Georgia Tech to Launch Sustainability-Focused Technology Initiative at the Advanced Technology Development Center

Norfolk Southern commits $750,000 to the Institute to support development
of sustainability technology entrepreneurs and startups in Georgia

ATLANTA — Norfolk Southern Corp., one of the nation’s leading transportation companies, is making a significant commitment to Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) to create a new initiative for entrepreneurs in sustainability-focused technology.

Head shot of Josh Raglin
Josh Raglin, Norfolk Southern’s chief  sustainability officer.

The ATDC Sustainability Technology Program will formally launch in January 2023. Atlanta-based Norfolk Southern’s gift will provide the initial funding to support the current and future sustainability-related startups in ATDC’s portfolio.

The gift of $750,000 will support the initiative for three years. It is the eighth industry-focused vertical of its kind at ATDC, including two others announced earlier in 2022 — one in robotics and automation, the other in supply chain logistics.

“Norfolk Southern and Georgia Tech are teaming up to support forward-thinking innovation around sustainability. Together, some of the brightest minds in Georgia and the business community can continue to make sustainable progress for our nation’s supply chain and economy,” said Josh Raglin, chief sustainability officer for Norfolk Southern.

The sponsorship furthers the company’s strategic goal of integrating sustainability into daily operations while helping its customers achieve their sustainability goals. “Through our collaboration with ATDC and the incubator’s sustainability vertical, we will join with students and entrepreneurs in the business of a better planet as they transform their revolutionary ideas into actionable and successful business models,” Raglin said.

The gift will support one-on-one coaching via a dedicated ATDC startup catalyst who will manage the sustainability vertical and work to build the pipeline of innovators from across Georgia who are in this space and scaling disruptive technologies to bring to the marketplace.

The funds also will support a sustainability-focused curriculum and other resources specialized to those entrepreneurs’ needs as they go from ideation to commercialization.

“ATDC has a history of supporting startups with sustainable tech innovations including Suniva, Emergy, and Quest Renewables,” said John Avery, ATDC director.

ATDC’s startup portfolio already includes 12 companies in the sustainability space, but Avery said there is a wider opportunity for Georgia entrepreneurs.

With Norfolk Southern’s sustainability focus, Georgia Tech’s research innovations in that area through centers such as the Strategic Energy Institute, and ATDC’s ability to leverage those resources and its record in scaling successful technology companies, Avery said Georgia is primed to grow that sector.

The state is home to 34 companies on the Fortune 1000 list, many of which have set their own sustainability goals. Fifteen of those companies are headquartered in Atlanta, which ranks third in the country for the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the city.

What’s more, sustainability innovations can have wider impact across a number of industries that are important to Georgia in addition to transportation and logistics, such as agriculture, and renewable energy, Avery said.

“With Norfolk Southern at the forefront of sustainability innovation and its support of our dedicated sustainability vertical at ATDC, we are doubling down on one of the biggest opportunities for startups and innovators today and pursuing a very important corporate and societal goal,” he said. “We can become a hub for all of these sustainability entrepreneurs and their innovations and grow this ecosystem in Georgia by helping to launch viable companies across the state.”

About Norfolk Southern
Since 1827, Norfolk Southern Corporation (NYSE: NSC) and its predecessor companies have safely moved the goods and materials that drive the U.S. economy. Today, it operates a customer-centric and operations-driven freight transportation network. Committed to furthering sustainability, Norfolk Southern helps its customers avoid 15 million tons of yearly carbon emissions by shipping via rail. Its dedicated team members deliver more than 7 million carloads annually, from agriculture to consumer goods, and is the largest rail shipper of auto products and metals in North America. Norfolk Southern also has the most extensive intermodal network in the eastern U.S., serving a majority of the country’s population and manufacturing base, with connections to every major container port on the Atlantic coast as well as the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes. Learn more by visiting www.NorfolkSouthern.com.

About Georgia Tech
The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is a public research university developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its nearly 44,000 students representing 50 states and 149 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society.

About the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)
The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, is the state’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 the longest running and one of the most successful university-affiliated incubators in the United States, with its graduate startup companies raising $3 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia. To learn more, visit atdc.org.

National Institutes of Health Awards MapHabit $2.9M SBIR Grant

ATLANTA — The National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, awarded a $2.9 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Fast Track Phase II Grant to MapHabit, a health technology company that helps memory-impaired individuals and caregivers improve independent function.

The three-year, non-dilutive grant will provide funds for the research and development of a Caregiving Training Program (CTP), which will foster personalized education to family caregivers for optimal person-centered care strategies and train them on equally important self-care techniques, MapHabit said.

Matt Golden, MapHabit CEO

Co-founded in 2018 by Matt Golden and Stuart Zola, MapHabit is a member company in the Advanced Technology Development Center’s (ATDC) Signature portfolio of startups. Its interactive, habit-building, education and cognitive engagement platform uses an integrated, visual mapping system to improve the quality of life for individuals who need additional cognitive support.

Including this award, MapHabit has received $6.5 million in non-dilutive grants and raised an additional $2 million in external investor capital since its founding. The company said this most recent award will extend its cash runway into 2025.

The MapHabit technology provides users critical tools to better accomplish their daily life activities, while simultaneously providing oversight and peace of mind to the entire support circle, including care managers and providers.

Caregiving is commonly acknowledged as one of the most stressful, under-recognized, under-paid, and under-supported jobs. The new CTP will offer key innovative features to enhance the caregivers’ own quality of life and directly support them in their role, which in turn will result in reduced cost burdens to them in all types of home and community-based care settings, the company said.

“There are 53 million caregivers in the United States and most of us have been thrown into this role without pay, without education, and without a coach to help guide them on what could be next,” Golden, the company’s CEO, said.  “Many of these are overextended sandwich caregivers, which are those who care for younger children and support their aging parents.”

While many resources exist for professional care staff, family caregivers have been left out of the discussion, Golden said. “This SBIR focuses on empowering those caregivers with tools to improve quality of life and independence for both the individual and the caregiver.  That is very important to us.”

Some of the features of the new CTP include self-paced learning that starts with understanding the caregiver’s knowledge and skill level; interactive live coaching sessions; easy to use caregiver-centric dashboards to share information, and social networking capabilities to promote social support and community building. The technology also uses a gamification approach to enhance training engagement and a social network system to help caregivers better manage their stress.

“Self-care is crucial for the person supporting someone with a neurocognitive disease. They often do not care for themselves and become sick themselves, putting both parties at risk,” Golden said. “Many non-spouse caregivers work jobs and they typically need to reduce hours or leave the workforce entirely. Moreover, family caregivers take the burden on themselves and don’t ask for help, and this leads to burnout.”

SBIR and a sister effort, Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR), are highly competitive programs that encourage U.S. small businesses to engage in federal research and research and development with the potential for commercialization.

As part of its curriculum, ATDC’s SBIR/STTR Catalyst Connie Casteel helps its portfolio companies understand and secure federal funding through those programs. In 2021, ATDC startups received $17.4 million in SBIR/STTR grants. Year-to-date in 2022, ATDC companies have recorded $14 million in awards.

“The ATDC SBIR/STTR program has been critical to help us identify funding opportunities and provide us much needed scientific reviews ahead of complicated government submissions,” Golden said. “The help of Connie Casteel and (ATDC Senior Startup and Deep Tech Catalyst) Nakia Melecio over the three-year period has helped us polish our submissions and ensure proper messaging to the target government organization.”

Georgia-AIM Hosts Kick-Off Meeting

Georgia Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing (Georgia-AIM) recently held its initial kick-off meeting in October 2022.

Over a two-day period, more than 100 participants from across the state came to Atlanta to brainstorm, collaborate, and share best practices as the group launched its effort in earnest following its winning of a $65 million award from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) in September.

Led by the Georgia Institute of Technology and a coalition of private and public partners across the state, Georgia-AIM seeks to reimagine job opportunities and wage growth in economically distressed and underserved rural parts of Georgia by melding artificial intelligence (AI) with manufacturing, an all-too-important segment of the state’s economy. Manufacturing’s economic impact to the state exceeds $60 billion a year and it employs more than 400,000, Georgia Department of Economic Development figures show.

The goal is to develop new opportunities through outreach programs designed to create a transformational Georgia workforce that will embrace artificial intelligence not be mystified or afraid of it, said Donna Ennis, director of Diversity Engagement and Program Development in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and also director of its Georgia MBDA Business Center. Ennis is leading the effort along with Aaron Stebner, associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Materials Science and Engineering, and Thomas R. Kurfess, executive director of the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute.

A large part of the the Georgia-AIM effort, which is also focused on serving historically underrepresented and underserved groups, is getting people to understand artificial intelligence goes beyond robots and that it’s not about taking jobs away, but leveraging this ever-evolving technology to create the jobs of the future, Ennis said.

AI is already an integral part of daily life from smart homes and cars to cities and mobile devices, she said.

“We want to demystify what it is,” she said. “We want to be able to show you that there is a place for you in the artificial intelligence world, particularly as it relates to the manufacturing.”

Kick-off event attendees were able to network and get more in-depth presentations regarding the various projects under the Georgia-AIM umbrella. The projects include building automation solutions tailored for rural manufacturers, industry pilot trials, workforce training for AI manufacturing technologies, prototyping labs and studios, curriculum development for K-12 students, and an virtual reality training innovation lab.

In addition to Georgia Tech, the coalition of 12 public-private partners includes:

·       Georgia Department of Community Affairs

·       Georgia Cyber Center

·       Houston County Development Authority

·       KITTLabs

·       Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs

·       Robins Air Force Base 21st Century Partnership

·       Spelman College

·       Southwest Georgia Regional Commission

·       Technologists of Color

·       Technology Association of Georgia Education Collaborative

·       Technical College System of Georgia

·       University of Georgia

The Advanced Technology Development Center Announces its Startup Graduating Class of 2022

Thirteen graduating companies comprise one of the incubator’s largest and most diverse graduating class of founders

ATLANTA — The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Georgia’s technology incubator, announced today 13 startups will graduate from the program’s top-tier Signature portfolio.

The 2022 class marks some significant milestones for ATDC, a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. The 13 startups constitute one of the most diverse and largest graduating class in ATDC’s 42-year history.

Eight of the companies have diverse founders or co-founders, including four women.

The ATDC Class of 2022 also brings the total number of graduating startups to more than 210 companies. Collectively, the ATDC Class of 2022 has raised more than $216.7 million in capital from investors since January 2021.

“This is an outstanding and spectacular class of graduates,” said Chris Nedza, ATDC’s lead entrepreneur in residence. “This group of founders are gamechangers and disruptors in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, insurance, energy, ecommerce, artificial intelligence, and information security. We are extremely proud of the ATDC Class of 2022 and all their achievements.”

One of the graduating companies, Apptega, founded by Armistead Whitney, works to address challenges that companies of all sizes face in implementing effective cybersecurity.

Being part of the ATDC experience helped the company navigate the challenges all startups face as well as scale successfully, he said.

“Starting a company from scratch is long, exciting, painful, and rewarding all at once. ATDC delivers the support, infrastructure, and guidance critical to our success,” Whitney said. “Sharing issues with other CEOs, receiving advice from the entrepreneurs in residence, getting connected to capital, and participating in programs at Georgia Tech gave us a huge competitive advantage not only to survive, but to thrive.”

Similarly, OncoLens, a leading data and clinical decision support hub that supports the multi-disciplinary discussion of cancer cases by experts and care teams, credits ATDC with its growth trajectory.

In the past four years, the company, co-founded by Anju Mathew and Dr. Lijo Simpson, has expanded to serve nearly 200 clients, including international customers.

“The favorite part of our ATDC experience has been the guidance received from ATDC catalysts and mentors,” Mathew, the company’s CEO, said. “The ability to engage with other startups and learn from each other is so key for early founders. And Aubrey Lenyard (ATDC Community Engagement Manager), is of course, just the best.”

The ATDC Class of 2021 will be honored October 27 in a special ceremony being held on the Georgia Tech campus.

The class includes:

  • Apptega: Makes it easy for businesses to build, manage, and report their cybersecurity programs while meeting regulatory requirements.
  • Buckle: Provides insurance to ride share drivers using new data, technology, and analytics.
  • Carbice: Produces multifunctional material solutions from Carbice® Nanotube Technology that set the standard for performance, reliability, and low-cost assembly within the world’s most important electronic, energy, and industrial products.
  • cove.tool: A web-based software platform for analyzing, drawing, engineering, and connecting data for building design and construction.
  • DataSeers: A big data platform for reconciliation, compliance, fraud, and analytics in the financial services sector.
  • Field Pros Direct: The industry’s first on-demand adjusters’ network.
  • Layr: InsureTech business that builds software to automate and digitize insurance brokerages’ smallbusiness departments.
  • Momnt: Helps merchants and merchant networks master the art of lending.
  • OncoLens: A healthcare technology company that enables the development of the best treatment plan for each cancer case.
  • SmartCommerce: Its technology platform enables one-click conversion from any digital impulse point, into any retailer cart.
  • Tonic: Anonymizes production data.
  • Voxie: Technology platform to connect with customers via text message, build real relationships, and turn those relationships into action.
  • Worthix: Customer survey platform built with artificial intelligence to help marketers pinpoint the “why behind the buy.”

It was important to Marty Young, Buckle’s co-founder, to be part of an incubator equally dedicated to finding technology companies focused on substantive impact for the better along with ensuring their overall success.

“As Buckle has grown its efforts to transform financial services offerings for an underserved audience of gig drivers, it has been a privilege to be surrounded by ATDC companies that are similarly focused on making a difference for their core target groups,” Young said. “In addition, Atlanta has been a center of gravity for Buckle since the first days of our formation, and it remains important to us to be active and connected in the communities where we live and operate.”

Companies in the ATDC Signature portfolio are those deemed most ready for long-term growth and success. ATDC Signature is a rigorous, metrics-driven, and milestones-based program for companies with transformative products.

To graduate from ATDC Signature, startups must meet several milestones, including annualized recurring revenue of at least $1 million, an identified scalable business model, and the ability to finance growth.

“ATDC has allowed Carbice to grow from an idea to a thriving leader in the thermal solutions market,” said Baratunde Cola, the company’s founder and professor in Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff’s School of Mechanical Engineering. “The best part of the company’s time at ATDCwas the ability to learn how to build and scale a manufacturing operation with the support of Georgia Tech and ATDC every step of the way.”

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 $3 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia. To learn more, visit atdc.org.

Debra Lam Appointed to U.S. Department of Commerce’s New Internet of Things Advisory Board

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Commerce has appointed Debra Lam, executive director of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, to its new Internet of Things Advisory Board (IoTAB), to advise the Internet of Things Federal Working Group. Lam joins 15 other experts on a board that includes a wide range of stakeholders outside of the federal government with expertise relating to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Debra Lam, executive director, Partnership for Inclusive Innovation

The appointments are the first for the recently established advisory board, which was created in accordance with the requirements of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as amended.

The board will advise the federal working group on matters including the identification of any federal regulations, programs or policies that may inhibit or promote the development of IoT; situations in which IoT could deliver significant and scalable economic and societal benefits to the United States, including smart traffic and transit technologies, augmented logistics and supply chains, environmental monitoring, and health care; IoT opportunities and challenges for small businesses; and any IoT-related international opportunities for the U.S. Full details on the board’s activities are provided in a Federal Register notice.

The board consists of 16 members and represents a broad range of disciplines from across academia, industry and civil society. Board members will serve two-year appointments, and all meetings are open to the public.

Launched in 2020, the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation is a public-private organization that was created to lead coordinated, statewide efforts to position Georgia as the leader for innovation, opportunity, and shared economic success. With support from Georgia Tech and a host of private and public partners, including the State of Georgia, the Partnership’s focus pillars of community research, workforce development, student engagement, and economic opportunity are a powerful combination that provide technical and financial support to democratize innovation through collaboration. Among its offerings, and one of the reasons Lam is on the board is the Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation program, which activates collaborations between researchers and municipalities to explore innovative uses of technology and data in pursuit of prosperity for all.

In addition to Lam, the newly appointed members include:

  • Benson M. Chan (Chair), Chief Operating Officer, Strategy of Things Inc.
  • Daniel W. Caprio Jr. (Vice Chair), Co-founder and Chair, The Providence Group
  • Michael J. Bergman, Vice President, Technology and Standards, Consumer Technology Association
  • Ranveer Chandra, Managing Director of Research for Industry and Chief Technology Officer of Agri-Food, Microsoft
  • Nicholas Emanuel, Product Manager, CropX
  • Steven E. Griffith, Senior Industry Director, National Electrical Manufacturers Association
  • Tom Katsioulas, Chair, Global Semiconductor Alliance
  • Kevin T. Kornegay, Professor and IoT Security Endowed Chair, Morgan State University
  • Ann Mehra, Adviser to Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University
  • Robby Moss, President and Principal Consultant, TGL Enterprises LLC
  • Nicole Raimundo, Chief Information Officer, Town of Cary, North Carolina
  • Maria Rerecich, Senior Director of Product Testing, Consumer Reports
  • Debbie A. Reynolds, Founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Data Privacy Officer, Debbie Reynolds Consulting
  • Arman Shehabi, Staff Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • Peter Tseronis, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Dots and Bridges LLC

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will provide administrative support to the advisory board, and information on board activities can be found on the NIST website.

Economic Development Administration Awards Georgia Tech $65 Million for AI Manufacturing Project

Largest grant ever awarded to a Georgia Tech-led coalition of partners to drive Build Back Better initiatives

ATLANTA — The Georgia Institute of Technology has been awarded a $65 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support a statewide initiative that combines artificial intelligence and manufacturing innovations with transformational workforce and outreach programs. The grant will increase job and wage opportunities in distressed and rural communities, as well as among historically underrepresented and underserved groups.

 

The Georgia Artificial Intelligence Manufacturing Technology Corridor (GA-AIM) effort is one of 21 winning projects the White House announced today under the Biden administration’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. The award follows a $500,000 Phase 1 feasibility grant the project received in 2021.

 

 

“Georgia Tech is honored to lead this vision of collaborative innovation and economic development across all regions of our state,” said Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera. “This award underscores the Institute’s commitment to leverage our resources and expertise to address great challenges, serve our state and nation, and amplify our impact on the world.”

 

The selected awardees represent projects in 24 states with grant amounts ranging from $25 million to $65 million.

 

“As we invest and grow critical industries in the U.S., we want to create industry hubs in diverse communities across the country,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “These grants will provide critical and historic funding directly to community coalitions to invest in new infrastructure, research and development, and workforce development programs while creating good-paying jobs, supporting workers, and prioritizing equity.”

 

Members of the Georgia AIM team (from left) Georgia White, David Bridges, Donna Ennis, Burunda Prince, and Aaron Stebner listen as President Joe Biden discusses the funding award to Georgia Tech and its partners. (PHOTO: Peralte C. Paul)

The GA-AIM project is led by Aaron Stebner, associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Materials Science and Engineering; Donna Ennis, director of Diversity Engagement and Program Development in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and also director of its Georgia MBDA Business Center; and Thomas R. Kurfess, executive director of the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute.

 

“The ability to integrate our discoveries and innovations here at the AI Manufacturing Pilot Facility with novel workforce programs and transformative outreach experiences is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something greater in ways that increase opportunity and prosperity for all Georgians,” Stebner said. “Through an equitable AI manufacturing innovation focus, the assembled coalition of partners and stakeholders across the state will build a more prosperous and resilient Georgia and set a nation-leading example.”

 

The AI Manufacturing Pilot Facility, which will allow for government and industry pilot trials, cybersecurity games, and workforce training for AI manufacturing technologies, is just one component of Georgia Tech’s support for the project.

 

Two of Georgia Tech’s commercialization programs — VentureLab and I-Corps South — will create a center for the commercialization of AI manufacturing technologies into local and regional startups through training built on the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps curriculum.

 

The Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s economic development arm, will engage in focused outreach and technical assistance to small- and mid-sized manufacturers and minority business enterprises through its Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) and Georgia MBDA Business Center programs. Other Enterprise Innovation Institute programs include the Economic Development Lab, the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, and ATDC, which will focus on outreach and engagement in distressed and underserved parts of the state, create workforce development programs, implementation strategies, and attract outside investment.

 

“The work that we will accomplish with our broad spectrum of partners in this new endeavor will leverage the latest technology in artificial intelligence to grow and strengthen our workforce ensuring that the growing manufacturing sector in Georgia has the skilled workforce that it requires for today’s as well as tomorrow’s needs,” Kurfess said. “At the same the high paying and secure jobs will be going to a very diverse population base from across the state, providing an equitable robust future for all citizens of Georgia.”

 

Georgia Tech’s Supply Chain & Logistics Institute will study the impact of automation technologies, build automation solutions tailored for rural manufacturers, and create programs that lower the barrier for rural manufacturers’ access to use the AI Manufacturing Pilot Facility.

 

Finally, Georgia Tech’s K-12 InVenture Prize and Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing programs will expand their emphasis to rural and underserved areas of the state by piloting a rural regional event with a region-specific prize. They will also create supplemental lessons centered on AI and data science that will be part of a K-12 InVenture Prize curriculum website.

 

“We are excited to be a part of this collaborative effort to catalyze research and innovation in AI and manufacturing across the state of Georgia,” said Chaouki T. Abdallah, executive vice president for Research at Georgia Tech. “This project aligns with our goals to expand economic opportunity in our state’s underserved communities, and to serve as a collaborative hub for interdisciplinary research that advances technology and improves people’s lives.”

 

Georgia Tech is working with a coalition of statewide partners to create a foundation that supports existing business growth and new business ventures across the state especially in underserved communities and rural Georgia.

 

“All across the state of Georgia, our programs in the Enterprise Innovation Institute work hard to unlock potential and foster economic opportunity for all, particularly in underserved and marginalized communities,” said David Bridges, vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, and co-author of the grant proposal with Stebner. “This project leverages what we and our partners each do best to help achieve our broader Georgia AIM goals.”

 

Tech’s partners include the:

 

“What’s really special about this effort is that it’s centered on a wholistic approach with innovation, not just one piece of AI or manufacturing,” Ennis said. “We’re working collectively statewide to transform and propel forward our industry, communities, and most importantly, our people.”

 

That collective approach is critical to GA-AIM’s success, said Houston County Development Authority Executive Director Angie Gheesling.

 

“The Development Authority and the 21st Century Partnership lead the Middle Georgia Innovation Project, which includes 11 counties in the Middle Georgia region, a diverse landscape of communities from rural to urban,” she said. “This award further facilitates the continuation of several years of collaboration between local leadership, our universities, private industry, and Robins Air Force Base to position ourselves as a Software Center of Excellence. We are grateful to Georgia Tech for the opportunity to partner and contribute to the overall future success of GA-AIM.”

 

Burunda Prince, chief operating officer of the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs, echoed those sentiments, saying its reach is exponentially amplified through the GA-AIM partnership.

 

The Center will create a mobile, 5,000-square-foot LaunchPad AI Innovation Studio to provide prototyping and proof-of-concept development of physical products. Black entrepreneurs in rural and urban Georgia will have access to equipment, training, and mentoring, and LaunchPad AI will also be open to AI InVenture teams from Atlanta’s urban K-12 schools.

 

As part of the Build Back Better grant, the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs will help Black businesses leverage the benefits of artificial intelligence to provide better data and insights that will build stronger companies and drive greater wealth generation,” Prince said. “What makes this opportunity unique is the cross collaboration of partners which will engage and empower communities across Georgia through access to technologies that often are inaccessible.”

 

Equally as important is the education component and the ability for it to be a bridge to new skills and opportunities for Georgia workers, said Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Greg Dozier.

 

“The funding for the project will equip four TCSG colleges with state-of-the-art manufacturing studios that will showcase the clean, safe state of modern manufacturing,” Dozier said. “Automation in manufacturing creates a demand for more skilled jobs, giving TCSG the charge to strengthen the workforce pipeline by training Georgians in these exciting, new technologies. The Georgia AIM project provides the funding to meet these opportunities head on.”

 

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

 

About the Georgia Institute of Technology
The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is a top 10 public research university developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its nearly 44,000 students representing 50 states and 149 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society.

Enterprise Innovation Institute VP Receives ‘World Best Leader’ Award from International Research Conference

David Bridges Awards
Angela Lee (left), a student at Lambert High School in Suwanee, and Georgia Tech student Sujin Cho (right) present David Bridges, Enterprise Innovation Institute vice president with the World Best Leader Award. (PHOTO: Peralte C. Paul)

David Bridges, vice president of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, was a featured speaker at the International Conference and Awards for the Earth Environment in South Korea.

 

The conference, held earlier this summer at the National Assembly Proceeding Hall, in Seoul, featured seminars and breakout sessions regarding policies focused on environmental protection on a global scale.

 

Bridges, who received the World Best Leader Award, discussed resilience and recovery in supply chain, cybersecurity, and advanced manufacturing trends and best practices for small and medium-sized businesses and startups.

 

In addition to Bridges’ award, a team of Georgia high school and university students, including Georgia Tech, were given the 2022 Top Class Representative Person Award for their efforts in leading environmental campaigns.

 

The conference aims to share economic, environmental, technological, and social startup innovations to encourage the sustainable development of ideas and technologies, ultimately supporting United Nation’s sustainable development goals.

 

Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Donna Ennis at Gala

Verónica Maldonado-Torres (left), president and CEO of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, presents the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s Donna Ennis with the President’s Award – Partner in the Promise at its 34th Annual Awards Gala. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

The Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the state’s largest organization for the interests of Latino business owners, awarded Donna M. Ennis, C.P.F., with its President’s Award – Partner in the Promise at its 34th Annual Awards Gala, for her work in helping to expand opportunity for minority businesses and entrepreneurs.

 

The annual gala highlights those leaders in Georgia who have made significant contributions in promoting and supporting Hispanic businesses. It also recognizes those who help foster stronger ties between non-Hispanic entities and the Hispanic market. Ennis and other awardees were fêted at a dinner banquet August 28 in Downtown Atlanta.

 

Ennis is director of diversity engagement and program development at the Enterprise Innovation Institute, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s economic development and growth arm. She leads efforts to find funding and program opportunities, particularly those with a focus on underrepresented and underserved communities and organizations. She also is director of the Georgia Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center, one of the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s programs. As director, Ennis has assisted clients secure in excess of $3.5 billion in contracts, financing, and sales, and create or save more than 6,000.

 

For Ennis, who has been at Georgia Tech since 1992, the award is a reflection of Georgia Tech’s commitment to helping foster positive economic development across all communities in Georgia and the value of collaboration. “The award demonstrates the tenacity that we’ve had at Georgia Tech in terms of developing partnerships in the community,” Ennis said. “It really shows that we have a commitment to the minority business community, the Hispanic business community and all the communities we serve as part of the Enterprise Innovation Institute in fulfillment of our economic development mission for the state of of Georgia.”

 

The Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was a major partner for the coronavirus relief funding award that the Georgia MBDA Business Center received, Ennis said, explaining that support helped her team serve more than 1,500 minority-owned businesses via technical assistance services, resources, access to capital, and leverage its network for strategic growth opportunities.

 

Such collaborations are important, Ennis said, because while minority businesses have made advances, work still remains toward getting greater access.

 

“Statistics show we still have not reached parity,” she said. “Minority businesses still struggle for capital and opportunity. We still don’t have equitable access. There is still quite a bit of disparity. So these organizations are very necessary to make sure that we work toward equitable access for our businesses and our communities.”

Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center to Receive Investment from Visa for FinTech Innovation

Investment to spur greater innovation in payments space

 

ATLANTA — Today, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)announced a new three-year financial commitment by Visa, the world leader in digital payments, to further accelerate innovation across financial and payments technologies (FinTech).

 

Patrick Williams Headshot
Patrick Williams is Visa’s North American head of digital partnerships.

ATDC, the state of Georgia’s technology incubator, works with entrepreneurs to build and scale successful technology companies. Its FinTech program, launched in 2015, has focused on building and growing FinTech companies in Georgia. Since its launch, the program has evaluated more than 250 startups, has 25 companies in its current portfolio, and produced one unicorn, Greenlight, a 2018 ATDC graduate now valued at more than $2 billion.

 

Visa’s financial sponsorship and leadership in the FinTech category will allow for continued growth and startup support for entrepreneurs in the program. As part of the sponsorship, Visa executives will mentor program participants and create connections to maximize opportunities to bring their FinTech innovations to Visa and its partner network.

 

“Georgia is our nation’s FinTech command center and we at ATDC are proud to partner with Visa to continue to drive innovation forward in this sector,” said John Avery, ATDC director. “We are dedicated to our FinTech ecosystem’s continued growth and success, and ATDC serving as the nexus to entrepreneurs, industry, investors, and Georgia Tech’s resources to help these startups thrive.”

 

Startups accepted into the incubator’s program will be integrated into Georgia’s robust FinTech ecosystem, where more than 200 FinTech companies generating $72 billion in annual revenue call home. Over 70 percent of all U.S. financial transactions are handled by payment processing firms headquartered in Georgia.

 

ATDC has hired Robert E. Daniel as the FinTech catalyst who will oversee the vertical, manage the pipeline, and evaluate these startups and their innovations for acceptance into the portfolio.

 

“We view Atlanta as a thriving FinTech community and an epicenter of financial technology expertise where Visa can become an integral part to its continued growth. A partnership with ATDC provides Visa the opportunity to get involved with supporting local startups as the future of payments continues to look bright, thanks to this world of innovative entrepreneurs,” said Patrick Williams, Visa’s head of digital partnerships in North America.

 

About Georgia Tech
The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is a top 10 public research university developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its nearly 44,000 students representing 50 states and 149 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society.

 

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, a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, has grown to become the longest running and one of the most successful university-affiliated incubators in the United States, with its graduate startup companies raising $3 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia. To learn more, visit atdc.org.

Amazon Robotics Gift Supports Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center

Funding will go toward assisting diverse entrepreneurs in the fields of robotics and automation

John Avery and Thomas Felis
ATDC Director John Avery (left) and Thomas Felis, director of robotics strategy for Amazon Global Robotics. (Photo: Peralte C. Paul)

ATLANTA — To help support the growth of startups and individuals working to advance automation and robotics, Amazon Robotics today announced it is providing a substantial investment over three years to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).

 

ATDC is Georgia’s technology startup incubator and helps entrepreneurs across the state build, launch, and scale successful companies. The goal of the gift is to accelerate growth of automation and robotics by leveraging staff and resources at ATDC in collaboration with Amazon.

 

“Our mission is to support infrastructure for startups and to help foster compelling startup companies with tremendous talent that solve big problems,” said Thomas Felis, director of robotics strategy for Amazon Global Robotics. “Equally important to us is Georgia Tech’s track record of working with and supporting entrepreneurs from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds.”

 

The funding includes allocation for an ATDC full-time automation and robotics catalyst to recruit and coach companies focused on automation and robotics. The catalyst will identify relevant startups and help onboard them into ATDC’s startup pipeline and portfolio.

 

“Georgia Tech is a leader in robotics research, and we are excited to have Amazon support our startup mission at ATDC to bring entrepreneurial ideas to life and to market,” said John Avery, ATDC director. “Innovation can come from anywhere and everywhere, and this collaboration reflects our commitment to support diverse startup founders.”

 

This effort will also support Georgia Tech’s ongoing robotics research, including the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines.

 

The Amazon sponsorship expands ATDC’s targeted vertical focus areas to seven, including financial, health, and retail technology, 5G, logistics and supply chain, and advanced manufacturing.

 

ATDC will also work with Amazon to identify specific areas of technical interest with the aim of developing virtual and physical events to attract relevant startups.

 

To apply to join the robotics and automation incubator, click here.