I-Corps South hosts group from Mexico for entrepreneurship training academy

I-Corps South I-Corps Mexico

Georgia Tech’s I-Corps South program hosted team of instructors from Mexico for two days of training and education to learn about entrepreneurship processes in commercializing their research. (Photo: Miriam Huppert)

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s I-Corps South program recently hosted 17 university-based instructors from Mexico for a two-day training session to teach them the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and how to build and maintain such programs at their schools.


“This is the I-Corps South Instructor Academy, which prepares instructors on how to teach the I-Corps methodology,” said Melissa Heffner, an I-Corps program manager.


The instructors came under the sponsorship of the National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT), which is charged with coordinating and promoting Mexico’s scientific and technologic development, she said.


I-Corps South is a partnership of Georgia Tech, the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business.


Keith McGreggor I-Corps South

Keith McGreggor (standing), executive director of I-Corps South at Georgia Tech, leads an education session on entrepreneurship. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

Its main objective is to provide entrepreneurs in the Southeast and Puerto Rico with consistent instruction on the principles of evidence-based entrepreneurship, said Keith McGreggor, I-Corps South’s executive director.


With universities, I-Corps South offers the tools, support, and resources required to launch and maintain high-quality evidence-based entrepreneurship programs across the Southeast and Puerto Rico.


While university researchers often develop great ideas, they don’t always know how to take their findings from the lab to the marketplace, McGreggor said.


I-Corps Mexico — created in 2012 and based on the U.S.’s  National Science Foundation’s model — aims to ensure that research developed by scientists in Mexico lead to greater societal impact. The I-Corps Mexico program was the first time that the training model was applied outside the United States.


“Mexico’s I-Corps program recently expanded to 8 nodes from 5 and CONACYT wanted a more formal program for this expansion,” Heffner said, explaining why the organization selected Georgia Tech’s program to conduct the training for the Mexican instructors.


“I-Corps South first offered a training course in 2016, and since then we’ve built out and augmented the program,” Heffner said. “To date, we’ve offered the program six times and have trained 25 instructors from 11 different universities.”


Additionally, I-Corps South has been asked to submit a proposal to the NSF to develop and conduct training courses for NSF I-Corps Sites instructors across the United States, at more than 80 sites.

Georgia Tech to launch health technology initiative at the Advanced Technology Development Center

NASCO’s gift to the Institute will support development

of health technology entrepreneurs and startups in Georgia.


NASCO, a leading provider of information technology products and services designed to help healthcare payers across the United States address unique business challenges and revolutionize business operations, is making a significant commitment to Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) to create a new initiative for entrepreneurs in healthcare-focused technology.


The ATDC Health Technology (HealthTech) Program is slated to formally launch in July and Atlanta-based NASCO’s gift will provide the initial funding to support the current and future HealthTech startups in ATDC’s portfolio. The initiative is the third of its kind at ATDC and follows other gifts used to launch programs in the financial and retail technology sectors.


“NASCO views this partnership with the ATDC and the launch of the HealthTech initiative as critical to our mission to deliver innovative health services and to support the Georgia healthcare and technology communities,” said David Weeks, NASCO’s chief technology officer. “Healthcare is a highly interconnected ecosystem, and new technologies are helping us to both reduce customer friction and improve health outcomes. The HealthTech vertical will be a key incubator of new ideas to enable these changes.”


In addition to one-on-one coaching and resources for commercial success, the funds also will support healthcare-focused commercialization workshops, hackathons, and hosting industry thought leaders in healthcare innovations in regulation, production, and manufacturing.


The more than 40 startups in ATDC’s current HealthTech portfolio are building companies with innovative approaches to population health, caregiver support, billing fraud, precision medicine, genomics, medical devices, diagnostics, data analytics, and process improvements in drug research.


“Healthcare systems across the U.S. as well as the patients in their care continue to explore ways to leverage innovation and technology to reduce costs, improve patient satisfaction, eliminate waste, increase access, and improve outcomes,” said Kirk Barnes, ATDC’s HealthTech catalyst and who spearheaded the development of this initiative. “We are extremely excited about the partnership with NASCO. The company embraces innovation and technology to improve the way that healthcare is delivered.”


The NASCO partnership will help the Georgia economy by helping entrepreneurs launch viable companies in the state, said ATDC Interim Director Jane McCracken.


“We look forward to working with NASCO to establish this program for HealthTech entrepreneurs,” McCracken said. “We will leverage NASCO’s market knowledge and that of other leading companies in the sector. Combined with Georgia Tech’s expertise and organizations throughout the state, we will help entrepreneurs develop and bring to market dynamic, leading-edge technologies that will benefit healthcare providers, payers, and patients.”



NASCO provides an integrated suite of information technology products and services that help healthcare payers address unique business challenges and revolutionize business operations. Owned by and exclusively serving Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans for more than 30 years, NASCO provides seamless benefit management, eligibility, membership, billing and claims processing support for Blue Plans, allowing them to provide competitive healthcare products in federal, state and multistate markets for nearly 25 million members. NASCO’s partnership with multiple Blue Plans cultivates a community that fosters the collaboration needed to promote innovation, deliver shared solutions and create a competitive cost advantage. NASCO is shaping the future of healthcare IT. For more information, visit nasco.com.


About Georgia Tech

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world’s premier research universities. Georgia Tech is a national and international leader in scientific and technological research and education and is the nation’s leading producer of engineers as well as a leading producer of female and minority engineering Ph.D. graduates. Ranked among the top public universities by U.S. News & World Report, the Institute enrolls more than 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students in fields ranging from engineering, computing, and sciences, to business, design, and liberal arts. For additional information, visit gatech.edu.


About the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)

The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology, is the state of Georgia’s technology startup incubator. Founded in 1980 by the Georgia General Assembly which funds it each year, ATDC’s mission is to work with entrepreneurs in Georgia to help them learn, launch, scale, and succeed in the creation of viable, disruptive technology companies. Since its founding, ATDC has grown to become one of the longest running and most successful university-affiliated incubators in the United States, with its graduate startup companies raising $3 billion in investment financing and generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia. To learn more, visit atdc.org.

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 Tech marks startup expansion milestone with visit from Lt. Governor Casey Cagle

Chris Downing (left), vice president of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, shows a new suite of offices to (from left) ATDC Assistant Director Jane McCracken, Ga. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, and Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. The office expansion is designed to meet growing service needs of Tech’s startup programs, ATDC, VentureLab, and CREATE-X. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

In a 2016 visit to the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle challenged the state’s tech startup incubator to double the number of resident startups it served in Atlanta and the rest of the state.


Two years later, ATDC — a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology — not only met the challenge, but has exceeded initial expectations, with more than 180 companies now in its Signature and Accelerate portfolios across the state.


The growth has led to an expansion of ATDC’s offices in Technology Square to accommodate that demand. The creation of new suites at ATDC’s second floor offices in the Centergy Building — and expansion onto the third floor — allows for the incubator to house an additional 25 resident startups.


Cagle was on the Tech campus in a May 8 reception to mark the milestone, visit with some ATDC startup company CEOs, get an update on the Engage venture fund and growth accelerator, and to learn more about the innovation ecosystem that also includes the Institute’s VentureLab, CREATE-X, and Flashpoint programs.


His visit was part of a weeklong series of events taking place during Tech Square Innovation Week, which celebrated Tech Square as a hub of ideation.


Ga. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, during a visit to Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Develpment Center, discusses how technology startup entrepreneurship programs such as ATDC and VentureLab incubators are to giving new economic development opportunities to communities across Georgia. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

“Entrepreneurship is critically important to what the new economy is going to look like,” Cagle said during his visit. “I am thrilled to be with you here today and I can’t tell you how proud I am of each and every single person here. We’re just getting started and we’re going to take Georgia to even higher levels than we ever imagined, and you are the very reason for that.”


The expansion underscores the explosion of demand for ATDC’s services not only in Atlanta, but across the state, including Athens, Augusta, and Savannah.


“We were able to meet that demand in part because we received an increase in state funding — thanks to Lt. Governor Cagle’s leadership — that allowed us to increase our services and statewide reach,” said Chris Downing, vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Tech’s economic development arm whose programs include ATDC.


In 2017, ATDC’s portfolio companies raised $130 million in investment capital and in the in the first quarter of 2018, they attracted more than $33 million in investment dollars to the state.


Jane McCracken, ATDC’s assistant director, explains how the incubator’s portfolio companies raised $130 million in investment dollars in 2017 and about $33 million in the first quarter of 2018. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

“All of the ATDC’s work — the coaching, connections and community building — further establishes Georgia’s reputation a leading place for entrepreneurs and technology companies to flourish,” said Jane McCracken, ATDC’s assistant director. “That means jobs, additional funding and increased revenues, which benefit all of Georgia’s citizens.”


Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, who welcomed Cagle to campus, said ATDC’s success is just one of the many successful components in the Institute’s technology startup support.


Other programs include CREATE-X, a faculty-led initiative that helps students pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.


VentureLab collaborates with Institute faculty and students to create startups based on Tech research. Flashpoint is a startup accelerator, and Engage is an independent, early-stage venture fund and growth program.


The additional office spaces will allow for greater collaboration and partnership between ATDC, VentureLab and CREATE-X.


Keith McGreggor (left), director of Georgia Tech’s VentureLab program, gives Ga. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle an overview of the incubator and explains how its companies raised $125 million in investment dollars in 2017. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)


“This success all around Tech Square has been possible largely due to state support, and the lieutenant governor’s vision for fostering innovation in the state,” Peterson said.


“Thanks to increased state funding to ATDC and establishment of the Invest Georgia fund, we can continue to foster home-grown innovation. We are dedicated to helping keep these entrepreneurs in Georgia.”

Georgia Institute of Technology launches initiative to assist international companies seeking to do business in Georgia

14-week Soft Landings Program helps companies understand U.S. market.


The Georgia Institute of Technology has created a program to help foreign companies that want to establish or increase their business operations in the state as well as get a better understanding of the U.S. economy.


The Soft Landings Program is a 14-week-long series of educational instruction workshops to help companies quickly and efficiently assess multiple key factors to assist them in deciding if expansion in the U.S. makes sense, and if so, how.


The effort is focused specifically on foreign small and medium-sized enterprises that want to do business in Georgia.


“Georgia is open for business and as a designated Soft Landings site by the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), we will be working with international companies that want to expand operations here by helping them identify and assess the critical factors affecting that decision,” said Lynne Henkiel, director of innovation ecosystems practices at Innovation Ecosystems. An offering of Tech’s Economic Development Lab (EDL), Innovation Ecosystems works with communities and organizations to analyze and apply innovation-based ideas that drive economic development.


“Our Soft Landings Program will equip them with the tools and tap into our economic development resources by leveraging our education, government, and business relationships.”


Among what participants will learn or receive:


  • Lean Startup Methodology and Customer Validation techniques.
  • Access to experts in the fields of accounting, labor and immigration laws, mergers and acquisitions, and site selection, among others.

While the program will be offered in the spring and the fall in an online, cohort-based model, participants will come to Atlanta for one week of intensive instruction and immersion in Atlanta. There will be follow-up mentorship post-visit.


The program follows InBIA’s designation of Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) as a Soft Landings site in 2017. EI2 is Georgia Tech’s business outreach and economic development unit and its dozen programs include EDL.


The Soft Landings designation recognizes entrepreneurship centers that excel in providing international companies with various services to ensure a smooth landing in the United States.


In creating the program, EDL will be working with its state and local economic development partners, including the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Invest Atlanta, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ Office of International Affairs, and consular offices and trade agencies representing several countries.


“Georgia is a hub of economic development and it continues to attract a lot of interest and investment from foreign companies,” said Juli Golemi, manager of EDL’s Soft Landings Program. “But those firms don’t always know how to navigate the process of establishing operations here. This program that we developed will give companies the critical tools, knowledge, and insight to do that.”


Enrollment for the spring cohort is now open until May 17, 2018 and the cohort will begin on May 31, 2018. (REGISTER HERE)


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.

More startups join Engage

Kell Canty headshot verady

Kell Canty is CEO and co-founder of Verady, one of eight startups in Engage’s spring 2018 cohort. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

Eight additional technology startups will go through an early stage venture fund created by Georgia Tech and 10 leading global corporations.


The Engage Ventures growth program differs from other accelerators in that it targets later stage companies and helps them develop and execute go-to-market strategies.


“Bringing top executives from our corporate partners together with founders of high-growth companies to focus on go-to-market has unlocked immense value,” said Thiago Olson, managing director of Engage Ventures. “We’re humbled by the talent pulled together this spring.”


The three-month program brings the startups to Georgia Tech’s Technology Square.


Sean Henry speaking

Sean Henry is CEO and co-founder of STORD, a startup in Engage’s spring 2018 cohort. Inc.com named him one of the Global Top 50 Emerging Entrepreneurs of 2017 and America’s Top 30 Emerging Startups of 2017. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

Companies in the spring cohort are pioneering technologies spanning from autonomous flight to artificial intelligence to blockchain, Olson said. To date, this group of companies join Engage with average annual revenue of $1 million and an average of more than $3.5 million in venture funding.


Half of the startups have Georgia Tech connections. Three are current portfolio companies in Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and a fourth participated in CREATE-X, a series of entrepreneurship programs for undergraduate students.


Meet the companies (one is in stealth mode):

  • Dev/Con: The cyber security company works with media and agencies to detect and prevent advertising fraud. The company is part of the ATDC Signature portfolio.
  • Homee: The company offers an on-demand, home servicing app that provides instant access to handymen, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing providers.
  • Intriono: A FinTech marketplace with access to more than 200 financial data feeds that cover 350,000 global securities.
  • PRYON: This company developed an AI platform with the accuracy and security features necessary for enterprise applications.
  • STORD: A real-time global warehousing network that connects independent, third-party warehouses via an enterprise software platform to drive inventory efficiency. This company participated in Georgia Tech’s CREATE-X.
  • ThingTech: An IoT service platform that connect assets, fleets, heavy equipment, sensors, machines and mobile workforces in real-time. The company is part of the ATDC Signature portfolio.
  • Verady: This company combines blockchain and industry thought leadership to bring accounting and audit technology to cryptocurrencies. The company is part of the ATDC Accelerate portfolio.


Josh Summit

Josh Summit is chief technology officer of Dev/Con. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

The startups are the second cohort to go through the program. The first group completed the program in the fall.


This current portfolio builds on the success of Engage’s fall 2017 program. “Investing with Engage has allowed us to tap the latest in disruptive technologies and look for potential collaborations with our own digital transformation efforts,” said Christian Fischer, president and CEO of Georgia-Pacific. “This program model is working – the caliber of innovation that these companies have brought to the table has been impressive.”


The cohort builds on the success of Engage’s fall 2017 efforts, which are intended to provide a world-class program for high-potential startups, said Martin L. Flanagan, president and CEO of Invesco and chairman of Engage.  “In a short period of time, the fall cohort’s activity led to 24 signed contracts between the startups and our corporate partners and $18 million in closed financings. On average, the program’s startups from the fall cohort are projected to add an additional $400,000 in revenue in 2018.


Tim Quinn

Tim Quinn is CEO and co-founder of ThingTech. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

Engage Ventures is the largest-ever strategic grouping of major corporations in an independent venture firm. The 10 founding companies contributing capital, expertise, time and resources in support of Engage include AT&T, Chick-fil-A, Cox Enterprises, Delta Air Lines, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power Foundation Inc., Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Invesco Ltd., The Home Depot and UPS. Executives from these firms mentor companies receiving financial support from the venture fund. The fund is managed by Tech Square Ventures, which is led by managing partner Blake Patton.


Engage offers programming and other services through a contract with ATDC, which was established at Georgia Tech by Georgia lawmakers in 1980 to launch and build technology companies.


“This initiative is producing stellar results by leveraging Georgia Tech’s startup expertise through programs such as ATDC,” said Chris Downing, vice president and director of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2). The unit is Tech’s economic development arm and is comprised of a dozen programs, including ATDC and Engage.


“Tapping into ATDC and having access to the talent, resources, and collaborative opportunities with some of the world’s largest corporations has helped us create what we see as a world class model for such public-private partnerships.”

2018 Georgia Innovation Summit focus is emerging technology

2018 Georgia Innovation Summit


How will emerging technologies affect small businesses and what that sector will be like in the future?


That core question is the theme of the 2018 Georgia Innovation Summit, scheduled for Feb. 20 at the Georgia Tech Research Institute Conference Center in Atlanta. (Register at this link: http://workforce.georgia.org/event/3rd-annual-innovation-summit/)


Now in its third year, the Georgia Innovation Summit is an annual gathering of the state’s top business, education, and government leaders who meet in a series of panel discussions to discuss emerging trends and innovations that will affect businesses of all sizes across Georgia.


The Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection — in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Georgia Centers of Innovation, and Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) — is presenting this year’s summit.


Keynote speakers include Jen Bonnett, general manager of Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), and Steve Justice, the Georgia Centers of Innovation’s executive director.


“Emerging technologies are rapidly shaping and changing not only the types of businesses that are being created, but also how business itself is being done,” said EI2 vice president Chris Downing.


“The topics and themes we’ll be exploring this year reflect that understanding and will help attendees better understand how they can incorporate and use emerging technologies to drive business forward.”


Among the topics is financial technology (FinTech), an important sector in Georgia’s economy. Jeff Gapusan, ATDC’s FinTech catalyst, will moderate a panel discussion titled “FinTech’s Impact on Your Business.”


The industry is big in Georgia with 70 percent of the $5.3 trillion in annual U.S. card spending being processed through companies in Georgia. “FinTech isn’t static,” Downing said. “There’s constant disruption in this sector which is affecting everything from traditional banking to retail. This panel features the thought leaders in this space who are driving that innovation.”


Other panel topics include the Internet of Things (IoT), dealing with cybersecurity, and connecting businesses with the resources they need to navigate the ever-changing business climate.

Manufacturing Disaster Assistance Program to help Georgia companies prepare for natural disasters

Manufacturers in seven Georgia counties can participate in new program

offered by the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership.


Head shot of Ben Cheeks

Ben Cheeks is GaMEP’s manager for the Coastal Georgia region.

The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) is seeking eligible manufacturers to participate in a disaster assistance program designed to help companies that are located in the state’s coastal areas assess their preparedness and develop operational solutions to minimize the impact of future hurricanes and other natural disasters.



The $173,859 grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) funds the GaMEP’s Manufacturing Disaster Assistance Program (MDAP), which was developed to address the needs of Georgia manufacturers.



The funds for the two-year effort are specifically designated toward assisting manufacturers with operations in Coastal Georgia in Camden, Chatham, Charlton, Glynn, Liberty, and McIntosh counties. It also includes Coffee County, which is not on the coast, but was also severely impacted by flooding during 2017’s Hurricane Irma. (Eligible manufacturers are encouraged to email Ben Cheeks, GaMEP’s coastal region manager at ude.hcetag.etavonninull@skeehc.neb.)



The counties are home to 408 manufacturing facilities that employ 23,000.



The MDAP creation follows a devastating 2017 hurricane season in which Hurricane Irma led to a mandatory evacuation of the coast’s nearly 540,000 residents and business owners, and resulted in estimated damages of more than $670 million. That’s on top of a 2016 evacuation of the Georgia coast following Hurricane Matthew, which caused more than $500 million in damages.



The goal with this tailored approach to help manufacturers on the Georgia Coast is two-pronged, Cheeks said.



“First, we want to assist as many manufacturers as possible and get them operating at pre-Hurricane Irma levels — that includes employment and fully contributing to the regional and state economies,” Cheeks said. “The second part of this effort is to help them develop plans that they will already have in place to address future hurricanes and other natural disasters so they will positioned for as little disruption as possible in resuming operations.”



As part of the offering, GaMEP will leverage its expertise and resources at Georgia Tech, as well as its local, state, and federal economic development partners, including the Technical College System of Georgia and the MEP network, among other organizations, Cheeks said. Pooling resources at all levels ensures maximum impact for the affected companies and communities, he added.



The MDAP initiative will include assessments of the manufacturers’ needs, helping prioritize opportunities for sustainability and growth. It also will incorporate the development of pre and post-natural disaster protocols that address challenges manufacturers will face following hurricanes and other natural disasters, such as supply chain and infrastructure disruption, labor displacement, and financial constraints.



“We’re taking a 360-degree approach with this effort,” Cheeks said. “It’s designed to help position our coastal manufacturers proactively and ahead of the likely after-effects we will see in future storms that will affect the Georgia Coast.”



About the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP):

The Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) is an economic development program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The GaMEP is a member of the National MEP network supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. With offices in 10 regions across the state, the GaMEP has been serving Georgia manufacturers since 1960. It offers a solution-based approach to manufacturers through coaching and education designed to increase top-line growth and reduce bottom-line cost. For more information, please visit gamep.org.

Chick-fil-A Opens Innovation Center in Tech Square

Chick-fil-A innovation center ribbon cutting

Georgia Tech welcomed Chick-fil-A the newest company to open an innovation center at Tech Square. The quick service restaurant chain’s center is at the Biltmore building.

Chick-fil-A invented the chicken sandwich and now the company is continuing to innovate through a new center in Georgia Tech’s Technology Square.

The company opened a technology innovation satellite office Wednesday at the historic Biltmore. The Technology Innovation Center, part of the company’s long-standing partnership with the Institute, emphasizes Chick-fil-A’s commitment to innovation.

“This new facility will provide a dedicated space for Chick-fil-A to collaborate with the bright minds of Georgia Tech and develop technology solutions that will benefit our customers,” said Chick-fil-A’s Chief Information Officer Mike Erbrick. “Our founder Truett Cathy was a true innovator, and the Technology Innovation Center is one of the ways we’re continuing his legacy.”

FULL STORY @ Georgia Tech News Center.

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.