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.

Apprenticeship Program Helps Students Gain Skills

Georgia state governermnent and education leaders stand with Coweta County high school students partirticipating in the Georgia Consortium for Advanced Technical Training program (GA CATT) at Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s 10th Annual Business & Education Summit in Griffin on Monday, Nov. 13. Launched in 2016, GACATT allows them to graduate on time with a high school diploma, earn technical college credentials, while obtaining real, hands-on experience in a workplace and technical skills that they can use to build their careers. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)


GRIFFIN, GA — At 4 a.m. on many mornings, 17-year-old Cole McKeehan is already at work at E.G.O. North America in Newnan, Georgia.


McKeehan, a junior at Northgate High School in Newnan, is a student apprentice at E.G.O., which makes radiant heating elements and electronic components such as touch controls and induction heaters at the facility.


Jenny Houlroyd (left), an industrial hygienist with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Safety, Health, and Environmental Services program, stands with Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (center), and Larry Alford, South Metro Atlanta region manager with Tech’s Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP). The three attended Cagle’s 10th Annual Business & Education Summit in Griffin on Nov. 13. They were part of a panel of state and education leaders who discussed the Georgia Consortium for Advanced Technical Training program (GA CATT). (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

He is in his second year of the program — the Georgia Consortium for Advanced Technical Training (GA CATT) — and is gaining practical experience in machining and lathing. McKeehan is developing those skills under an apprenticeship program that would let him graduate high school with technical college credits. He can use those credits toward earning an associate’s degree in industrial mechanics from West Georgia Technical College.


“I think this is a great program,” McKeehan said. “I will graduate with an associate’s degree and continue on to college for a four-year degree in engineering or tool and die.”


McKeehan was one of several teens in GA CATT who shared their experiences Nov. 13 at Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s 10th Annual Business & Education Summit.


The session where the teens spoke, held on the first day of the two-day summit and hosted by the Griffin Region College and Career Academy, brought Georgia’s business and education leaders together for a series of collaborative meetings.


The hope is that these meetings will lead to innovative ideas and initiatives to better prepare high school students for the demands of a 21st-century workforce.


Cole McKeehan (seated rear left), smiles following a joke made by one of his friends, Josiah Henderson. The teens, who attend Northgate High School in Newnan, are student apprentices at E.G.O. North America in Newnan. They work there under the Georgia Consortium for Advanced Technical Training program (GA CATT). The program lets Georgia high school students earn technical college credentials and technical skills that they can use to build their careers. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

The GA CATT session, which also featured business leaders and officials from the Georgia Institute of Technology who worked on its development and implementation, was designed to answer questions from summit attendees, as state officials look to expand it statewide.


“Our GA CATT has had great success,” Cagle said. “We’re in our second year now and to be able to listen to the students and the impact that it’s having on their lives and how motivated and focused and determined they are — it’s a win for them, it’s a win for the community, and it’s certainly a win for industry as well.”


The Georgia initiative was launched in 2016 with support from the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern U.S., the Technical College System of Georgia, West Georgia Technical College, and the Central Educational Center, as well as Georgia Tech’s Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) and Safety and Health Consultation Program.


The GA CATT program seeks to follow the German apprenticeship dual education model and begin with 10th graders, the only program in the U.S. currently doing so.


Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (standing) greets high school students from Coweta County who are partirticipating in the Georgia Consortium for Advanced Technical Training program (GA CATT). The group assembled in Griffin at Cagle’s 10th Annual Business & Education Summit on Monday, Nov. 13. The students and their mentors shared their experiences of being in GA CATT, which allows them to earn technical college credentials. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

As in Germany, GA CATT requires participating Georgia high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors to spend 70 percent of their time working at their host company and the remaining 30 percent in the classroom.


The 70-30 split is designed to allow them to graduate on time with a high school diploma and earn technical college credentials while obtaining real, hands-on experience in a workplace and technical skills that they can use to build their careers. In addition, apprentices have the opportunity to attain a German Certification in Industrial Mechanics that is accepted in Europe and beyond as evidence of their skill and knowledge.


The student apprentices are paid for their time at the company, earning $8 an hour when they start and $12 per hour as seniors.


Two German companies with operations in Newnan — Grenzebach Corp. and E.G.O. North America — were committed to launching GA CATT and served as the catalysts for the program.


The companies asked Larry Alford, GaMEP’s South Metro Atlanta region manager, to leverage his long-term relationships with local companies to invite them to join the program. GA CATT began with eight companies and 10 apprentices.


GaMEP, which works with manufacturers to innovate, increase top-line growth, and reduce bottom-line costs, also supported the GA CATT initiative, as did the Institute’s Safety and Health Consultation Program.


Larry Alford, (left) South Metro Atlanta region manager with the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech, speaks with Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle at the 10th Annual Annual Business & Education Summit on Monday, Nov. 13. The GaMEP is part of a group of organizations that helped launch the Georgia Consortium for Advanced Technical Training program (GA CATT), which allows high school students to earn technical college credentials, while obtaining real, hands-on experience in a workplace and technical skills they can use after graduation. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

“Collaborating with industry from the start has been GA CATT’s secret to success. The educators and the German-American Chamber are key players, but the industry’s commitment will determine its growth and expansion,” Alford said. “Much of the focus rightfully is placed on the students, but equally important are the process and support systems that develop the company mentors, those who are tasked with guiding the activities of the students to meet curriculum requirements and to adequately prepare the apprentices to succeed in the program and at work.”


That commitment on all sides also helps manufacturers build a pipeline of talent, said David Keller, E.G.O. North America’s president and managing director of operations. In an industry that has historically had a difficult time finding a skilled workforce, these companies are looking to the future, by developing interest and relationships with talented students early on, he said.


The goal is that after graduation, the students will work for those companies where they apprenticed.


Jenny Houlroyd, an industrial hygienist with Tech’s Safety, Health, and Environmental Services program, is helping GA CATT companies understand and comply with U.S. labor laws that provide flexibility for apprentices under 18 to enter the workforce as student-learners.


In 2017, GA CATT added two additional clusters, centered in Rockdale & Newton Counties and Spalding County. Each cluster includes local manufacturers, their local college and career academies, and the local Technical College. Alford facilitates the implementation teams in each cluster. A total of 18 manufacturers and 28 students currently participate in the program.

National Science Foundation awards Georgia Institute of Technology $500,000 grant to further Institute’s commercialization efforts

Funding to support I-Corps Sites teams formed from Georgia Tech research.

Free headshot

Paul Freet is VentureLab’s NSF I-Corps instructor.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has named the Georgia Institute of Technology an Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site — and awarded it a $500,000 grant to help Institute-based research teams identify and interview target customer audiences.


The grant, spread over five years, will be managed by Tech’s VentureLab program. VentureLab is Georgia Tech’s incubator that works with Institute faculty, staff, and students to evaluate their research and help them create startups based on those findings.


I-Corps Sites enable academic institutions to catalyze teams whose technology concepts are likely candidates for commercialization. It also provides infrastructure, advice, resources, networking opportunities, training, and funding to help researchers move from idea to commercialization.


At Georgia Tech, the I-Corps Sites grant will support up to 150 research teams — comprised of Institute students, faculty, researchers, or staff — in their efforts to meet with and interview potential customers, said Paul Freet, VentureLab’s NSF I-Corps instructor.


“A key part of the commercialization process is learning from customers— what I-Corps calls customer discovery,” Freet said. “We ask our research teams to search for evidence of product-market-fit and learn if there is a market for the commercialization of their research.”


All I-Corps Sites teams are expected to conduct 20 customer interviews. To help teams accomplish that goal, Georgia Tech teams accepted into the program will be reimbursed with up to $3,000 for travel to visit customers or attend trade shows.


Teams that complete the I-Corps Sites program also will have access to follow-on $50,000 I-Corps Team grants. To date, Georgia Tech researchers have received more than 50 I-Corps Team grants.


“The I-Corps program has been instrumental in helping launch a startup based on my research into advanced materials,” said Krista Walton, professor and Robert “Bud” Moeller Faculty Fellow in the Georgia Tech School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. “Early feedback from potential customers was critical in setting the direction of our startup. The I-Corps Sites grant will help get more researchers out of the lab and in front of customers.”


About VentureLab:

Created in 2001 and ranked as the No. 2 university startup incubator in the world, VentureLab is the Georgia Institute of Technology’s incubator whose mission is to collaborate with faculty, staff, and students to create startups based on Tech research. Using evidence-based entrepreneurship, VentureLab —a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Tech’s chief economic development arm — has supported the launch of more than 300 startups. Combined, those startups have raised more than $1.5 billion in investments. For more information, visit venturelab.gatech.edu.

Southeastern Trade Adjustment Assistance Center receives $1.3 million in federal funds

Funding supports international competitiveness.

Darren Green photo.

Darren Green, owner of The Old Wood Co., in Asheville, North, Carolina, sought SETAAC’s assistance to help his company better compete with low-cost foreign imports. (Photo credit: Travis Bell)

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded $13.3 million in federal funds to support 11 Trade Adjustment Assistance Centers (TAACs), including the Southeastern Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (SETAAC) at Georgia Tech, which will receive $1.3 million.


TAACs work to support a wide range of technical, planning, and business recovery projects that help companies and the communities that depend on them adapt to international competition and diversify their economies.


“The Trump administration is working every day to help America’s manufacturers, their workers, and their communities,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement. “This funding is one element of a government-wide effort to restore American jobs and strengthen U.S. manufacturing.”

Old Wood Co. workers

Employees of The Old Wood Co. in Asheville, North Carolina work on building a table. (Photo Credit: Travis Bell)


The announced grants are for the second year of a funding cycle that runs from 2016 to 2021.


SETAAC, a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), was established in 1974. In addition to serving Georgia, SETAAC works with companies in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.


SETAAC provides up to $75,000 of matching funds for third-party consultants to help guide a client’s economic recovery. Eligible manufacturing firms contribute a matching share to create and implement their respective recovery plan.


In Fiscal Year 2017, SETAAC worked with 45 clients, including Darren Green of The Old Wood Co. in Asheville, North Carolina, and helped those firms generate more than $9.7 million in sales, and help save or create 143 jobs.

Minority business enterprise manufacturers to meet in Atlanta August 15-16 for second annual National MBE Manufacturers Summit

Networking MBDA Summit 2016

Attendees of the inaugural National MBE Manufacturers Summit in Atlanta in 2016 discuss issues affecting minority business enterprises. (FILE PHOTO)

More than 250 minority business enterprise (MBE) manufacturers from across the country will be in Atlanta August 15 and 16 for the second annual National MBE Manufacturers Summit 2017.


The Summit, which is hosted by the Atlanta Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) Advanced Manufacturing Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Global Learning Center, brings together world-class leaders in manufacturing and is the premier event that brings industry peers together, facilitates networking and procurement opportunities, and highlights innovation.


BMW Group, Enhanced Capital, FORCAM, Grady Health System, Ingersoll Rand, Novant Health, Siemens, and WestRock are Summit sponsors.


Among the highlights for attendees of the 2017 Summit:

  • One-on-one fast pitch meetings with corporations and original equipment manufacturers.
  • Experiencing the most cutting-edge technologies through on-site “innovation pods.”
  • High-level exposure for companies participating in the second annual “Poster Walk Competition.”


Featured speakers include:


“We are building on the success of last year’s inaugural program, and a critical focus of this effort is innovation because it remains a key issue, according to our MBE manufacturers,” said Donna Ennis, Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center director. “Our Summit is designed to facilitate critical one-on-one meetings between our attendees and corporations, as well as provide the opportunity for our MBE attendees to network with one another.”


The Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Georgia Tech’s chief economic development and business outreach arm. A sister program to the Atlanta MBDA Business Center, the Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center was created via a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce MBDA awarded to Georgia Tech in 2016.


One of four such centers across the country, Tech will receive $1.25 million over a five-year period to operate the Center, which is charged with providing targeted assistance to MBE manufacturers. The funding is designed to help identify, screen, promote, and refer MBEs to specialized advanced manufacturing programs, and provide technical and business development services and assist with access to capital, opportunities and markets.


According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 Survey of Business Owners, the number of minority-owned manufacturers increased 30 percent between 2007 and 2012 to nearly 107,000. These firms generated $80 billion in annual revenue in 2012. More than 25,000 minority manufacturers employ almost 332,000 workers.

The Summit is an outgrowth of the Atlanta MBDA Business Center’s Connecting Advanced Manufacturing Program (CAMP), which is now the Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center, Ennis said. “The vision behind CAMP and what led to us creating the Summit is to connect MBE manufacturers in the ecosystem to business opportunities, research, innovation, funding, and critical information they need to grow and thrive as businesses,” she said.


To register for the Summit and for more information, please visit mbemanufacturersummit.com.


About the Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center:

Focused on building a national ecosystem of minority business enterprise (MBE) manufacturers, partners, and stakeholders, the Atlanta MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center creates expansion opportunities for MBE manufacturers by facilitating their growth through innovation and technology, training and education, as well as advocating inclusiveness with corporate suppliers.


About the Atlanta MBDA Business Center:

As part of a national network of 42 centers, the Atlanta MBDA Business Center helps minority business enterprises access capital, increase profitability, create jobs, and become sustainable. It is part of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization, and economic development. For more information, please visit mbdabusinesscenter-atlanta.org.

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.

Tech students to present cybersecurity research for commercialization on April 13

Demo Day FinaleGeorgia Tech students will present their best cybersecurity research before a panel of venture capitalists and business leaders for a chance to win cash in the “Demo Day Finale” on April 13 at the Klaus Advanced Computing Building, KACB #1116 E-W, 266 Ferst Drive, Atlanta, Ga. 30332. (RSVP here: http://cyber.gatech.edu/demo-day ).


Five student teams representing the School of Computer Science and School of Electrical Computing and Engineering are polishing their presentations now to deliver TED-style talks before business leaders with tech investment experience in the southeastern Untied States, Europe, and Middle East. Research with the best chance of commercialization or demonstrating the most impact toward resolving an industry need receives a cash prize – up to $7,000.


Demo Day Finale judges include Georgia Tech commercialization catalysts Jeff Garbers and Harold Solomon of VentureLab, and Thiago Olson of the Advanced Technology Development Center.


Work to be presented includes new cryptographic search methods, a malware detection method for IoT or embedded devices, protections for industrial control systems, spectral profiling for catching malware activity, and a model for software engineering policy requirements.


Musheer Ahmed, (left) founder of FraudScope, which won the 2016 Demo Day Finale.

Musheer Ahmed, (left) founder of FraudScope, which won the 2016 Demo Day Finale.

For last year’s inaugural winner – Musheer Ahmed – the event was a springboard to successfully launch FraudScope, a healthcare fraud detection system based upon algorithms he developed as a Ph.D. student.


After winning Demo Day Finale, Ahmed went on to collect more than $400,000 in seed funding in less than three months. He won the Atlanta Start-up Battle, the Technology Association of Georgia’s Biz Launch Competition, and more. The quick success allowed him to invest in a better user interface design, hire staff, and begin marketing his product at health and technology industry tradeshows.


The Demo Day Finale is hosted by the Institute for Information Security & Privacy (IISP) and aims to give students an early introduction to potential investors as they continue their research or if they are ready to move it to market.


“During the course of research, it can be difficult for entrepreneurial students to know how industry may react to a finished project,” said Wenke Lee, co-director of the IISP and a professor in the School of Computer Science who has successfully transferred research to private corporations. “The Demo Day Finale lets students share ideas underway to active investors so they can receive early stage feedback that will inform research directions, the future application of it, or market considerations. This is one way we think the Institute for Information Security & Privacy can help move solutions to market that will improve the security or privacy of our identities, data, and devices.”

While Ahmed was eager to launch his business as soon as possible, ID for Web, last year’s second place winners, used the experience to get an early “gut” reaction from business investors as they try to create a more secure form of identity validation online. ID for Web’s Demo Day presentation led to an invitation from startup accelerator “CyberLaunch,” where they spent summer 2016 discovering the best application of their technology by talking to both potential customers and potential investors.

“The summer at CyberLaunch put us in touch with business leaders from many different industries, and got us a lot of validation to the relevance of our technology; everybody agrees the current authentication mechanisms are a huge pain to both users and service providers,” said postdoctoral researcher Simon Chung. “Their eyes light up when we say we’re trying to get rid of passwords. Also, since our technology can be used to solve many real-world problems, this process helped us find the best use of our technology and focus on developing our first end-to-end prototype system.”

Judges on April 13 will include investors Jeff Garbers and Harold Solomon of Venture Lab, and Thiago Olson of ATDC.