Georgia Institute of Technology launches the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge

Georgia Smart Communities Challenge

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Economic Development Research (CEDR) and its partners announce the launch of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge (Georgia Smart). The effort is the first statewide program to support local governments across Georgia with seed funding, technical assistance, and more as they plan and activate smart development.

 

Georgia Smart seeks proposals in the areas of smart mobility and smart resilience. Each of the four winning teams will receive direct grant funding of up to $50,000, as well as additional funds for research and technical assistance with a required local match.

 

The grants are made possible through funding from the Atlanta Regional Commission and Georgia Power Co. Also supporting this effort are the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, the Georgia Municipal Association, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Centers for Innovation, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, and the Technology Association of Georgia.

 

Two of the winning teams will be from rural communities and the other two from more urban Georgia cities.

 

“We’ve spent the past year in workshops and dialogue with local governments across Georgia to better understand their challenges and priorities. From these communications, we developed a program that is sensitive to the local context while fast-tracking smart communities,” said Debra Lam, managing director of Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Tech. “We aim to create more models for smart development that can be shared and applied across the state and beyond.”

 

The first program of its kind in the United States, Georgia Smart brings together an unprecedented coalition of university, industry, and public sector partners to support local governments’ adoption of cutting-edge technologies in their communities. The program is also unique in that it extends beyond large cities to smaller communities whose voices have not been as prominent in smart community development and who may not have access to technology resources.

 

The Georgia Smart initiative is open to all communities in Georgia. Local Georgia governments of any size — cities, counties, or consolidated city-county governments — will lead selected teams. Georgia Smart will provide seed funding and access to technical assistance, expert advice, and a network of peers. A Georgia Tech researcher will assist and advise each team and conduct research in support of the community’s needs and goals.

 

CEDR will provide strategic planning and facilitation assistance to the recipients of the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge grants, and help those communities activate their smart community plans. For more information on the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, please contact Leigh Hopkins, senior project manager with Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) at 404.894.0933 or email ude.hcetag.etavonninull@snikpoh.hgiel.

 

Comprised of a dozen programs, including CEDR, EI2 is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization, and economic development.

 

“This is a chance for communities — both urban and rural — to look at ways of moving their economies forward by focusing on ideas centered on innovation, transportation, and broadband infrastructure among other economic development opportunities,” Hopkins said. “We’re looking forward to working with the winning teams and help them develop their ideas.”

 

Georgia Tech and its partners will work with the winning teams throughout the year on implementing their proposals, creating four testbeds of smart community development. For more information on applying for the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge, visit: http://smartcities.gatech.edu/georgia-smart.

Georgia Institute of Technology offers temporary office space to entrepreneurs from Puerto Rico

Entrepreneurs and innovators can tap into Technology Square ecosystem as
Caribbean island recovers from Hurricane Maria’s devastation.

 

A delegation of business and education leaders visited the Georgia Tech campus recently to learn about the Institute’s economic development initiatives and programs.

The Georgia Institute of Technology will offer more than 2,000 square feet of office space — for a four-month period beginning in February 2018 — to entrepreneurs and innovators from the island of Puerto Rico, who are still reeling from the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria.

 

 

The Institute will host up to 10 companies — roughly two people each — in Class A office space during that four-month period. The space offering is made possible via Georgia Advanced Technology Ventures Inc., a non-profit organization and Tech affiliate.

 

 

Eligible entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply during the offering period via this link: https://goo.gl/N3Rst8.

 

 

Walter Alomar, president of the Universidad
de Puerto Rico’s board of directors, stands with Gloria Viscasillas, Banco Popular of Puerto Rico’s vice president of economic development programs, David Bridges, director of Georgia Tech’s Economic Development Lab, and Glorimar Ripoll, Puerto Rico’s chief innovation officer. (Photo by Péralte Paul)

The initiative follows a November 2017 visit to Georgia Tech by a delegation of the Echar Pa’Lante (Move Forward), a multi-sector alliance based in Puerto Rico and comprised of business and government leaders and educators.

 

 

David Bridges, director of Georgia Tech’s Economic Development Lab (EDL), the program that hosted the delegation, said the offering follows years of work with partners on the island to develop Puerto Rico’s startup ecosystem.

 

 

EDL, a program of Georgia Tech’s economic development arm, the Enterprise Innovation Institute, assists governments, communities, foundations, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in fostering value creation by applying innovative ideas, technology, and policy to initiatives focused on fostering economic growth.

 

 

“One of the most critical needs for entrepreneurs on the island is space and reliable access to energy and telecommunications. By temporarily relocating here, they can continue operations while the situation improves in Puerto Rico,” Bridges said. “By working in Tech Square, they will have the opportunity to interact with our ecosystem and network, which could lead to potential new business opportunities.”

 

 

The temporary space offering follows more than five years of work EDL has done in partnership with universities, private organizations, non profits, and the Puerto Rican government in building the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem of the island.

 

 

Through those longstanding efforts in Puerto Rico, EDL’s work with its partners on the island has resulted in more than $9 million in initiatives and investments being infused into the island’s startup ecosystem.

 

 

The delegation of more than two-dozen visitors to the Tech campus included Gloria Viscasillas, Banco Popular of Puerto Rico’s vice president of economic development programs and Echar Pa’Lante leader, Silvio López (BSCE ’79), Banco Popular senior vice president, Walter Alomar, president of the Universidad de Puerto Rico’s board of directors, and Glorimar Ripoll, the island’s chief innovation officer.

 

 

“To have this partnership with Georgia Tech where we can bring our companies and startups to Georgia Tech is very helpful,” Alomar said. “We’re going to continue to send people here, we’re going to continue to share our experiences, and we want to continue to develop this relationship because Georgia Tech is a very good example of what we want to achieve in Puerto Rico with the Universidad de Puerto Rico.”

 

 

Alomar and the other delegates were on campus Nov. 27 and 28 to learn about the Institute’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem and its impact on metro Atlanta and Georgia’s economic development. They also learned about the various components that comprise a successful innovation ecosystem model.

 

 

“As chief innovation officer of the government of Puerto Rico, I am both inspired by and committed to being a part of this multidisciplinary team — including Georgia Tech,” Ripoll said, “that will make this innovation ecosystem a reality in Puerto Rico.”

 

 

On Sept. 20, 2017, a category 4 storm, Hurricane Maria, hit Puerto Rico. The ensuing 155-mile-per-hour winds and catastrophic flooding destroyed the island’s electrical grid and plunged it into darkness.

 

 

The natural disaster came as the island was already dealing with a debt crisis of more than $73 billion.

 

 

The visit to Georgia Tech and temporary space offering is part of a strategy to support Puerto Rico’s economic recovery. The University Allies of Echar Pa’lante, a Banco Popular effort, established a goal to work together on an initiative called the “Block Project.” Under that project, EPL Universities Allies will collaborate to support entrepreneurs and create economic development activity in the communities that surround university campuses across Puerto Rico.

 

 

EPL launched a partnership in 2015 with Georgia Tech to train 800 university professors on evidenced-based entrepreneurship. The long-term goal is that EPL-member schools, which include Universidad de Puerto Rico–Mayaguez and the Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico, will collaborate to create economic development activity adjacent to their respective campuses.

 

 

Rafael L. Bras, Georgia Tech provost, greets the Puerto Rico delegation and shares a light-hearted exchange with the group. (Photo by Péralte Paul)

During their visit to Tech, the delegates met with Provost Rafael L. Bras, among other campus leaders, and toured a number of Institute programs and facilities, including the Invention Studio and the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC). They also met with leaders from corporate innovation centers at Tech and received an update on the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) $20 million engineering research center project.

 

 

Led by Georgia Tech, the NSF Engineering Research Center for Cell Manufacturing Technologies (CMaT) includes a group of universities — Universidad de Puerto Rico–Mayaguez among them — that will work closely with industry and clinical partners to develop transformative tools and technologies for the consistent, scalable and low-cost production of high-quality living therapeutic cells.

 

 

The CMaT and project as well as the Economic Development Lab’s efforts underscore the longstanding ties between Georgia Tech and Puerto Rico. The relationship goes back to 1895, when the Institute accepted the first group of students from the island, then under Spanish rule.

 

 

Most recently, in 2016, Tech conferred 20 degrees to students from Puerto Rico, and there are currently 62 students enrolled at the Institute.

 

 

“We are particularly interested in understanding the role that a university, such as Georgia Tech, plays in economic development and how it has specifically helped to accelerate and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem here,” Viscasillas said.

 

 

“We are really interested in deepening our understaning of the Georgia Tech model to see what we can do and how we can execute on that model both for development of entrepreneurship within a university and the resulting impact on a community in developing entrepreneurs and helping companies to develop entrepreneurship and growth from within.”

 

 

About the Economic Development Lab (EDL)

Economic Development Lab, an economic development program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, helps communities and organizations apply innovative ideas to economic development. Areas of expertise include business incubation and commercialization, strategic planning, and economic sustainability. EDL helps communities create jobs and become more competitive, by advancing innovation-led economic development by providing expertise and connections to Georgia Tech research and resources. For more information, visit edl.gatech.edu.

 

 

About the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2)

The Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) is the Georgia Institute of Technology’s economic development unit. It is charged with fulfilling Georgia Tech’s mission and goals of expanded local, regional, and global outreach. EI2 is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization, and economic development. EI2 is creating the next innovation economy, not only for Georgia, but beyond. EI2’s expertise and reach are global in scope, with its programs in innovation, entrepreneurship, and ecosystem development serving governments, universities, nonprofits, and other organizations worldwide. To learn more, visit innovate.gatech.edu.

Entrepreneurship group recognizes Enterprise Innovation Institute with award

InBIA Award

From left, Charles Ross, vice president for economic development and community at Kennesaw State University; Juli Golemi, senior project manager at EI2‘s Innovation Ecosystems program, and Kirstie Chadwick, InBIA’s president and CEO.

The International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), a global non-profit organization that serves entrepreneurship centers, program managers, directors, and policymakers in guiding and developing sustainable entrepreneur support programs, awarded the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) for being a longtime and dedicated member of the organization.

 

EI2 is the Georgia Institute of Technology’s chief business outreach and economic development organization. Its mission — through a comprehensive suite of programs and offerings — is to help business, industry, entrepreneurs, and economic developers across Georgia grow and remain competitive.

 

EI2 been an InBIA member for more than 30 years.

 

The award was presented at InBIA’s International Conference on Business Incubation in Seattle, Washington, which was held in late March 2017.

 

InBIA recently named EI2 a Soft Landings site, a designation which recognizes entrepreneurship centers that excel in providing international companies with various services to ensure a smooth landing in the United States.

Georgia Tech marks 50 years of economic development education

BEDC 50th Anniversary SliderSince its inception in 1967, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Basic Economic Development Course (BEDC) has prepared more than 3,100 economic developers from around the world for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) certification exam. The certification is considered an essential component of a career in economic development.

 

The BEDC, a joint offering of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) and the Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE), celebrates its 50th year in 2017. The initiative educates participants on the fundamentals and emerging concepts of comprehensive economic development. This 50th anniversary event being held from March 21 to March 24, focuses on economic resilience and building capacity for strong communities, features Rodrick Miller, CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) and economic resilience expert, as keynote speaker.

 

As part of the course, participants will explore 10 core economic development subject areas, ranging from marketing to ethics. They will also network with peers and learn about best practices from some of the nation’s leading economic development experts.

 

“Through the BEDC, participants have learned ways to create wealth for individuals, business and communities, and to promote economic well-being and an improved quality of life for their communities,” said Leigh Hopkins, BEDC course administrator. “Georgia Tech has equipped thousands of economic developers with the tools and skills needed to address problems such as unemployment, poor quality of life and post-disaster economic recovery.”

 

The BEDC is one of many professional development courses and certifications working professionals can take at GTPE. “As the lifelong learning arm of Georgia Tech, we have been serving the needs of adult learners for over a century by bringing innovative, impactful programs tailored to their needs,” said Nelson Baker, dean of GTPE.

 

In addition to the BEDC, economic developers can take other IEDC courses this April, June, August, and November at GTPE.

 

About Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE)

Georgia Tech Professional Education, an academic division of the Georgia Institute of Technology, offers professional development courses, certificate programs and master’s degrees in a variety of formats to meet the needs of working professionals and industry partners in STEM and business fields worldwide. We educate over 22,000 individual learners representing close to 3,000 companies annually. For more information, visit pe.gatech.edu.

 

About the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2)

The Enterprise Innovation Institute is Georgia Tech’s business outreach organization and serves as the primary vehicle to achieve Georgia Tech’s goal of expanded local, regional, and global outreach. Its core mission is to help business, industry, entrepreneurs, and economic developers across Georgia grow and remain competitive. For more information, visit innovate.gatech.edu.