David Bridges Selected for Prestigious Fulbright Specialist Roster

Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) Vice President David Bridges has been named to the U.S. Department of State’s Fulbright Specialist Roster for a tenure of three years.

EI2 VP David Bridges (Photo: Peralte Paul)

The Specialist program is part of the larger Fulbright exchange offerings that include Fulbright Scholars and is housed in the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and World Learning. The program pairs U.S. academics and professionals with institutions abroad to share expertise, strengthen relations, hone skills, gain international experience, and learn about other cultures.

Bridges, who as EI2 vice president, runs the nation’s largest university-based economic development organization, becomes the 10th Georgia Tech staff member to earn that distinction. He is the second Georgia Tech researcher connected to EI2 to be named a Fulbright Specialist.

Since joining Georgia Tech in 1994, Bridges has worked in various practice areas serving manufacturing firms, national labs, international governments, and innovation ecosystems. He has been a Principal or Co-Principal Investigator on over $32 million in grants and has authored, co-authored, or significantly contributed to more than $142 million in winning proposals. Bridges has won more than 100 proposals from U.S. federal agencies, plus universities, governments, and nonprofits around the world. He is a Principal Research Faculty member and a frequent lecturer and keynote speaker in China, South Africa, and across Latin America on nascent, innovation ecosystem building.

“I’m excited to share the ecosystem building model we have developed at EI2 to help foster innovation around the world,” Bridges said. “It’s an opportunity to demonstrate the power of collaboration to fuel the economy and help improve the lives of people across the globe.”

As a Specialist, Bridges is eligible to be matched with projects at host institutions in more than 150 participating countries. During his tenure on the roster, he will pursue projects in Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe, areas where he has previously done work in support of entrepreneurship and ecosystem building.

EI2 Global Hosts South African Delegation at Georgia Tech

UNISA group photo
EI2 Global hosted a delegation of faculty and administrators from the University of South Africa from April 24 to May 2, 2023 as part of an economic development ecosystem building initiative. (PHOTO: Péralte Paul)

EI2 Global recently hosted a delegation of about 10 faculty and administrators from the University of South Africa (UNISA). The purpose of the visit was to observe Georgia Tech’s and Atlanta’s innovation ecosystem and learn about entrepreneurship and innovation programs.

The visit is part of an ongoing collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology to foster an innovation-focused, university-based economic development ecosystem is South Africa.

That collaboration — launched in April of 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.

During their nine-day visit, the delegates learned about the components of successful economic development ecosystems and learned about different programs, including the Center for MedTech Excellence, the Advanced Technology Development Center — both sister programs to the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s EI2 Global — and the economic development team in Georgia Tech’s Institute Relations. They also met with representatives of the Georgia Department of Economic Development about its Center of Innovation model, and The University Financing Foundation on its infrastructure development strategy.

While South Africa has the continent’s third-largest economy as ranked by gross domestic product, the country’s unemployment rate is 30 percent — the highest in Africa and one of the highest in the world.

A program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, EI2 Global is charged with fostering economic opportunity around the world through inclusive, sustainable, impactful collaborations with universities, innovators, governments, and nonprofit organizations.

The EI2 Global team offers a comprehensive set of tools to support entrepreneurship and innovation initiatives as important ways to promote local economic growth in communities.

Georgia Tech Launches Innovation Center in Colombia

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute opened its first comprehensive innovation hub in South America — the Medellín Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center.

University, nonprofit organization, and corporate partners joined leaders from Georgia Tech at the opening of the Medellin Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center

The launch, on March 24, followed several years of the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s collaborative work in Latin America, including in Colombia. Efforts there have brought together private industry, higher education, and economic development organizations to help grow economies.

The new center is the fourth for Georgia Tech, which also has innovation centers in Panama, Singapore, and China.

“Medellín holds much promise and great potential as an incubator for business expertise,” Juli Golemi, director of EI2 Global, said of the city’s selection. “I’m excited to see how this center helps boost economic development in the area.”

Startups — especially ones that are scaling rapidly — will have the potential to generate faster job growth and economic development for Medellín and its entire region. Georgia Tech and its partners are working at the center to identify and mitigate the most immediate constraining factors that limit the innovation ecosystem.

“Among the first activities of the Medellín Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center are to work collaboratively and hands-on on the most immediate key factors identified by Georgia Tech and its partners to help the ecosystem grow and prosper,” said Viviana Montenegro, program manager with EI2 Global. “It is very rewarding to see the local commitment and support for this initiative.”

The center will coordinate regular events, deliver courses, provide training programs to address gaps and boost the city’s talent opportunities, and bring together resources to support the Medellín entrepreneurship community. As a part of Georgia Tech, the center will connect the Medellín community to the Institute’s vast resources including world-class research, state-of-the-art facilities, internationally recognized experts, and top student talent.

This initiative is supported by corporate and university partners Bancolombia, Celsia, Globant, Crystal, Sura, Comfama, Conconcreto, ProAntioquia, Microsoft, TCC, Cámara de Comercio de Medellín para Antioquia, Alianza Team, Iluma, Universidad CES, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, Universidad EIA, and Universidad EAFIT.

“The center’s vision is to build strong and lasting multilateral collaborations across sectors, including nonprofit organizations, universities, startups, and corporations,” said David Bridges, Enterprise Innovation Institute vice president. “Together, these groups will bring greater awareness of entrepreneurs and innovators as an integral part of Medellín’s economy.”