Georgia Tech Economic Development Administration University Center awarded $300K Grant

Lynne Henkiel hedshot

Lynne Henkiel is director of Georgia Tech’s Economic Development Administration University Center. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $300,000 CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s EDA University Center.

 

The grant will be used to boost the center’s capacity to support regional economic development strategies in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

“The Trump Administration is eager to allocate these essential CARES Act funds and deliver on our promise to help American communities recover from the impact of COVID-19,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement. “I am proud of the perseverance and strength shown by our communities coast to coast throughout this pandemic, and these funds will help provide Georgia with the necessary resources to make a swift and lasting economic comeback.”

 

The CARES Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump, provides EDA with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

EDA university centers marshal the resources found in colleges and universities to support regional economic development strategies in areas challenged with chronic and acute economic distress.

 

Tech was the first institution of higher learning to be designated an EDA University Center when the program was launched in the 1960s. It has been an EDA award recipient since inception — the only institute of higher learning with that distinction.

 

Tech’s EDA University Center, an offering of its economic development arm, the Enterprise Innovation Institute, will use the CARES Act funding to support three specific activities with businesses, communities, and entrepreneurs in Georgia:

 

  • Conduct, share, and disseminate applied research to address specific challenges or needs, or solve specific problems resulting from the economic impacts of coronavirus.
  • Provide technical assistance to entrepreneurs, businesses and communities to assist in their recovery efforts from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Assist communities in identifying, defining, and supporting their workforce talent with the goal of helping communities recover from the economic impacts of coronavirus.

 

“We always incorporate new, innovative approaches in working with our clients,” said Georgia Tech EDA University Center Director Lynne Henkiel. “Georgia businesses and communities are all dealing with the effects that COVID-19 on their operations and local economies. This funding will help support our work and development of programs and training for business and community leaders to evaluate and reassess their activities to help them get back up and operating quickly.”

 

Among some of the services that Tech’s EDA University Center will offer under grant include business counseling, feasibility studies, and resilience plans, as well as skills development and workforce training, among other offerings.

 

“This investment comes at a crucial time to help Georgia’s and our nation’s economy come roaring back and provide hard-working Americans with new opportunities,” said Dana Gartzke, performing the delegated duties of the assistant secretary of commerce for economic development. “We are pleased to make this investment in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute to respond to the coronavirus pandemic by assisting communities across Georgia develop short and long-term resilience plans with additional support for workforce development initiatives.”

 

In 2018, the most recent reporting data available, the EDA University Center at Georgia Tech worked with 13 clients and helped them save or create 57 jobs and secure more than $1.4 million in private and public sector investments.

Georgia Tech EDA University Center Study Leads to Federal Grant for Valdosta Business Incubator

Downtown Valdosta

Valdosta, Georgia.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded a $2.5 million grant to the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce to fund the construction of a new business incubator in that South Georgia community. The EDA grant, to be located in a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $1.7 million in local funds.

 

It is expected to help create up to 81 jobs and generate $9.7 million in private investment.

 

“The Trump Administration is committed to the resilience of local economies by encouraging companies to grow in designated opportunity zones,” Ross said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing how the new Valdosta Area Business Incubator will help a wide variety of businesses prosper in the region.”

 

The announcement follows a four-month analysis conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center in 2015 and 2016.

 

Funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, these university centers marshal the resources found in colleges and universities to support regional economic development strategies in areas facing chronic and acute economic distress.

 

The Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce contracted with Tech’s EDA University Center to conduct a community readiness assessment as the first step in pursuing its goal of a sustainable business incubation program. The chamber paid for a portion of the analysis and the Georgia Tech EDA University Center covered the remainder.

 

Business incubation provides entrepreneurs with an array of targeted business support resources and services in an effort to accelerate the successful development of startup companies.

 

But the development of a business incubation program requires a detailed plan of action that identifies the critical resources needed for success, provides a blueprint for its management, staffing, and how it will be funded and operated.

 

During the October 2015 – January 2016 timeframe, the Georgia Tech team conducted primary and secondary research to address three core areas of incubation strategy development: entrepreneurship and innovation, community and stakeholder support and resources and capabilities.

 

“We concluded that there was a demand and justification for a business incubation program and that the community should move forward with plans to develop it,” said Juli Golemi, senior project manager with Tech’s EDA University Center. “We provided the chamber with an analysis of the state of the ecosystem and identified several strategic initiatives for the organization to pursue to develop it.”

 

Golemi and her team identified 19 components, including strong and increasing entrepreneurial activity, existing infrastructure, academic institutions, and Moody Air Force Base, that made the idea a viable one.

 

The U.S. Commerce Department’s funding announcement covers a designated Opportunity Zone, as designated by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur economic development by giving tax incentives to investors in economically-distressed communities nationwide.

 

The project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southern Georgia Regional Commission (SGRC). EDA funds the SGRC to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.

 

Georgia Tech has been an EDA award recipient since the program’s inception in the 1980s — the only institute of higher learning with that distinction.

 

Tech’s EDA University Center’s mission is to support and lead activities designed to promote job creation, the development of high-skilled regional talent pools, business expansion in innovation clusters, and to create and nurture regional economic ecosystems in Georgia. In addition, the center conducts technology-related economic and policy research that will enhance Georgia’s competitive position.

 

In fiscal year 2019, Tech’s EDA University Center’s work helped save or create 38 jobs and led to private sector investment of $5.8 million in Georgia.

 

The Georgia Tech EDA University Center is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), which is Tech’s economic development and outreach arm.

STIP Selects Students for 2019 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Internship Program

The 2019 Class of Georgia Innovative Economic Development Internship Program students. From left: Karl Grindal, Ebney Ayaj Rana, STIP Program Director Jan Youtie, and Daniel Schiff. (Photos: Péralte C. Paul)

The Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) program at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute has selected the three students who are the 2019 Georgia Innovative Economic Development interns.

 

The 10-week, paid internship — open to any graduate student attending a University System of Georgia school — gives interns the opportunity to develop and pursue deep research in an economic development-related project.

 

At the end of the internship period, the interns, who will each receive a $6,000 stipend, will be able to present their findings to economic development and innovation groups.

 

“We have three excellent interns who went through a rigorous selection process and vetting from three statewide economic developers who are experts in their fields and are highly respected in Georgia’s economic development community,” said Jan Youtie, STIP program director. “All three are working on topics that are important to Georgia’s economic development future. I think what we will get out these internship research efforts will be seminal for the future of Georgia and we will look back in 5 or 10 years and say we learned a lot from these projects that helped the state go forward.”

 

The 2019 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Interns are:

 

KARL GRINDAL: rising 4th year Ph.D., Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy

  • Research Topic: Analyzing breach notification reports that companies fill out when they need to notify the public that customer data has been accessed or hacked by connecting those reports to corporate and industry level data to help answer questions about which types of companies are being targeted and in which states over time.
  • Reason: “The goal of collecting this data is to help with risk assessment. I was inspired to look at this data because it relates directly to how intellectual property is being stolen or how customer data is being lost. That affects trust in Georgia companies, so by being able to measure the effects of hacking both here in the state of Georgia and around the country on corporations, and ultimately, customers, we can hopefully reduce that exposure and help build trust and protect American innovations.”

 

DANIEL SCHIFF: rising 3rd year Ph.D., Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy

  • Research Topic: Looking at artificial intelligence (AI) policy strategies and AI ethics codes/guidelines coming from corporations, governments, and other organizations.
  • Reason: “I want to see what the challenges are we face in Georgia and possible solutions to them. AI has become an important emergent technology in the last five years and that’s spurred a lot of interest in innovation as well as the social, legal, political, and ethical implications. People are starting to worry about and think about how we are to approach these new technologies moving forward.”

 

EBNEY AYAJ RANA: rising 2nd year master’s, Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

  • Research Topic: How high-tech entrepreneurship among immigrants is growing in the state of Georgia compared with the United States overall, and how fiscal policies and economic development incentives can be mobilized even more for the betterment and fostering of immigrant-owned enterprises in the state of Georgia.
  • Reason: “The immigrant-owned, high-tech entrepreneurial enterprises are increasingly growing in other states and they’re outperforming the native born-owned enterprises and industries. So maybe if provided with appropriate economic development policies and with incentives, maybe we can help foster the growth of immigrant-owned, high-tech enterprises in the state of Georgia.”

Georgia Institute of Technology to assist University of South Africa in economic development effort

 

The University of South Africa (UNISA) is collaborating with the Georgia Institute of Technology to foster an innovation-focused, university-based economic development ecosystem is South Africa.

 

The agreement — solidified April 26, 2019 — calls for Tech’s assistance and guidance in the creation of an innovation ecosystem to support student entrepreneurship, curricular and extra-curricular programs, and faculty and student venture creation, as well as programs that small business development opportunities and industry engagement in South Africa. While South Africa is Africa’s second-wealthiest nation as ranked by gross domestic product, the country has an unemployment rate of 25 percent, one of the highest in the world.

 

“With this partnership, I am convinced that current and future generations will look back and say this was an intervention that turned the course of our university and communities through enterprise innovation,” said M.S. Makhanya, UNISA principal and vice chancellor at the . “This inspires us because we are very clear about the future we are building together.”

 

The effort comes after a delegation of UNISA educators spent two weeks in Atlanta to study Georgia Tech’s economic development group, the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2).

 

Comprised of a dozen programs, EIis the largest university-based economic development organization of its kind in the United States.

 

While on campus, the South African delegates met with various EIprograms, including the Advanced Technology Development Center, Georgia’s technology incubator, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which works with manufacturers to innovate, increase top-line growth and reduce bottom-line costs, and Innovation Corps., which prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and foster entrepreneurship. They also met with Georgia Tech’s Office of Industry Collaboration, and visited other economic development-oriented entities, including Georgia State University.

 

Leading the two-week immersion effort was EI2‘s Innovation Ecosystems program, which works with domestic and international communities, universities, and organizations to help them develop and implement entrepreneurship and business incubation programs, as well as ecosystem analysis, among other services. Innovation Ecosystems has done projects in the majority of Georgia’s 159 counties and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, as well as Peru, France, Algeria, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), an organization comprised of 21 countries that are mostly in the Asia-Pacific region.

 

“We have a three-pronged approach with this collaborative effort, ” said Juli Golemi, Innovation Ecosystems’ senior project manager. ” Our focus is to work with them to help them set up and build an innovation-centered ecosystem — one that’s built around students, faculty, and communities. The long-term goal is for that ecosystem to support and further expand sustainable innovation and economic growth.”

 

The project supports Georgia Tech’s overall mission and reflect’s its motto of progress and service, said Leslie Sharp, the Institute’s associate vice provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development. Sharp represented the Institute at the signing ceremony between the two schools.

“This partnership is symbolic of our motto and our commitment to being the technological university of the  21st century,” Sharp said. “This underscores the history of Georgia Tech and city of Atlanta. We can progress together.”

Applications now open for the 2019 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Internship Program

Graduate students have opportunity to further research in 10-week, paid summer internship at Georgia Tech.

 

Are you a graduate student attending a University System of Georgia school and interested in pursuing your own research opportunity that links science, technology, and innovation to economic development?

 

Supraja Sudharsan, a 2018 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Intern, is a doctoral candidate studying comparative urban governance in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.

Supraja Sudharsan, a 2018 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Intern, is a doctoral candidate studying comparative urban governance in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.

The Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) program at Georgia Tech is now accepting applications for the 2019 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Internship Program. (For details and requirements, apply here: stip.gatech.edu/apply/).

 

The highly competitive, 10-week, paid internship is designed to allow graduate students to further develop and pursue research in an innovative economic development project. At the end of the internship period, interns, who will receive a $6,000 stipend, will have an opportunity to present their project findings to economic development and innovation groups.

 

Applications will be accepted through Feb. 28, 2019 and the internship is open to any graduate student who has completed the first year of a two-year master’s program or enrolled in a doctoral program at a public university in the University System of Georgia.

 

Those accepted into the program will be notified by the end of March 2019.

 

STIP is a globally recognized program that conducts research-based policy analyses and reports of innovation policy, science, and technology for organizations and governments domestically and internationally.

 

“Students can delve deeply into their research and apply that analysis and study to real-world challenges,” said Jan Youtie, STIP program director.

 

“This is an excellent opportunity for enterprising students who want to explore how their own ideas can have an impact on any number of subject areas ranging from strategic or emerging technologies and economic modeling, to research commercialization and sustainability.”

 

Mirit Friedman is pursuing her master’s degree in city and regional planning at Georgia Tech’s School of City & Regional Planning.

Mirit Friedman, a 2018 Georgia Innovative Economic Development Intern, is pursuing a master’s degree in city and regional planning at Georgia Tech’s School of City & Regional Planning.

Former interns, such as Mirit Friedman, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in city and regional planning at Georgia Tech’s School of City & Regional Planning, say the experience is a rewarding one.

 

Her research explored ways in which the Atlanta Community Food Bank could activate its vast partnership network in new ways to better support its clients’ economic mobility.

 

“I was able to explore my research interests under the guidance of economic development experts and restricting the research to the summer period forced me to focus on an initial research question I could test and explore in the short period,” Friedman said, adding the program’s pace and structure was invaluable.

 

“We had to develop our research substantially each week and being held to that pace of research development helped prepare me for the demanding deadlines the workforce expects,” she said. “Additionally, having my research be pushed in directions I hadn’t anticipated required me to respond to and explore new ideas that ultimately helped me hone in on a more explicit research topic.”

 

Supraja Sudharsan, a doctoral candidate studying comparative urban governance in Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, echoed Friedman’s sentiments.

 

“I evaluated the smart city projects that have been piloted, underway or completed in three cities in Atlanta, Austin, and Pittsburgh,” she said. “By comparatively studying their plans, initiatives, associated partnerships, and the organizational process involved in their development and implementation, the study served to look beyond the hype of smart cities to understand how cities develop and implement smart city projects.

 

“The program provided exposure to organizational processes within city government organizations and the challenge of effecting change, which is an area of interest in my doctoral research.”

 

About the Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy program

The Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy program at Georgia Tech is an internationallyrecognized offering of the Georgia Institute of Technology that offers in-depth and critical research-based analyses of innovation policy, science, and technology to organizations and governments around the world. It is part of the Economic Development Lab at the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Tech’s economic development arm. Along with EI2, it is supported by the Georgia Tech School of Public Policy. Visit stip.gatech.edu to learn more.

Georgia Tech welcomes Bahamas delegation

Sidney S. Collie (left), the Bahamas' ambassador to the United States, makes point about the country's Tech Hub efforts during a visit to the Georgia Tech campus, Thursday, Oct. 25. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

Sidney S. Collie (left), the Bahamas’ ambassador to the United States, makes point about the country’s Tech Hub efforts during a visit to the Georgia Tech campus, Thursday, Oct. 25. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

The Bahamas is embarking on a plan designed to attract more investment to the country and foster entrepreneurship.

 

A delegation from the Caribbean nation, which included Sidney S. Collie, the Bahamas’ ambassador to the United States, is visiting the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) Oct. 25 and 26 to learn about the Institute’s economic development programming model and components of a successful innovation ecosystem.

 

EI2, comprised of a dozen programs, is the Institute’s economic development arm and its offerings include services in community and business development, entrepreneurship, and commercialization.

 

While on campus, the delegation, which also will meet with President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, met with Chris Downing, EI2vice president and director, who gave the group an overview of Georgia Tech’s economic development mission and how specific programs could help the Bahamian efforts.

 

David Bridges is director of  the Economic Development Lab at Georgia Tech's Enterprise Innovation Institute. (Photo: Péralte C.. Paul)

David Bridges is director of the Economic Development Lab at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. (Photo: Péralte C.. Paul)

David Bridges, director of EI2’s Economic Development Lab (EDL), discussed his group’s work in Puerto Rico. EDL helps communities and organizations adopt innovation-led economic development practices through community strategic planning, fiscal and economic impact analyses, innovation ecosystem development, technology extension services, soft landing programs, and innovation policy research.

 

EDL, which has led 72 projects across 16 countries worldwide, has done extensive work in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. It’s work on the Caribbean island has led to Puerto Rico receiving more than $11 million in investments and initiatives being infused into the ecosystem there.

 

Delegates also toured the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), the Institute’s statewide technology incubator, to learn how it help entrepreneurs across the state.

 

Astra Armbrister-Rolle (left), the Bahamas’ consul general in Atlanta and Sidney S. Collie, the Bahamas’ ambassador to the United States, listen as Georgia Tech economic development leaders discuss how the Institute partners with governments to build innovation ecosystems. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

Astra Armbrister-Rolle (left), the Bahamas’ consul general in Atlanta and Sidney S. Collie, the Bahamas’ ambassador to the United States, listen as Georgia Tech economic development leaders discuss how the Institute partners with governments to build innovation ecosystems. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

“Georgia Tech has garnered a reputation for being the big dog in technology, innovation, and accelerator programs,” said Astra Armbrister-Rolle, the Bahamas’ consul general in Atlanta. “You’re the best at it and we want to learn from the people who are on the cutting edge of these types of developments.”

 

Tech Hub, as the Bahamian initiative is called, is focused on the island of Grand Bahama and the plan to make it the country’s innovation center, Armbrister-Rolle said.

 

“It’s truly utilizing the space, the intellectual capital, and all the resources that we have there on that island to attract investors to set up businesses and also create an island that is tech-friendly as far as innovation and drive the government mandate of creating more entrepreneurs of Bahamians,” she said.

 

“The government has done some things to lay the infrastructure of what we believe will be an excellent and long-term program, at the same time, we’re reaching out internationally to partners like Georgia Tech and other universities to make it happen.”

Georgia Tech hosts Argentina IT delegation

(From left) Mary Waters, deputy commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development; Argentina Consul General Jorge Luis Lopez Menardi; Fernanda Yanson of the Argentina Investment and International Trade Agency, and Juli Golemi, manager of Georgia Tech’s Soft Landings Program. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

The Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), the Georgia Institute of Technology’s the economic development arm, hosted a delegation of 12 technology companies from Argentina, as part of a multi-city tour to study successful innovation ecosystems.

 

The 2018 Argentina IT Commercial Mission to Atlanta’s Sept. 18 visit, sponsored by the Consulate General of Argentina and the Argentine American Chamber of Commerce, is designed to give insight into the Atlanta economy and as part of the 12 companies’ longer-term goal of establishing U.S. operations, said Argentina Consul General Jorge Luis Lopez Menardi.

 

“They’re looking for places to come and explore the possibilities of doing business,” Lopez Menardi said. “We thought the best place for them to come especially regarding an IT  mission would be to come to Georgia Tech. The prestige of the university, the talent and the innovation they are promoting from here, we decided the best place to hold the mission would be here.”

 

While on campus, the group met with Juli Golemi, manager of the Soft Landings Program at EI2.

 

Juli Golemi, Georgia Tech’s Soft Landings Program manager, addresses some of the issues foreign companies wanting to do business in the United States face. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

Soft Landings, launched in 2018, is a Georgia Tech offering — through its Economic Development Lab (EDL) — that helps foreign companies that want to establish or increase their business operations in Georgia or better understand the U.S. economy. EDL helps communities and organizations apply innovative ideas to economic development in business incubation and commercialization, strategic planning, and economic sustainability.

 

Soft Landings, Lopez Menardi said, offers what the visiting companies need as they explore doing business in Atlanta and the United States. The group, which includes companies in financial technology, virtual reality, cybersecurity, and gaming, wants to “get to know the environment, how to do business here, and how companies procure here,” Lopez Menardi said, adding they will use what they learn on this fact-finding trip to better prepare them for possible U.S. expansion and connections with American companies.

 

“They will want to build top from that and come up again with a specific plan of business to offer different companies,” he said, adding the group, which will visit Tech’s incubator, the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), will also visit Chicago to learn about its innovation ecosystem.

 

In a panel discussion that included Mary Waters, deputy commissioner of international trade at the Georgia Department of Economic Development; Fernanda Yanson, a foreign trade consultant with the Argentina Investment and International Trade Agency; Lopez Menardi, and Golemi, attendees learned about the different components of Georgia’s successful ecosystem.

 

Among those components: strong public and private partnerships between state government and industry, a friendly business climate, inter-state agency collaboration, unique assets such as Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and economic diversification, Waters said.

 

Georgia Department of Economic Development Deputy Commissioner Mary Waters explains why Georgia’s focus on innovation is factors into the state being consistently ranked as one of the best places in which to do business. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

“Georgia’s economy is very diverse. We’re strong in agribusiness, we’re strong in aerospace, logistics, medical technologies, ICT, and automotive,” she said.

 

Underscoring that success model is technology, Waters said, noting the construction boom in Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood and how Georgia Tech plays a critical role in that innovation-driven growth and expansion.

 

“Home Depot, Anthem, Delta Air Lines, Mercedes-Benz — they’re all creating innovation certners here in Atlanta and here in Georgia to take advantage of the Georgia Tech talent that we have. Those are companies and expansions that were not on our radar 10 years ago that now underpin the heart and soul of the Atlanta economy and Georgia’s economy,” Waters said.

 

“Whether you’re talking about automation technology in the manufacturing space or whether you’re talking about tech in agriculture and agribusiness, or innovation in the development of new technologies that will change the world, Georgia is very much in the heart of that and it gets to the heart of what you’re going to hear from Juli and the rest of Georgia Tech and from the private companies you will meet.”

Georgia Tech Soft Landings Program accepting applications from foreign companies

Brandy Nagel

Innovation Ecosystems’ program manager Brandy Nagel, left, explains the various components of the business and customer relationship to a group of entrepreneurs.

Expanding a business is always an exciting endeavor. It is also a risky proposition, one full of questions, assumptions, and unknowns. While a company may have mastered the manufacturing of a product or service, its marketing, and distribution, that mastery correlates to a particular customer profile within a specific market.

 

The target customer in a new market may look the same, but may think differently and have different expectations about how something is purchased or distributed. In addition, expanding into a new country brings additional challenges, such as regulations that could be different. These unknowns make the expansion a risky, lengthy and costly process.

 

The Georgia Tech Soft Landings Program is designed for those foreign companies looking to come to the United States to reduce the risk of expansion into a new market by maximizing a company’s use of time and resources. (Applications are now open.)

 

Companies take different approaches to solve this issue. They may pay a consulting firm for a market research study. This may be an in-depth study from a statistical point of view, mixed with focus groups results and surveys. While these studies can provide great information, they do not develop skills or personal connections in the entrepreneur or company. Another approach involves sending a company representative to the new target country. This learning approach provides valuable direct contact with the clients and other partners. However, these trips tend to be lone missions without a clear path. This lack of structure usually slows the process down significantly and may not result in the desired outcome.

 

The Soft Landings program will build capacity in the participating entrepreneurs by providing a structured and systematic approach to exploring the potential expansion to the U.S. market. The Soft Landings program will educate entrepreneurs and company representatives in legal, operational, and other important requirements for operating in the U.S. It will also provide mentorship, guidance, and accountability as participants complete their own business plans with validated assumptions about their clients, partners, and distributors.

 

The Soft Landings program will make introductions to potential partners and professional service for additional guidance. The content and structured approach will help the entrepreneurs and companies answer questions, validate assumptions and eliminate unknowns, thus reducing the risk of expanding into the United States.

Economic Development Lab hosts Peruvian delegation seeking innovation development

Universidad del Pacifico's Emprende UP

Members of the Universidad del Pacifico’s Emprende UP, were at Georgia Tech to learn about entrepreneurial ecosystems and best practices for innovation development and support. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Economic Development Lab (EDL) hosted a group of 12 professionals from Peru’s Universidad del Pacifico who sought to get a better understanding of entrepreneurial ecosystems and best practices for innovation development and support.

 

The group represents the university’s Emprende UP, which serves as its center for entrepreneurship and innovation. Emprende UP runs pre-incubation, incubation, and acceleration programs at  the Universidad del Pacifico, a small, private Jesuit school and highly ranked in Peru and across Latin America.

 

“We chose Georgia Tech because the Tech model in entrepreneurship and innovation is similar to what we are doing in Peru,” said Javier Salinas, Emprende UP’s director. “At the end of our three days here, we recognized that we’re on the right track, but we can improve and refine our services for the Peruvian innovation ecosystem.

 

EDL, a program of Tech’s economic development arm, the Enterprise Innovation Institute, helps communities and organizations apply innovative ideas to economic development in business incubation and commercialization, strategic planning, and economic sustainability.

 

Economic Development Lab workshop

Brandy Stanfield-Nagel (right), program manager and faculty researcher at Economic Development Lab, discusses best practices techniques in startup development, with Diego Joseph Rengifo (left) and Carlos Zapata of Universidad del Pacifico’s Emprende UP. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

“The objective of this three-day immersion program at Tech was for the Emprende UP team to experience and learn from the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems here at the Institute and across Atlanta,” said Mónica Novoa, an EDL project manager.

 

“The group learned and acquired key insights and best practices by interacting with us, and with the invited speakers, entrepreneurs, and city officials through a series of intensive and experiential workshops.”

 

As part of that learning process, the Emprende UP team toured Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), which is the state’s technology incubator, and met with some of its startups in the financial technology (FinTech) sector.

 

The FinTech space was of particular interest because Emprende UP has spent the past 18 months developing an ecosystem around it and working with Peru’s banking regulators, leading financial institutions and international technology firms towards that initiative, Salinas said.

 

Beyond FinTech, the team focused on learning about other components that comprise successful innovation ecosystems, such as closer alignment with academics. They also saw how corporations seek to be near universities and tap into those schools’ research and innovation expertise.

 

In the past five years, more than 20 large corporations, including Delta Air Lines, AT&T, and Anthem, have opened corporate innovation centers in and around Technology Square to access the talents and technologies developed at Georgia Tech.

 

“The first takeaway is that we need to work more closely with the academia side — teachers and students,” said Martha Zúñiga, Emprende UP’s head of special projects. “The second takeaway is that Peru is just developing its innovation ecosystem and we have to support the growth of corporate innovation centers, because their inclusion is part of that ecosystem growth.”

 

EDL, which has had projects in 151 of Georgia’s 159 counties and more than six dozen initiatives in 9 countries, will be going to Peru in August as a follow up in continuing its ecosystem development work with Emprende UP.

Georgia Institute of Technology hosts Colombian delegation in technology extension workshops

EDL Colombia

A team of engineers and business professionals from Colombia are visiting the Georgia Tech campus as part of a week-long series of training workshops with the Economic Development Lab and the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership at Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Economic Development Lab (EDL) and the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) are hosting a group of 23 professionals from Colombia this week, consisting of engineers and business managers from the cities of Medellín, Cali, and Bucaramanga.

 

The group is accompanied by representatives of the Colombian Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (Confecámaras), and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism’s Program of Productivity Transformation. All are participating in a week-long training program in technology extension.

 

“This program is part of our ongoing collaboration with the Private Council of Competitivenessto design and implement a program of technology extension in Colombia,” said Mónica Novoa, an EDL program manager. “As part of the training program at Georgia Tech, the group is attending workshops facilitated by our GaMEPgroup in topics including lean manufacturing, energy management, innovation, and growth management.”

 

The program also includes a site visit to a manufacturing company in Georgia to observe its facilities and learn how it has implemented strategies to increase productivity and competitiveness.

 

EDL helps communities and organizations create jobs and become more competitive through the application of innovative ideas to economic development. Areas of expertise include business incubation and commercialization, strategic planning, and economic sustainability.

 

The GaMEP is a state and federally funded initiative and member of the national MEP network that is supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). GaMEP works with manufacturers across the state of Georgia and offers a low-cost, solution-based approach through coaching and education designed to increase top-line growth and reduce-bottom line costs.

 

Both programs are offerings of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, which is Georgia Tech’s economic development arm.