Enterprise Innovation Institute Programs Part of Vice-presidential Tour

Vice President Kamala Harris Kicked Off Her Economic Opportunity Tour in Atlanta

Representatives from Georgia Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing (Georgia AIM), Georgia Minority Business Development Agency Business Center (Georgia MBC), and Southeast Business Hub, programs of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, were on hand as Vice President Kamala Harris kicked off her Economic Opportunity Tour in Atlanta at the end of April. The multi-state tour is designed to showcase ways the Biden-Harris administration has built economic opportunity, supported communities, and is investing in traditionally underserved areas.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks to a packed house in Atlanta

“This event was a great opportunity to introduce the vice president to the work of Georgia AIM,” said Donna Ennis, co-director of Georgia AIM, which works to drive adoption of AI in U.S. manufacturing. “We were founded as part of the federal government’s Build Back Better plan. It’s important for her to see how we are putting the grant to work to deliver equity in artificial intelligence for manufacturing in Georgia.”

The event took place at the Georgia International Convention Center, near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Prior to the arrival of Vice President Harris, attendees could visit tables set up in the entry hall and learn about a number of organizations, from banks to nonprofits to governmental agencies, that are working to level the playing field for underserved Georgians. Attendees included representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, Rise, and Brunswick Job Corps Center.

The Georgia AIM table, staffed by Ryan Scott, the community engagement manager, and Kyle Saleeby, research engineer with Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI), was a popular stop, thanks to the tabletop robot showing how robotics can be used in manufacturing and the array of 3-D printed industrial materials.

From left, Kyle Saleeby, research engineer with the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute, and Ryan Scott, Georgia AIM community engagement manager, staff the table demonstrating how AI in manufacturing can work

The program featured a conversation with Harris and financial literacy and business advice podcasters Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings, from Earn Your Leisure. The podcast has an audience of about 2 million people, a majority of whom are Black. Harris spoke to the crowd of approximately 400 people about the administration’s focus on access to capital for minority small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“One of the compelling reasons for me to start this tour now,” Harris said, “is to ask all the leaders here for help in getting the word out about what is available to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Because we are in the process of putting a lot of money in the streets of America.”

Some of those funds have gone to Enterprise Innovation Institute programs, including $65 million for Georgia AIM.

Georgia senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock and Rep. Nikema Williams also spoke at the event. Prior to the event, they joined Harris at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs.

“It was exciting to hear first-hand about the administration’s commitment to equity in small businesses and entrepreneurship,” Ennis said. “It dovetails perfectly with the commitment of the programs of the Enterprise Innovation Institute.”