but not our purpose,” Gilbert said. 


Gilbert, along with the families who help fund the program, look forward to furthering their outreach and benefiting as many people as possible. The new innovation and opportunity center will include even more resources and tools that will be used by the community as needed. They hope to have this center up and running soon, located in the upcoming building beside the Kimbel Library.