National Institute on Aging Awards MapHabit $3.8 Million Grant

Matt Golden, MapHabit CEO and co-founder. (PHOTO: File)

Southeast MBDA Business Growth Hub, EcoMap Technologies Forge Alliance to Elevate Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Businesses

Three logosATLANTA — In a transformative collaboration, the Southeast Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Growth Hub, has selected EcoMap Technologies (EcoMap) as its partner in launching an initiative to assist socially and/or economically disadvantaged individuals (SEDI) and small businesses.

The effort marks a historic milestone in the evolution of how SEDI-designated and small business operators can use technology to scale. The Business Growth Hub’s support of this project underscores technology’s ability to help SEDI-owned businesses across the southeastern U.S. scale.

Donna M. Ennis, the co-director of the Georgia Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing (Georgia AIM) project and operator representative of the Georgia MBDA Business Center and the Business Growth Hub — all programs of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute — provided the vision and leadership for the grant proposal that gave rise to the Southeast MBDA Business Growth Hub in 2021.

“I’m excited to see this project launch and to have teamed with EcoMap and other MBDA Business Centers,” Ennis said. “Technology is an essential ingredient for building and scaling businesses. Through technology, the Hub will provide a powerful ecosystem for the growth and development of businesses who struggle to gain access to much needed opportunities, capital, and resources.”

This ambitious partnership between the Business Growth Hub and EcoMap will amplify SEDI businesses’ economic impact by accelerating access to capital, procurement opportunities, and essential resources. Making successful and strategic connections to those resources will enable them to compete and succeed on a global scale.

A key feature of the Business Growth Hub’s mission is the use of technology platforms that will create a multi-state ecosystem to facilitate hybrid communities and engagement for MBDA Business Center clients in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. By fostering collaboration and synergy among these centers, the Business Growth Hub aims to create a unified ecosystem that empowers companies to thrive.

Sherrod Davis, CEO of EcoMap, emphasized the importance of this collaboration: “We are honored to join forces with the Southeast MBDA Business Growth Hub, a visionary project empowered by MBDA’s unwavering commitment to SEDI businesses. EcoMap’s technology solutions will serve as the catalyst for greater access, connectivity, and opportunities, advancing diversity and inclusion in business ecosystems.”

The SEDI-focused effort also includes Tiffany Bussey, Ph.D., founding director of the Morehouse Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center at Morehouse College. She brings an essential dimension to the Business Growth Hub’s vision as leader of its initiative for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions, including those with predominantly Latino or minority populations.

These institutions offer programs and resources aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and wealth-building in underserved and underrepresented communities.

Kirk Barnes, the Business Growth Hub’s project manager, expressed his appreciation for the collective support of the MBDA, Ennis, and Bussey, saying, “this partnership reflects a historic moment for SEDI and small businesses. MBDA’s support reinforces the vital role SEDI companies play in our economy, while Donna’s vision and Dr. Bussey’s leadership have set the stage for innovation and growth.

“Together with EcoMap, we are poised to make a transformative impact on the business landscape.”

Accenture, a prominent Business Growth Hub corporate partner, has played a critical role in shaping its vision and technology roadmap. The insights gained during the pilot program, along with Accenture’s guidance, have crystallized the Business Growth Hub’s technology needs, laying the foundation for a robust and effective platform.

About the Southeast MBDA Business Growth Hub
The Southeast MBDA Business Growth Hub, a program of the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute, began in 2021 as a pilot project funded under a Broad Agency Announcement award from MBDA. The Hub’s mission is to accelerate the success of socially and/or economically disadvantaged individuals (SEDI), small businesses, and other business communities across the southeastern U.S. by facilitating access to capital, procurement opportunities, and essential resources. It connects MBDA Business Centers across Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, and fosters collaboration to empower all businesses. Visit businessgrowthhub.gatech.edu for more information.

About EcoMap Technologies
EcoMap Technologies is a renowned technology solution provider dedicated to fostering inclusive ecosystems. Its platform connects organizations, entrepreneurs, and resources, fostering collaboration and growth within diverse communities. EcoMap empowers businesses to thrive by democratizing access to the tools and support they need to succeed. Visit ecomap.tech for more information.

About the Morehouse Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center
MIEC is a global model for higher education and industry collaborations to foster innovation and entrepreneurial leadership. Established in 2004 as a unit of Morehouse College, the Center has continually operated with an internal and external focus to promote innovation and entrepreneurship with people of color. Visit mcecenter.com for more information.

Enterprise Innovation Institute’s David Bridges Shares Ecosystem Building Best Practices in Slovakia

Rana and Bridges
Gautam Rana, U.S. ambassador to Slovakia (left), stands with Enterprise Innovation Institute at a Fulbright scholars ceremony May 17, 2024. (PHOTO: Courtesy U.S. Embassy)

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Enterprise Innovation Institute Vice President David Bridges spent part of May 2024 in the Slovak Republic, exchanging and sharing ideas for ecosystem building and economic development success with business and academic leaders there.

Bridges’ visit to the Eastern European country was in his role as a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Specialist Roster.

As a Fulbright Specialist, Bridges and other U.S. academics and leaders go overseas to meet with organizations and institutions to share their professional expertise with their foreign counterparts. The Specialist program falls under the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and World Learning as part of its Fulbright exchange offerings.

With the Enterprise Innovation Institute being the largest university-based economic development organization in the U.S., Bridges is recognized as an international expert in ecosystem building.

Slovakia is Bridges’ first country visited in his three-year rotation as a Fulbright Specialist.

Map
Slovakia is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. (mapchart.net)

A country of 5 million, Slovakia has an estimated economic output of $180.205 billion, making it the world’s 71st-largest economy. Though the country boasts high-income, is a major electronics and automobile exporter, and has low unemployment, it ranks low in regional innovation.

Building processes to foster innovation and create ecosystems is what Bridges is working with his Slovakian counterparts to help them do.

“So far, I have met with companies, governments, universities, and non-profits to discuss avenues for further talent and innovation development and deployment,” Bridges said.

He also met with many of the Fulbright Scholars — faculty, post-doctoral candidates, and experts — assigned to lecture and/or conduct research across a wide variety of academic and professional fields in Slovakia. In that capacity Bridges discussed opportunities they had in maximizing their skills and areas of expertise to support ecosystem building in Slovakia.

The Fulbright Scholars were honored May 17, 2024, in a Fulbright Commission Award Ceremony hosted by Gautam Rana, U.S. ambassador to Slovakia.

Those 22 scholars — Americans in Slovakia and Slovakians in the U.S. — spent the past year on academic exchanges in both countries.

“From teaching English to writing poetry, from studying medicine to expanding business opportunities, our Fulbright exchanges strengthen our bilateral relationship, and our graduates join a global community that includes Nobel Prize winners as well as heads of state,” the U.S. Embassy in Slovakia said in a statement.

“This year we will celebrate 30 years of the Fulbright program in Slovakia, which connects people and nations. We can be proud of what our graduates have achieved.”

ATDC companies raise $280.2 million in investments in 2023

Team Shot Slip Robotics
Employees of Slip Robotics. The Norcross, Georgia-based ATDC portfolio company raised $11 million in 2023. (PHOTO: Erin McDuff/McDuff Photography)

ATLANTA — Startups in the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) current portfolio raised more than $280.2 million in investment capital and created or saved more 2,021 jobs in 2023.

While the investment capital raised was down from the $305.7 million ATDC’s active portfolio companies raised in 2022, it mirrors the prevailing trend across the investment landscape, said Caroline Ford, investor relations manager at ATDC, a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute.

“As expected, deal raise and deal volume for Georgia are down in all stages of venture capital,” Ford said, “but we are stable and holding our own relative to the past 5 years in terms of percent of deals done and percent of all capital raised among Georgia’s early-stage tech companies.”

Still, companies at ATDC, a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, represented a large slice of the completed deals in Georgia under $12 million in 2023.

“While deal volume and deal amounts were weaker across tech companies raising venture capital in 2023, we are pleased that ATDC companies continued to account for about 18 percent of all reported deals done under $12 million for tech or tech-enabled businesses,” ATDC Director John Avery said. “This figure is consistent with the aggregate activity in Georgia from our companies.”

Among select deal highlights in 2023:

  • ATDC portfolio company Slip Robotics raised $11 millionFounded in 2020, Slip Robotics, whose clients include Nissan, John Deere, and Valeo, is a developer of robotic trailer technology designed to simplify the loading and unloading process of trucks.
  • Layr, a 2022 ATDC graduate, an insurance technology business that builds software to automate and digitize insurance brokerages’ small business departments, closed on an oversubscribed $10 million round.
  • Kayhan Space, a leading provider of high-performance software and solutions for space mission operations, raised $7 million in an oversubscribed seed extension round.  The company is scaling quickly as it accelerates the commercial delivery of the industry’s first autonomous space traffic coordination (STC) framework, Pathfinder™ 3.0.

There were other bright spots in ATDC’s overall 2023 results, too.

ATDC portfolio companies received more the $10.2 million in non-dilutive federal funding grants through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs in 2023.

When ATDC’s graduate companies are included with the incubator’s current startup portfolio, more than $6.2 billion in investment capital was raised in 2023, up nearly 8% from the $5.7 billion reported in 2022.

What’s more, ATDC’s current portfolio and graduate companies recorded revenue of $2.43 billion in 2023 — up nearly 54% from the $1.58 billion they reported in 2022.

“Traditionally, our companies stay in business after graduating from the portfolio and will typically go on to raise later rounds of capital, bringing jobs and economic activity to the Georgia economy as they scale,” Avery said.

Greenlight, a 2018 ATDC graduate is one example, he said. The ATDC-born financial technology startup behind smart debit cards for parents monitoring their children’s spending, reached unicorn status in 2020, is now valued at $2.3 billion, and employs 515.

ATDC companies are also more likely to be acquired than their Georgia peers as evidenced with the acquisition of Medxoom, a 2023 ATDC graduate and healthcare financing platform, which was acquired by Allied Health that same year.

Jobs were also a highlight in 2023 in the incubator’s ecosystem. ATDC’s current and graduate companies reported saving or creating 14,770 jobs in 2023, up from 11,793 in 2022.

Nakia Melecio to Lead Innovation Lab Effort at Enterprise Innovation Institute

Headshot off Nakia Melecio.
Nakia Melecio head’s Innovation Lab at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. (PHOTO: Péralte Paul)

Nakia Melecio, senior research faculty and director of the Center for MedTech Excellence at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, will lead a new effort focused on economic development support for life sciences companies and bioscience commercialization and ecosystem building.

Melecio, who has also served as the deep tech catalyst in the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s ATDC startup incubator, will lead Innovation Lab, which encompasses new business development efforts in life sciences and biosciences. The Innovation Lab initiative centers on three core activities:

  • Grow healthcare research, innovation, and workforce development practice.
  • Expand EI2 Global‘s international footprint.
  • Support VentureLab‘s National Science Foundation I-Corps activities.

“Nakia has been instrumental in helping to expand Georgia’s life sciences community and ecosystem,” said David Bridges, vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s chief economic development arm. “Leading Innovation Lab already builds on a foundation he created since joining us in 2019 and further supports our broad economic development mission.”

He’s already leading in the healthcare research practice expansion with his work in the MedTech Center and running the ScaleUp Lab Program for deep tech innovation.

Under Melecio’s leadership as founding director, the MedTech Center, which has the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership and Global Center for Medical Innovation as partners, has worked with and evaluated the innovations of more than 200 companies. Since launching in 2021, the MedTech Center’s 66 active startups have raised $13.1 million in investment capital and an additional $6.4 million in federal, non-dilutive funding grants.

In 2023, the MedTech Center was selected to join the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health’s ARPA-H Investor Catalyst Hub to accelerate the commercialization of practical, accessible biomedical solutions.

He is supporting Georgia Tech’s efforts to collaborate with Atlanta University Center schools — Spelman College, Clark-Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and the Morehouse School of Medicine — to collaborate with those minority-serving institutions as they build out capacity for their scientists and researchers to create more life sciences technology companies, following an award from the Economic Development Administration.

Similarly, Melecio is working with the University of Alabama at Birmingham on a collaborative project in biologics and medical devices to move more of its researchers’ innovations out of the lab and into commercial markets.

As Innovation Lab lead, Melecio, who has secured more than $5.76 million in federal grants and awards to Georgia Tech, will also work to develop biomanufacturing partnerships for Georgia Tech.

With EI2 Global, the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s program that fosters economic opportunity through collaborations with universities, innovators, governments, and nonprofit organizations worldwide, Melecio will serve as an instructor on Lab-to-Market and CREATE-X programming for entrepreneurs. He will also create and provide educational content for EI2 Global’s university and ecosystem partners.

Closer to home, his Innovation Lab work includes ongoing projects as a principal in VentureLab, a program of Georgia Tech’s Office of Commercialization. In that capacity, he will work on VentureLab’s National Science Foundation-related Innovation Corps (I-Corps) programming. Those efforts, overseen by Commercialization Vice President Raghupathy “Siva” Sivakumar, include the NSF I-Corps Hub Academy, where Melecio will serve as director.

“Our efforts with Innovation Lab are centered around finding new opportunities, new markets, and new industries by leveraging our areas of expertise at the Enterprise Innovation Institute and Georgia Tech to build economic development capacity in the life sciences and biosciences space,” Melecio said.

“We’re looking to take a broader perspective, away from being hyper-focused in one or two niche areas in life sciences, to ensure that we maximize opportunities to support new ideas, build stronger practice areas in this space, and secure funding to bring those innovations to scale.”

David Bridges Receives Fulbright Specialist Award to Slovak Republic at Digital Coalition

David Bridges.

The U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board are pleased to announce that David Bridges, vice president of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, has received a Fulbright Specialist Program award.

Bridges, who was named Fulbright Specialist in February of 2024,  will complete a project at Digital Coalition in Slovak Republic that aims to exchange knowledge and establish partnerships benefiting participants, institutions, and communities both in the U.S. and overseas through a variety of educational and training activities within Public Administration.

Bridges is one of over 400 U.S. citizens who share expertise with host institutions abroad through the Fulbright Specialist Program each year. Recipients of Fulbright Specialist awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, demonstrated leadership in their field, and their potential to foster long-term cooperation between institutions in the U.S. and abroad.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations, and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the Program, which operates in over 160 countries worldwide.

Since its establishment in 1946, the Fulbright Program has given more than 400,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbrighters address critical global issues in all disciplines, while building relationships, knowledge, and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States. Fulbright alumni have achieved distinction in many fields, including 60 who have been awarded the Nobel Prize, 88 who have received Pulitzer Prizes, and 39 who have served as a head of state or government.

For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State, please visit eca.state.gov/fulbright or contact the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Press Office by telephone 202.632.6452 or e-mail eca-press@state.gov.

NIH awards $2.9M grant to Annoviant for heart disease technology advancement

Annoviant co-founders Ajay Houde and Naren Vyavahare, CEO and chief technology officer, respectively.

ATLANTA — Annoviant Inc. a health technology company and member startup in the Enterprise Innovation Institute‘s Center for MedTech Excellence, is receiving a $2.99 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to further scale the development and commercialization of its TxGuardTM pulmonary-valved conduit for pediatric heart disease.

The award follows two Phase I NIH grants the company received, the most recent being in 2021.

Annoviant’s patented TxGuard™ stands at the forefront of technological innovation in conduit replacements for treating congenital heart disease (CHD), the most prevalent birth defect globally and a leading cause of birth-related mortality, the company said.

CHD encompasses a broad range of abnormalities that disrupt blood flow to and from the heart. It affects approximately 40,000 newborns annually — or 1% of births in the U.S. — and 1.35 million worldwide. With an estimated 2.9 million CHD patients in the U.S. alone, the need for advanced solutions is paramount.

“This marks a significant milestone for Annoviant as we accelerate our pursuit of impactful innovation to save lives,” said Annoviant CEO and co-founder Ajay Houde, Ph.D. “It validates our hypothesis and shows the NIH’s confidence in our ability to make good progress. Because we are a small startup, it gives private investors the confidence to invest with us and more companies working with us across the broader ecosystem.”

Addressing critical shortcomings observed in current commercial devices, TxGuard™ offers clinical advantages, notably its resistance to calcification, thrombosis, infection, and the host cell integration. This cutting-edge technology marks a new era in pediatric cardiac interventions, providing durable pulmonary valved grafts that adapt and regenerate alongside patients, minimizing the need for multiple re-operations over their lifetimes.

“Heart disease is the leading killer of men and women in the U.S. and is the most common birth defect in our newborns,” said Center for MedTech Excellence Director Nakia Melecio, who worked with Annoviant to help it scale and reviewed its federal funding submissions.

The Center for MedTech Excellence, which launched in 2022, works with early-stage life sciences startups that have specific obstacles that young tech companies in other sectors don’t face.

“This is a critical milestone for the company, and validates its research and work, thus far,” Melicio said. “Annoviant’s technology is tackling several challenges that the market currently faces and elevating the possibility for better patient outcomes in management of congestive heart failure.”

Pediatric patients with CHD often undergo multiple cardiovascular surgeries throughout their lives, with associated costs totaling billions for the U.S. healthcare industry. TxGuard™ offers a transformative solution to this ongoing challenge, promising extended durability and reduced healthcare burden for patients and providers alike.

He credited the company’s work with the Center for MedTech Excellence and being a health tech startup in the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s startup incubator, as being pivotal in Annoviant’s growth.

ATDC SBIR/STTR Catalyst Connie Casteel, who works with the incubator’s portfolio companies to help the prepare for these federal, non-dilutive funding grants, had worked with Annoviant on its federal funding approach and strategy.

“We went through the 16-week program with the MedTech Center and it really helped us think through the various aspects of the commercialization process and operational challenges we would face,” Houde said. “Greg Jungles at ATDC was also instrumental in helping us.  I’m really thankful for Nakia and his work with the MedTech Center and Greg and the team at ATDC.”

EI2 Global hosts Argentinian startups on business development tour

Alberto Ponce, who manages EI2 Global’s Soft Landing program, explains how it helps foreign companies exploring U.S. expansion navigate that complex market. (PHOTO: Péralte C. Paul)

EI2 Global,  the international outreach economic development program at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, recently hosted a delegation of startup founders and investors from Argentina who were in Atlanta on a three-day fact finding mission about the region’s startup ecosystem.

The delegation, led by Argentina’s Atlanta-based Consul General Alana Patricia Lomonaco Busto, wanted to learn about the business opportunities in the region. Attendees also wanted to see how Enterprise Innovation Institute programs such as EI2 Global’s Soft Landing program helps foreign companies determine if entering the U.S. market makes sense and how to do so to strategically to maximize success, said Albert Ponce, who manages the Soft Landing initiative.

The visitors also toured the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) to learn how the incubator helps startups scale and connect with investors, customers, and talent.

Robert Daniel, ATDC FinTech catalyst, explains how the incubator supports Georgia’s startup ecosystem. (PHOTO: Péralte C. Paul)

While in Atlanta, the delegates will also meet with officials from the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Technology Association of Georgia, and Atlanta City Hall.

The visit to Georgia Tech is one of several from Argentina in the last few years, as well as from other parts of Latin America, Europe, and Africa.

They are part of EI2 Global’s longstanding mission of serving as the nexus for helping businesses and economic development organizations around the world foster their own  innovation-focused, economic development ecosystems.

Partnership for Inclusive Innovation director speaks at Congressional AI-Transportation roundtable

Debra Lam, (front row on the right, second from right) addresses the full U.S. House Committee Bipartisan Roundtable on AI in Infrastructure and Transportation. (PHOTO: Robert Knotts)

The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation (Partnership), a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, focuses its work on improving access and opportunities for all Georgians. Its goal since its founding in 2020 is to drive innovation and create opportunities for all to thrive together as part of the innovation ecosystem., regardless of geographic, racial, gender and socio-economic status.

The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a roundtable on artificial intelligence (AI) in infrastructure and transportation on April 16, 2024 where Partnership Executive Director Debra Lam was invited to speak and share how the organization is leveraging AI as a tool to bring innovative solutions in the transit space.

Lam also sat down with U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, the committee’s ranking member, for Q&A session on how AI can help drive innovation in transportation forward.

 

Below are Lam’s prepared remarks for the hearing:

Good morning, Chairman Graves, Ranking Member Larsen and distinguished members of the House Transportation Committee. It’s an honor to be here today to discuss the transformative potential of AI in Transportation.

My name is Debra Lam and I lead the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation based out of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Our mission is to catalyze and invest in innovative solutions that drive shared economic prosperity through public-private collaborations. Since 2020, the Partnership’s work has deployed millions in financial and social capital and catalyzed hundreds of projects with local governments, corporates, universities, startups, and nonprofits. The projects have created new businesses, increased jobs, and deployed hundreds of technologies and innovations.

In the realm of AI and transportation, we are guided by three core principles:

  • Community-centered problem solving: We believe in starting with the challenges faced by communities themselves, who best understand their needs. However, complex issues like transportation and infrastructure require a collective approach. This is why we form robust public-private partnerships, combining the expertise of multidisciplinary research teams to find the most effective tech-based solutions tailored to community goals. Whether it is AI or other future, unknown technology, it should be seen as one of many tools that is centered on solving community problems.
  • Innovation for all: We stand by the idea that every community, regardless of its size or location, can be a hub of innovation. Our objective is to democratize access to technology and foster an understanding of innovations like AI. This empowers communities to not just utilize technology but to refine and advance it.
  • A holistic view of transportation: Transportation is the lifeline connecting housing and employment. We are dedicated to ensuring that accessible and affordable transportation, especially with the integration of AI and other advanced technologies, is not a hurdle but a support system for securing employment and accessing homes.

Now, let me illustrate how these principles come alive in one of our projects:

Through a U.S. Dept. of Transportation SMART grant, the Chatham Area Transit Authority, with Georgia Tech researchers, is improving transit services in historically underserved neighborhoods. Piloting an On-Demand Multi-model Transit System (ODMTS) powered by AI, riders, including paratransit riders can use a mobile application to summon prompt and efficient transit service.

The AI-driven algorithm behind the service not only learns and evolves from increased usage but also guides the existing, professional drivers along the safest and most expedient routes. The project utilizes union operators and trains early career professionals as operators and maintenance personnel from the local colleges. Additionally, we are improving algorithms to optimize electric vehicle charging to increase operational efficiency and energy conservation.

This project stands as a testament to our approach, showcasing AI as a powerful ally in elevating and integrating transportation services to meet the needs of all communities.

I look forward to delving into these topics with you today.

Thank you for your attention and for supporting this vital work.

EI2’s Chasten McCrary Awarded Bergmark Family Study Abroad Scholarship for Scheller Project in Czechia

Chasten McCrary (Photo: Chris Ruggiero)

Chasten McCrary, a strategy consultant with the Enterprise Innovation Institute‘s chief of staff, was awarded the Bergmark Family Study Abroad Scholarship from Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business.

McCrary, a second-year Evening MBA student, was selected to partake in Scheller’s International Practicum Course. This Spring semester, she serves as a student consultant for an internationally-based company alongside her classmates.

As part of this opportunity, she is spending her spring break in Czechia (formerly the Czech Republic) to collaborate with ALBAform, a woman-owned manufacturing company in the automotive industry.

McCrary said she was excited to blend her hands-on work experience with educational enrichment during this adventure.

“I really enjoyed serving as a consultant on the team for ALBAform,” McCrary said. “I’m looking forward to delivering our final recommendations and I’m so grateful for this opportunity.”

From left, John Parkerson, international business attorney; Scheller MBA students, Brooke E. Leeder, Chasten McCrary, Stephen Coterillo; Monika Vintrlikova, ALBAform senior executive and Honorary Consul Czechia, and Jan Vintrlik, ALBAform’s chief operating officer.

Founded in 1992, ALBAform is a second-generation, family-owned business with more than three decades of international experience in metal fabrication and engineering services with operations in. Czechia, Mexico, and in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Its clients include BMW, Ford Motor Co., and Volvo.

The company is a client of the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which assisted ALBAform in leadership and business strategy consulting, and workforce development.

The Bergmark Family Study Abroad Scholarship is named for Dick Bergmark (IM ‘75, Hon. PhD ’22), one of  the Scheller College of Business’ main philanthropists, and immediate past chair of the school’s advisory board.