With remote work continuing, it’s often hard to get to know one another, especially for new employees. So, we’re looking for new ways to make connections. Meet this month’s two new employees, Ward Broom and Alberto Ponce. If you run into them or someone else you don’t know at a meeting or on Zoom or Teams, introduce yourself. Work relationships are important to well-being, and this is just one way to help cultivate those relationships.
Ward Broom, Automation & Robotics Catalyst, Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)
Ward will oversee the ATDC Automation and Robotics Program — sponsored by Amazon Robotics. He will recruit startups, coach and mentor them, and market the program to those entrepreneurs looking to build and scale technology companies in the robotics or automation sectors.
A triple graduate of Georgia Tech, Ward earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and an Executive MBA. One of his sons is also a Tech grad with degrees in civil engineering and computer science.
He loves golf and travel – especially trips to the North Carolina mountains, where he can indulge both passions. His wife is a writer and his older son graduated from the Citadel and serves in the Army.
Alberto Ponce, Associate Project Manager, Economic Development Lab (EDL)
Alberto will work in the Innovation Ecosystems group to support projects that develop entrepreneurship ecosystems in Latin America and assist with the Soft Landings program that helps foreign companies navigate their way into the U.S. market.
Alberto has experience running entrepreneurship programs and as an entrepreneur himself. Most recently, he served as the innovation center coordinator at the Medical Center of the Americas in El Paso, Texas.
A native of Mexico, Alberto exercises his creativity in his off time. He enjoys reading, watching classic and contemporary films, listening to music, and playing chess.
With a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez, in Mexico, Alberto looks forward to working on projects that help enrich communities around the world.
Family brought Jan Youtie to Georgia Tech. Her husband had a long history with the Institute, and she had always been impressed by his friends from Tech. She was also no stranger to Georgia universities, having received a bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. in political science from Emory University and worked at Kennesaw State University as the assistant director of the A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service and Research.
In her time at Georgie Tech, Youtie has made notable contributions to economic development in Georgia and internationally, as well helping mentor more than 100 School of Public Policy students.
“Jan is a very thoughtful and kind person who always wants the best for our team. She has a quiet demeanor with a deep wealth of knowledge and common sense that is a rare find these days,” said Lynne Henkiel, director of EI2’s Economic Development Lab.
Now, after 30 years of service to Georgia Tech, Youtie has retired.
Most recently, she served as director of policy research services and principal research associate in the Economic Development Lab. She also directed the Technology Policy and Assessment Center in the School of Public Policy (SPP), as well as SPP’s and EI2’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) co-lab. To round it all off, she retained another position in SPP as an adjunct research scientist.
Youtie’s research focused on technology-based economic development, advanced manufacturing, emerging technology assessment, bibliometric and patent analysis with peers in China, and innovation and knowledge measurement and evaluation. She is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, 20 book chapters, and two books.
“Georgia Tech is losing a very valuable asset in its portfolio of economic development focused on public policy. She will be sorely missed,” Henkiel added.
Far-Reaching Development Work
Youtie has teamed up with colleagues across the Institute to participate in research projects that reach across the state and country and even internationally.
(GaMEP), funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the state of Georgia. The program, a unit of EI2, works to increase U.S. manufacturing productivity, efficiency, and technological performance, as well as reduce costs.
“Jan Youtie has made a lasting contribution to the Georgia manufacturing community and the state as a whole via her 25-plus years of effort in developing, managing, conducting, and analyzing the Georgia Manufacturing Survey (GMS) every two to three years,” said GaMEP Director Tim Israel. “The results of this survey have helped influence manufacturing policy and programs in our state and guided our companies’ growth and prosperity. I have greatly enjoyed working with her on the GMS for many of these years and will miss her dedication and intellect.”
Shapira and Youtie also teamed up to help create the Mid-sized Cities Technology Development Initiative, which led to the establishment of the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Centers of Innovation. Now, the Center works with businesses across the state to help them grow.
“In every project, I have been amazed by how Jan always manages to deliver research outputs that are creative, influential, robust, and on time!” Philip Shapira said. “That the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy and the Enterprise Innovation Institute are now widely recognized as thought leaders and analytical powerhouses in innovation policy and technology-based economic development is in no small part due to Jan’s extensive and groundbreaking contributions over many years.”
David Bridges, EI2 vice president, echoed those sentiments, highlighting how her work was foundational to projects overseas.
“Jan has worked extensively in Europe, Asia, and Latin America over her career,” Bridges said, “She and Juan Rogers in the School of Public Policy wrote and spoke extensively on the importance of technology extension in Latin America. That research led to projects in Chile and the large effort in Colombia.”
Bridges added that Youtie’s work also included developing foresight research on the future of innovations for the Army and pioneering societal and ethical impact analysis for a National Science Foundation grant Georgia Tech received in 2015 connected to nanotechnology infrastructure.
Preparing Students to Tackle Problems Head-on
As STIP director, one of Youtie’s areas of focus was to engage the next generation of public policy researchers. She led the STIP Georgia Innovation Internship program for University System of Georgia graduate students from its inception in 2015 through 2020, when the pandemic hit. In all, 50 students interested in coupling science and innovation to economic development and public policy went through the program.
For the past few years, Youtie served as one of the instructors for the School of Public Policy’s Policy Task Force program. In the two-class series, public policy seniors spend a year working with local clients to help solve their policy problems.
Youtie sees the program as yet another way to provide Georgia Tech students with a chance to see the practical applications of the skills they’ve learned in the classroom.
“The Policy Task Force mastery model lets students understand the importance of reworking deliverables so that the outcomes meet and, in most cases, exceed client expectations,” she said.
Youtie helped mentor this year’s task force students as they tackled issues ranging from clean energy to the racial wealth gap and economic development.
“Jan has become a great friend through our collaboration on task force, where she brought invaluable insight into practical, client-centered work that she deployed to guide the students learning how to marshal their analytical skills in service of solving client problems and producing professional-quality results,” said Professor Diana Hicks, the other task force instructor.
Youtie has assisted and guided over 100 students in the School of Public Policy, including 46 research assistants.
“Jan Youtie has made an indelible impression upon the SPP community,” said Cassidy Sugimoto, Tom and Marie Patton School Chair. “We are grateful for the many hours she spent teaching our capstone undergraduate course and mentoring graduate students in research projects. Jan brought an incredible expertise and generosity to the School — simply put, she is irreplaceable and will be greatly missed.”
Having spent a career at the intersection of the humanities and development, Youtie hopes that Georgia Tech students — particularly those in the liberal arts — aren’t afraid to put their skills to good use.
“Have confidence that what you have learned can help solve real-world problems,” she said.
In the fall of 2022, Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute will host 20 technology startup founders from the Kingdom of Spain in a training program designed to expose Spanish entrepreneurs to the startup ecosystem in metro Atlanta, Georgia, and the broader United States.
As a part of Spain’s Ministry of Science and Innovation, the government office charged with fostering technological development and innovation of Spanish companies, the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology coordinates the funding and support applications for those startups’ national and international research and development projects. The Centre also manages, including managing Spanish companies’ participation in international technological cooperation programs.
Innovation Ecosystems works with communities, governments, and organizations to help them launch, operate, and sustain successful entrepreneurship and innovation programs.
Centre leaders — Director General Javier Ponce Martinez and Director of Technical Innovation Carlos de la Cruz Molina — visited the Georgia Tech campus to sign an agreement that establishes a framework for the training and curriculum, which includes an overview of the Georgia ecosystem, lean startup methodology, and innovating for sustainability.
“This is an opportunity to get together to collaborate together towards the future,” Martinez said during the signing ceremony. “The future looking at sustainability issues, industrial, and social activities. This is the starting point, and a great starting point.”
The organization has collaborations with other countries, but this is its first such effort in the United States.
The Enterprise Innovation Institute — Georgia Tech’s economic development arm — is the largest, most comprehensive, university-based program of entrepreneurship and startup company development, business and industry growth, ecosystem development, international outreach in the United States. As a globally recognized model of university-based economic development, the Enterprise Innovation Institute has hosted a number of international delegations in recent years looking to engage with Georgia Tech and its programs, including from the Bahamas, the United Kingdom, France, Argentina, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and South Africa.
“We are celebrating connecting globally and inclusive innovation and this agreement is at the heart of a space that is very important to the Institute,” said Georgia Tech Administration and Finance Vice President Kelly Fox, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Institute. “We’re honored that you are working with us, and we look forward to seeing how this grows from there.”
Lynne Henkiel has been named interim director of the Economic Development Lab in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute effective immediately.
She succeeds David Bridges who, in November 2021, was named vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s economic development arm.
The Economic Development Lab – through three focus areas — assists governments, communities, foundations, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in fostering value creation by applying innovative ideas, technology, and policy to economic growth-focused initiatives. The Economic Development Lab has had projects in all of Georgia’s 159 counties and in 24 international districts and territories. In 2021, its projects resulted in $11.3 million in investments to its clients and 174 jobs being saved and created.
Prior to becoming Economic Development Lab director, Henkiel led one of its focus areas, Innovation Ecosystems. That group works with communities, economic development organizations, and universities in assessing and planning local and regional ecosystems.
“Lynne is the ideal person to run the Economic Development Lab given her background and expertise,” Bridges said. “She has been an integral component in creating and implementing our innovative ecosystems development through the application of research and education.”
Henkiel, who has been with Georgia Tech for more than 20 years, is the primary awardee for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Agency’s (EDA) University Center award to Georgia Tech for the last two award periods. She also received the EDA Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) I6 award in 2014 among other funding grants. In addition, she is the developer for the incubation health assessments tool, community innovation assessment tool, and instrumental in developing the Georgia Tech Soft Landings program for international companies looking to expand into the U.S. market.
Her career at Georgia Tech started with a focus on commercializing innovations from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the Stennis Space Center, and Marshall Space Flight Center.
As part of her responsibilities in working with startup companies that licensed NASA technology, she collaborated with entrepreneurs to help them overcome many of the early pitfalls of they were likely to face, as well as develop educational programming to aid in their successes. She also managed the dual-use industry partnerships for the Marshall Space Flight Center, which involved working with large and startup businesses.
Henkiel also created the U.S. Expansion Practicum course at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business, which partners MBA students with successful business owners — including Georgia Tech alumni — focused on U.S. business expansion. She has written several articles and is a sought-after ecosystem building expert who has delivered many presentations across the United States and internationally.
She leads the Innovation and Technology Commercialization Professional course in China and is evaluating strategies to expand the course to include Spanish, French, and Arabic-speaking countries.
Henkiel is an active member of the Technology Association of Georgia’s International Society Board, a board member of the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), a member of the State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) and a subject advisor to the New Space effort for the government of Chile.
Henkiel holds a master’s degree in the Management of Technology from the University of Miami, and had an extensive career in finance with IBM prior to joining Georgia Tech.
To date, Georgia public health officials report more than 1.5 million cases and 26,621 deaths from Covid-19. The workforce analysis, which also includes the creation of skills development and talent pool programs, professional and leadership development, and core business training, is designed help communities recover from the economic impact of Covid-19.
The Georgia Tech EDA University Center will provide workforce development services at no charge to communities, with all costs covered by a grant from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.
“As the state of Georgia builds its resiliency and maximizes economic development potential for its communities, our goal with the CARES Act grant is to offer services that combine data collection and analysis with a training-driven approach,” said Juli Golemi, director of Georgia Tech’s EDA University Center program manager. “We’re committed to comprehensive stakeholder engagement that builds local capacity and economically stronger communities across the state.”
In addition to the workforce assessments, which typically take 60 to 70 days to complete, the Georgia Tech EDA University Center will provide technical assistance to entrepreneurs, businesses, and communities to assist in their recovery efforts from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Finally, Golemi said the Georgia Tech team will conduct, share, and disseminate applied research to address specific challenges, meet defined needs, and solve select problems resulting from the coronavirus’ economic impact on communities, businesses, innovators, entrepreneurs, economic planners, and cluster-based industries.
“Assessing all the data and turning research into action, we will make recommendations to direct future workforce development efforts that help communities navigate the changes to their employment and occupation environments,” Golemi said.
TO APPLY, PLEASE NOTE:
Applications are due Jan. 21, 2022, and selected communities will be notified by Jan. 30.
About the Georgia Tech EDA University Center The Georgia Tech EDA University Center is a program funded by the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) through its EDA University Center. As part of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, the University Center has been assisting Georgia communities for more than 50 years. Its outreach activities promote job creation, development of high-skilled regional talent pools, business expansion in innovation clusters, and the development and expansion of regional economic ecosystems in Georgia and other states within the EDA’s Atlanta region (Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee). Since July 1, 2017, the Georgia Tech EDA University Center team has worked on 27 projects, with 2 currently in progress. As of May 2021, the program’s work has helped create or save 321 jobs, $10.2 million in private investment, and $30.7 million in public investment. To learn more, visit grow.gatech.edu/eda-university-center/grow.gatech.edu/eda-university-center/grow.gatech.edu/eda-university-center/.
The Enterprise Innovation Institute’s (EI2) Innovation Ecosystems program recently hosted a delegation of 43 Colombian professionals, including presidents and executives of the Chambers of Commerce, SENA (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje) instructors, and government officials during a week-long bootcamp program on Technology Extension Services (TES) Oct. 4-8.
This program is part of the EI2’s ongoing collaboration with Confecámaras and Colombia Productiva to support the design of a TES public policy and the implementation of the country’s signature Fábricas de Productividad program of technology extension.
Since 2017, the Innovation Ecosystems has trained a total of 155 Colombian professionals at Georgia Tech and assisted 40 companies in Colombia. The Fábricas de Productividad has served more than 3,300 companies since its launch in 2018. It is recognized as the largest and most successful national program of Technology Extension in Latin America and the Caribbean for its reach and impact in a short period of time.
Six Georgia Tech students spent the summer working on various economic development projects as embedded Enterprise 6 (E6) interns in the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2).
The six interns were selected from more than 200 students who applied for the slots for the inaugural internship cohort.
The 13-week, paid internship was funded by the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and open to all Tech undergraduate and graduate students.
As Georgia Tech’s economic development arm, EI2 is comprised of a dozen programs across a host of sectors ranging from manufacturing and technology entrepreneurship, to minority business and community and regional planning and development.
“We were really excited about this opportunity and grateful for the support from EVPR’s office,” said David Bridges, EI2’s interim vice president. “We had students from a variety of disciplines including industrial engineering and economics and city planning.
“One of our goals with this was to show these students how they could use what they are learning in the classroom and the skills they are learning all have uses and applications in economic development.”
The students worked on challenging projects that allowed them to use their skills and classroom learning and apply that to economic development initiatives.
Mansi Mahajan, a graduate student studying quantitative and computational finance, interned with the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, a public-private effort launched in 2020 to lead coordinated, statewide efforts to position Georgia as the technology capital of the East Coast.
“We’re building a fund for investing in social impact startups, so I developed the financial model for the process and how it would be forecasted and what the returns would be depending on our investments,” she said. “I hadn’t worked in the finance field as much as I did in this internship, so this I found very rewarding and it was a very great experience working with them.”
For Dylan Both, an economics major in the Ivan Allen College for Liberal Arts, the E6 opportunity was his first internship.
Both worked with the Center for Economic Development Research (CEDR), which works with local communities, governments, and regional economic development organizations on a variety of initiatives, including impact analyses reports, strategic planning, and professional development.
Both researched best practices that communities around the country developed following natural disasters to evaluate for a recovery and resilience plan being created for southwest Georgia.
“Southwest Georgia suffered from Hurricane Michael and COVID. I was finding similar areas, similar regions that suffered from a natural disaster. And whatever best practices we learned from those, we gathered them up, chose which ones would be a good fit, and wrote about it,” he said. “My favorite thing was doing actual meaningful work.”
See what all the students shared about their experiences as E6 interns:
Customer Profile The Economic Development Lab in the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) at Georgia Tech recently developed and launched the Associate Level Innovation and Technology Commercialization Professional (ITCP) course through Tech’s Professional Education program.
This asynchronous course contains the latest instruction of best practices in technology commercialization, and utilizes the Asia Pacific Economic Council (APEC)’s Handbook specifically developed for its members’ use and reference of technology commercialization practices. The International Technology Transfer Network (ITTN) developed this handbook at the request of the APEC. The Georgia Tech ITCP course launched its pilot cohort in March 2021. Working with ITTN, EDL was able to create the course and translate it into the Mandarin language for the Chinese speaking population that was identified as the intended test audience. Delivered on-line in China, the course targets Chinese professionals with two years or less of relevant professional experience in the field of technology commercialization. It is intended to provide Chinese researchers, innovators, technology transfer professionals, technology commercialization professionals, and others in the field with a fundamental understanding of how to:
feed more innovation and talent into research institutions and the local innovation ecosystem,
energize technology transfer practices with leading edge commercialization methods to insure that more innovation is successfully commercialized in the market and society in an equitable manner,
nurture the growth of local innovation ecosystems across a country to stimulate commercialization between industry, academia, government, and startups, and
foster cross-border collaborations to move innovation into global markets. The educational materials will be applicable to professionals regardless of size of economy, development status, and location (Asia, Europe, Africa, Americas, Oceania).
China was selected as the pilot location for a variety of both strategic and opportunistic reasons. China is a rapidly growing market for technology commercialization professionals with well over 100,000 potential ITCP students. As the world’s two leading economies, it is critical that the United States and China work together in practical ways to establish globally accepted best practices. This can be accomplished through the ITCP training program. The U.S. State Department, Tech’s EI2, and the International Technology Transfer Network (ITTN) were closely involved in developing and vetting the APEC Handbook of Technology Commercialization which has been a key underpinning of the pilot ITCP program. This handbook establishes a consensus on some of the most important terminology, best practices, and know-how for innovation and technology commercialization professionals around the world. In addition, the ITCP program is strategically aligned with Georgia Tech’s commitment to global service, international impact, and economic development. While the pilot course was launched in China, the intent is to establish the ITCP program as an international standard to level the playing field for smaller and less developed countries. These objectives are directly connected to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Particularly, goal 4 – to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; goal 8 – to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; goal 9 – to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation; and goal 17 – to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development, convergence of unique capabilities, global connections, and impactful opportunities. Finally, China is a thought and opinion leader in the region which could lead to a rapid and smooth expansion of ITCP to other Asia Pacific countries.
Solution As one of the largest and most comprehensive, university-based organizations in the world focused on the practice of innovation-led economic development and technology commercialization, Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute is globally recognized and uniquely qualified to champion the ITCP program. Additionally, Georgia Tech Professional Education has instructional design capabilities and technical framework for developing and delivering asynchronous remote learning at the scale needed in China. The city of Shenzhen is home to one of Georgia Tech’s flagship international campuses outside of Atlanta; the ITCP program will bring added reputational awareness and potential collaborations to this campus from across China. As Chinese is one of the strategic languages taught by Georgia Tech’s School of Modern Languages, the ITCP program will provide practical, cross-cultural, and enriching experiences for Tech graduate students learning Chinese, especially students enrolled in the Global Media and Cultures program.
Results Through this collaboration, the EI2 and ITTN teams have asynchronously executed four pilot cohorts containing 960 total students coming mainly from technology (40 percent), university, research and development (17 percent) and government (12 percent) careers. With an average student age of 36, and with more than half of all students having less than 5 years of experience, this program has been validated by its initial targeted audience. Even though this course targets students with almost no experience, students with vast experience also benefited from the course structure and content and reported they were not previously exposed to a formal and standardized course that covered the main topics a technology transfer professional should know. In terms of gender, the course has been almost equally attended by highly educated males and female students, with 11 percent of all students who participated in the pilot programs having a doctorate degree, 52 percent earning a master’s degree, and 31% having a bachelor’s degree. The role of entrepreneurs and startups in an innovation ecosystem (52 percent) and the role of universities and research institutes in an innovation ecosystem (57 percent) have been the two most learned topics and skills among the enrolled students. Nearly 80 of the total students who graduated from the ITCP course reported they were extremely likely (42 percent) and very likely (37 percent) to recommend this course.
In total, 785 Chinese learners have completed the ITCP Course to date and received a certificate from Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE).
Based on the positive feedback and interest in the technology commercialization topic expressed by the Chinese students, a principal level and senior level is under consideration for future development.
Georgia Tech’s Economic Development Lab and Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership programs work
with Colombian officials in design and implementation of productivity and competitiveness initiative.
Customer Profile The project started in January 2017 through a collaboration with the Private Council of Competitiveness (CPC). At the end of the second year, Confecámaras, the national Association of Chambers of Commerce, became the client together with Colombia Productiva, a program of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (MinCIT) under which Fábricas de Productividad was created. The current client is Confecámaras, a national entity that supports the Colombian Chambers of Commerce to promote competitiveness and regional development.
Colombia’s economy is the fourth largest in Latin America as measured by the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $327 billion (nominal, 2019). The country has experienced consistent economic growth over the last decade and policy makers have prioritized programs and initiatives to improve the quality of life and social well-being of citizens. To continue sustaining economic growth, National Development Plans, federal public policies, and several think-tank studies, have identified the increase of productivity as one the pillars for economic growth. Colombia needs to strengthen its innovation and productivity strategy to create the conditions necessary for companies to adapt technological advances, and for the sophistication and diversification of sectors and products. Technology Extension represents a foundational base in a country’s strategy to build an effective innovation, sophistication, and productivity system. As an instrument that seeks to close the information gap, build internal capacity, and connect to existing knowledge supply, Technology Extension equips companies with productivity tools that are essential for incremental innovation. At the same, the national government should complement existing knowledge supply with instruments, capacity building, infrastructure, and business reforms to promote competitiveness.
Colombia has launched prior Technology Extension pilots and initiatives between 2012 and 2016. The program Fábricas de Productividad was designed in 2018 by the MinCIT, Colombia Productiva, National Planning Department (DNP), Chambers of Commerce, and the CPC as a program that consolidated the different extension initiatives until that date. Fábricas seeks to scale the lessons learned from previous programs and implement a permanent model of extension services that is jointly operated with local Chambers of Commerce. The design followed a rigorous process of reviewing best practices at the national and international level, through close collaboration with the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership(GaMEP) and the Economic Development Lab (EDL), two programs of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Created in 1960, the GaMEP is dedicated to delivering comprehensive technical, management and research assistant to fuel growth and advance manufacturing in the state. EDL works with communities, governments, and universities, in Georgia and beyond, to strengthen their innovation economies.
Solution The initial scope of the collaboration with CPC was to conduct an assessment in four Colombian cities of the current programs and services available to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The assessment included a Survey of the Manufacturing Services Industry in the four cities, which was modeled on the GaMEP’s bi-annual survey. Following the completion of the initial assessment, the collaboration was expanded to include the following additional elements:
Public Policy and Strategic Advice for the design of the first national program of Technology Extension Services (TES), which was going to be modeled mainly after the GaMEP but also taking into consideration other international programs.
Capacity Building and Knowledge Transfer to build a critical mass of Colombian Extensionists to deliver TES to companies, not only in the capital area, but at a regional level.
The expanded collaboration included a TES pilot program in four cities. EDL and GaMEP experts traveled to Colombia for consulting and advisory meetings, and to provide on-the-job mentoring by shadowing the local extensionists in training and providing feedback to improve their skills. Additionally, EDL designed a series of boot camp training programs at Georgia Tech for a group of 45 Colombian delegates, including private and public sector officials and extensionists, with the goal to build capacity and transfer best practices about TES, public policy, and strategic aspects to create a national Technology Extension program.
Results Through this collaboration, the EDL and GaMEP teams contributed to the design and implementation of Fábricas de Productividad, which has become the flagship public-private initiative in Colombia to promote the productivity and competitiveness of SMEs. In total, 110Colombian Extensionists have completed a boot camp program at Georgia Tech and received a certificate from Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE). 40 SME firms in Colombia were assisted by Georgia Tech- trained extension professionals and shadowed by GaMEP staff during the pilot program.
Fábricas de Productividad has had a tremendous impact in Colombia. Between Fall 2018 and Fall 2020 (cycle one), the program’s impact was 10 times the impact of its predecessor programs by serving 1,305 companies, compared to 129 Companies served by the previous program. These companies reported productivity increases of 32.8 percent across various the metrics. The initiative has received $10 million public-private investment; 27 of Colombia’s 31 departments (the equivalent of a state in the U.S. commonwealth or state) participating, and 48 of the 57 Chambers of Commerce are implementing the program. Furthermore, Fábricas has built the first national database of TES professionals with a total of 366 Extensionists registered to date. A recent study conducted by Fedesarrollo (a non-profit center of economic and social research) on the effectiveness of the Fábricas de Productividad extensionists network, demonstrated outstanding results evidenced by a perception of high effectiveness and coherence with public policy. Compared with international references, Fábricas de Productividad has managed to consolidate a solid base in a few years of operation, with a wide network of experts, and a broad capacity to reach companies as in similar cases around the world.
The three-month project helped the city develop, plan short and long-term economic development goals for job growth, downtown revitalization
The Economic Development Research Program (EDRP) at the Georgia Institute of Technology finished a planning and revitalization initiative with the City of Woodbury, a community in West Georgia’s Meriwether County, under an agreement to help a coalition of civic and business leaders develop a strategic assessment plan to guide the city’s economic development efforts.
The strategic assessment process included an analysis of the community, starting with interviews with local and regional stakeholders. The assessment provides guidance on historic preservation as the city and local downtown development authority pursue redevelopment projects in some of Woodbury’s historic buildings in the central business district.
“The idea is by pursuing strategic redevelopment projects that make sense for Woodbury and leverage its assets, that will spur small business and job growth in downtown,” said Candice McKie, EDRP project manager. “One of Woodbury’s strengths is that it is attractive to people seeking a slower pace of life in a community that offers the benefits akin to being in a big city.”
The assessment’s findings help define Woodbury’s strengths and weaknesses and provides a vision to guide the city on attainable, effective actions to reach its short and long-term economic development goals. The strategic assessment also aided Woodbury with its application for a Rural Zone designation by Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs.
The project began in May 2020 and was completed in July 2020. The city submitted its application for its Rural Zone designation through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs in August 2020 and was awarded the designation in October 2020.
Located in Meriwether County’s southeastern quadrant, Woodbury sits within the Three Rivers Regional Commission area, a 10-county body that provides services to its member jurisdictions, including aging programs, workforce development, transportation, and local/regional planning.
Woodbury — which is a little more than two square miles in area and home to about 900 residents — is an hour’s drive south from Atlanta. Incorporated as a city in 1913, Woodbury’s downtown has a rich history. The community has statewide appeal, drawing tourists seeking rare antique finds, as well as outdoors enthusiasts who participate in waterfront recreational activities on the Flint River, located just a short trip to the east. Designated a “Broadband Ready” community by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), the city recently installed 1G internet service throughout the downtown area.
Even with Woodbury’s cultural and natural amenities, local officials say the city is ripe for revitalization. That is why the city sought to capitalize on its historic assets and redevelop the downtown and applied to the EDRP.
“Partnering with Georgia Tech to complete our Strategic Priorities Assessment for our community has highlighted our community’s sense of pride and ownership,” said Woodbury Mayor Steve Ledbetter. “Collectively, we can make a difference. We can revive our downtown, bring new businesses into our community, and show our Georgia pride in Woodbury. We’re excited about this opportunity and look forward to implementing the plan developed through the EDRP program.”
Funded through a U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center grant, EDRP serves rural and economically distressed communities in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee.
Powered by Georgia Tech’s Center for Economic Development Research (CEDR), EDRP leverages Tech’s assets to help communities engineer economic development success through affordable, in-depth research.
Communities that apply for a research grant have to commit local funds, based on ability to pay. That local funding maximizes resources and ensures community involvement through all research project phases. Some recent EDRP studies include projects in Walker, Grady, and Liberty counties.
Outcomes of the Study: As a result of Georgia Tech’s work, the City of Woodbury was designated by DCA as a “Rural Zone” community, which provides tax incentives for investment, rehabilitation, and jobs created. The city has since added four new businesses to its downtown and a manufacturing company inside the city, established a Historic Preservation Commission, joined the Georgia Main Street “Start-Up” program and hired a part-time Main Street program director, and has many other initiatives underway.