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    National Science Foundation awards Georgia Institute of Technology $500,000 grant to further Institute’s commercialization efforts

    Funding to support I-Corps Sites teams formed from Georgia Tech research.

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    Paul Freet is VentureLab’s NSF I-Corps instructor.

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) has named the Georgia Institute of Technology an Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site — and awarded it a $500,000 grant to help Institute-based research teams identify and interview target customer audiences.

     

    The grant, spread over five years, will be managed by Tech’s VentureLab program. VentureLab is Georgia Tech’s incubator that works with Institute faculty, staff, and students to evaluate their research and help them create startups based on those findings.

     

    I-Corps Sites enable academic institutions to catalyze teams whose technology concepts are likely candidates for commercialization. It also provides infrastructure, advice, resources, networking opportunities, training, and funding to help researchers move from idea to commercialization.

     

    At Georgia Tech, the I-Corps Sites grant will support up to 150 research teams — comprised of Institute students, faculty, researchers, or staff — in their efforts to meet with and interview potential customers, said Paul Freet, VentureLab’s NSF I-Corps instructor.

     

    “A key part of the commercialization process is learning from customers— what I-Corps calls customer discovery,” Freet said. “We ask our research teams to search for evidence of product-market-fit and learn if there is a market for the commercialization of their research.”

     

    All I-Corps Sites teams are expected to conduct 20 customer interviews. To help teams accomplish that goal, Georgia Tech teams accepted into the program will be reimbursed with up to $3,000 for travel to visit customers or attend trade shows.

     

    Teams that complete the I-Corps Sites program also will have access to follow-on $50,000 I-Corps Team grants. To date, Georgia Tech researchers have received more than 50 I-Corps Team grants.

     

    "The I-Corps program has been instrumental in helping launch a startup based on my research into advanced materials," said Krista Walton, professor and Robert “Bud” Moeller Faculty Fellow in the Georgia Tech School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. "Early feedback from potential customers was critical in setting the direction of our startup. The I-Corps Sites grant will help get more researchers out of the lab and in front of customers."

     

    About VentureLab:

    Created in 2001 and ranked as the No. 2 university startup incubator in the world, VentureLab is the Georgia Institute of Technology’s incubator whose mission is to collaborate with faculty, staff, and students to create startups based on Tech research. Using evidence-based entrepreneurship, VentureLab —a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Tech’s chief economic development arm — has supported the launch of more than 300 startups. Combined, those startups have raised more than $1.5 billion in investments. For more information, visit venturelab.gatech.edu.

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    Southeastern Trade Adjustment Assistance Center receives $1.3 million in federal funds

    Funding supports international competitiveness.

    Darren Green photo.

    Darren Green, owner of The Old Wood Co., in Asheville, North, Carolina, sought SETAAC's assistance to help his company better compete with low-cost foreign imports. (Photo credit: Travis Bell)

    The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded $13.3 million in federal funds to support 11 Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers (TAACs), including the Southeastern Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (SETAAC) at Georgia Tech, which will receive $1.3 million.

     

    TAACs work to support a wide range of technical, planning, and business recovery projects that help companies and the communities that depend on them adapt to international competition and diversify their economies.

     

    “The Trump administration is working every day to help America’s manufacturers, their workers, and their communities,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement. “This funding is one element of a government-wide effort to restore American jobs and strengthen U.S. manufacturing.”

    Old Wood Co. workers

    Employees of The Old Wood Co. in Asheville, North Carolina work on building a table. (Photo Credit: Travis Bell)

     

    The announced grants are for the second year of a funding cycle that runs from 2016 to 2021.

     

    SETAAC, a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), was established in 1974. In addition to serving Georgia, SETAAC works with companies in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

     

    SETAAC provides up to $75,000 of matching funds for third-party consultants to help guide a client’s economic recovery. Eligible manufacturing firms contribute a matching share to create and implement their respective recovery plan.

     

    In Fiscal Year 2017, SETAAC worked with 45 clients, including Darren Green of The Old Wood Co. in Asheville, North Carolina, and helped those firms generate more than $9.7 million in sales, and help save or create 143 jobs.

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    Gov. Deal announces launch of Georgia Defense Exchange

    Gov. Nathan Deal announced the launch of the Georgia Defense Exchange (GDX), an interactive business development platform designed to assist Georgia businesses in finding new opportunities in Department of Defense (DOD) contracting.

     

    “From the Bell Bomber Plant during WWII to the NSA and U.S. Army Cyber Command in Augusta today, Georgia enterprises enjoy a storied history of fulfilling contracts for national defense,” Deal said. “Last year alone, defense contracts executed in Georgia were valued at $6.4 billion. These contracts provide significant opportunities for Georgia businesses and drive new development in local communities across the state. The GDX platform will allow us to equip companies with the tools they need to be competitive in acquiring DOD contracts while ensuring that this long-standing tradition continues in Georgia.”

     

    GDX offers Georgia’s defense contracting community a one-stop data research and collaboration platform. The platform was designed to support and engage businesses across a wide variety of industry sectors with its rich data visualizations, interactive dashboards, real-time DOD data and business-to-business communication tools. GDX will open new opportunities for both traditionally defense-related businesses and service-oriented companies with no experience in defense contracting.

     

    Lockheed Martin, Meggitt, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman account for some of the largest defense contracts in Georgia. Additionally, more than $3 billion of Georgia’s defense contracts are related to services for facility maintenance, science and engineering, equipment and construction.

     

    To develop GDX, the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) collaborated with The Simple VUE, an Atlanta-based full-service information technology and data analytics consulting firm, and the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC), a federally funded program that helps Georgia businesses identify, compete for, and win government contracts in order to sustain and grow their businesses.

     

    GDEcD and GTPAC began collaborating on the project in September of 2016. A unit of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Georgia Tech's chief economic development arm, GTPAC provided its research data and advised on the creation of an economic development model for the aerospace and defense industries, said Chuck Schadl, EI2's group manager of government contracting services, which includes GTPAC and the Contracting Academy at Georgia Tech.

     

    GTPAC staff also arranged for several Georgia defense contractors to provide focus group feedback on the GDX tool, make suggestions, and comment on its utility.

     

    “We pride ourselves on maintaining the best business environment in the nation, and providing top-notch resources for our citizens,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “GDX levels the playing field, giving small businesses in Georgia the chance to know about and respond to the many defense contracting opportunities that are available. I am confident that all Georgia companies will benefit tremendously from GDX, and that our state will increase its competitive advantage in this sector.”

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    Minority business enterprise manufacturers to meet in Atlanta August 15-16 for second annual National MBE Manufacturers Summit
    Networking MBDA Summit 2016

    Attendees of the inaugural National MBE Manufacturers Summit in Atlanta in 2016 discuss issues affecting minority business enterprises. (FILE PHOTO)

    More than 250 minority business enterprise (MBE) manufacturers from across the country will be in Atlanta August 15 and 16 for the second annual National MBE Manufacturers Summit 2017.

     

    The Summit, which is hosted by the Atlanta Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) Advanced Manufacturing Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Global Learning Center, brings together world-class leaders in manufacturing and is the premier event that brings industry peers together, facilitates networking and procurement opportunities, and highlights innovation.

     

    BMW Group, Enhanced Capital, FORCAM, Grady Health System, Ingersoll Rand, Novant Health, Siemens, and WestRock are Summit sponsors.

     

    Among the highlights for attendees of the 2017 Summit:

    • One-on-one fast pitch meetings with corporations and original equipment manufacturers.
    • Experiencing the most cutting-edge technologies through on-site “innovation pods.”
    • High-level exposure for companies participating in the second annual “Poster Walk Competition.”

     

    Featured speakers include:

     

    “We are building on the success of last year’s inaugural program, and a critical focus of this effort is innovation because it remains a key issue, according to our MBE manufacturers,” said Donna Ennis, Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center director. “Our Summit is designed to facilitate critical one-on-one meetings between our attendees and corporations, as well as provide the opportunity for our MBE attendees to network with one another.”

     

    The Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Georgia Tech’s chief economic development and business outreach arm. A sister program to the Atlanta MBDA Business Center, the Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center was created via a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce MBDA awarded to Georgia Tech in 2016.

     

    One of four such centers across the country, Tech will receive $1.25 million over a five-year period to operate the Center, which is charged with providing targeted assistance to MBE manufacturers. The funding is designed to help identify, screen, promote, and refer MBEs to specialized advanced manufacturing programs, and provide technical and business development services and assist with access to capital, opportunities and markets.

     

    According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Business Owners, the number of minority-owned manufacturers increased 30 percent between 2007 and 2012 to nearly 107,000. These firms generated $80 billion in annual revenue in 2012. More than 25,000 minority manufacturers employ almost 332,000 workers.

    The Summit is an outgrowth of the Atlanta MBDA Business Center’s Connecting Advanced Manufacturing Program (CAMP), which is now the Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center, Ennis said. “The vision behind CAMP and what led to us creating the Summit is to connect MBE manufacturers in the ecosystem to business opportunities, research, innovation, funding, and critical information they need to grow and thrive as businesses,” she said.

     

    To register for the Summit and for more information, please visit mbemanufacturersummit.com.

     

    About the Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center:

    Focused on building a national ecosystem of minority business enterprise (MBE) manufacturers, partners, and stakeholders, the Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center creates expansion opportunities for MBE manufacturers by facilitating their growth through innovation and technology, training and education, as well as advocating inclusiveness with corporate suppliers.

     

    About the Atlanta MBDA Business Center:

    As part of a national network of 42 centers, the Atlanta MBDA Business Center helps minority business enterprises access capital, increase profitability, create jobs, and become sustainable. It is part of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization, and economic development. For more information, please visit mbdabusinesscenter-atlanta.org.

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    Georgia Tech launches $1 million retail technology initiative at ATDC

    Georgia Tech  Tech TowerThe Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Georgia’s technology incubator, is launching a new initiative for entrepreneurs focused on retail-related technology.

    The new program — which comes as the retailing sector faces a torrent of change in consumer behavior — is being funded by a $1 million gift from the Mookerji Foundation to the Georgia Tech Foundation. The new initiative was announced at the 2017 ATDC Startup Showcase.

    The Georgia Tech Foundation, in turn, has earmarked the new funds for the formation of the ATDC Retail Program. Founded in 1980, ATDC is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s chief economic development arm. ATDC is one of the longest running university-affiliated incubators in the United States.

    “We chose Georgia Tech because of its commitment to economic development in Georgia and beyond, its focus on incorporating innovation in economic development, and its legacy of success,” the Mookerji Foundation said in a statement. “ATDC is a world-class technology incubator and is at the forefront of helping entrepreneurs not only build companies, but gives them the tools for long term success.”

    The Atlanta-based Mookerji Foundation is dedicated to nurturing and enabling entrepreneurs in metro Atlanta.

    The gift will fully fund the retail technology startup initiative for the next five years and support a retail technology expert who will serve as an entrepreneur-in-residence to mentor the startups and offer expertise relating to the field of entrepreneurship.

    “The retail landscape has undergone a tumultuous shift in the last few years and retailers — from the national chains and department stores to the mom and pop shops on Main Street — are all looking for innovative technologies that help them remain competitive, stay engaged with their customers, and improve the bottom line,” said Jennifer Bonnett, ATDC’s general manager. “This new focus on retail complements some of our other related focus areas, such as financial technology (FinTech).”

    The U.S. retail sector, which is comprised of more than 3.7 million establishments, supports some 42 million jobs with a $2.6 trillion impact on the economy, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the industry’s chief trade group.

    In Georgia, the retail industry supports 1.2 million jobs, includes more than 120,000 establishments, and adds $75.6 billion a year to the Peach State’s economy, NRF data show.

    “This is a very important segment of the Georgia and national economies and an exciting opportunity for Georgia Tech to make an impact and keep to its economic development mission,” said Maryam Alavi, dean and Stephen P. Zelnak Jr. Chair of Georgia Tech’s Ernest Scheller Jr. College of Business.

    Alavi and other Scheller officials, as well as representatives of Tech’s Office of Development, collaborated on the effort that led to the Mookerji Foundation’s gift.

    The initiative is the second of its kind for ATDC. In March 2015, Worldpay US, a global payments technology and services company, made a $1 million gift to Georgia Tech, which used the funds to launch a FinTech program at ATDC. Since its launch, that effort has reached more than 350 entrepreneurs across the state of Georgia, including 17 FinTech startups in the ATDC Signature and ATDC Accelerate portfolios. To date, those companies in both Signature and Accelerate have raised more than $34 million in outside funding.

    About Georgia Tech

    The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world’s premier research universities. Georgia Tech is a national and international leader in scientific and technological research and education and is the nation’s leading producer of engineers as well as a leading producer of female and minority engineering Ph.D. graduates. Ranked among the top public universities by U.S. News & World Report, the Institute enrolls more than 23,000 students within its six colleges. For additional information, visit gatech.edu.

    About the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)

    The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology, is the state of Georgia’s technology startup incubator. Founded in 1980 by the Georgia General Assembly, which funds it each year, ATDC’s mission is to work with entrepreneurs in Georgia to help them learn, launch, scale, and succeed in the creation of viable, disruptive technology companies. Since its founding, ATDC has grown to become one of the longest running and most successful university-affiliated incubators in the United States, with its graduate startup companies raising nearly $3 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia. For more information, visit atdc.org.

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