Tech Square Innovation Week Coming to Midtown Atlanta in May

    Weeklong events from May 7-10 to shine spotlight on innovation ecosystem and feature open houses, tech summits, block party and 32nd annual ATDC Startup Showcase.


    Tech Square

    The area around the intersection of Spring and 5th streets is a hotbed of technology startups, research, and economic development.

    Technology Square is abuzz with the activity of startups, corporate innovation, and disruptive research, as well as outstanding student talent from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


    For one week in spring 2018 — May 7-10 — the Tech Square neighborhood and the components that make it one of the nation’s most successful ecosystems of ideation and disruption will be on display as part of Tech Square Innovation Week.


    The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and its Enterprise Innovation Institute are the hosts of Tech Square Innovation Week.


    “With this week, we and our partners really wanted to show all the various components that make Tech Square the vibrant innovation ecosystem that it is,” said Jen Bonnett, ATDC general manager.


    “Tech Square is a national model of economic development, ideation, and technology disruption. With Tech Square Innovation Week, this is the opportunity for visitors and event attendees to see how and why we’re succeeding and possibly join to continue that momentum.”


    The week’s events include a “portfolio night” at Engage, the private startup accelerator and venture fund owned and operated by its 10 founding companies, the Georgia Tech Innovation Showcase of up-and-coming research ideas Georgia Tech students and faculty have developed, and the Atlanta Startup Battle at Tech Square Labs, with $100,000 at stake.


    Tech Square Innovation Week also includes the Technology Association of Georgia’s FinTech South 2018, a two-day summit focused on the latest trends in the financial technology sector, and the ATDC RetailTech Summit, which will explore technological disruptions and opportunities in that sector.


    Tech Square Innovation Week will culminate with the 2018 ATDC Startup Showcase on May 10 at the Georgia Tech Academy of Medicine and the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel.


    Now in its 32nd year, the ATDC Startup Showcase is Georgia’s largest spring startup confab. The event, which draws nearly 1,000 attendees, features more than 80 of disruptive technology companies from the state of Georgia.


    About Tech Square Innovation Week:

    Tech Square Innovation Week — May 7 through May 10, 2018 — is a weeklong celebration that highlights and celebrates different components that combined, make Technology Square in Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood, a national economic development model that entrepreneurship, disruption, research, corporate partnerships and investment. For more information, please visit


    About the Advanced Technology Development Center:

    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


    Goldman Sachs Joins Engage Venture Fund

    This largest group of major corporations in a strategic venture fund helps startups access customers and markets.

    Goldman Sachs logoThe Goldman Sachs Group has joined Engage, a venture fund and growth accelerator primarily focused on investing in early stage companies. The fund’s mission is to provide talented entrepreneurs with access to capital, customers, and distribution channels through its accelerator and corporate partnerships. Engage’s investors include leading public and private companies that have provided capital to the fund, and senior leaders from these companies sit on its board of directors, which Dave Dase, head of Goldman Sachs’ Investment Banking Division's Southeast Region, will join.


    “Engage is a unique model for a fund and accelerator because it allows an impressive group of corporations to lend their talent and resources to entrepreneurs in order to help them drive strategy and growth,” Dase said. “Goldman Sachs is committed to the Southeast and to Atlanta, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to invest in the entrepreneurial community is such a meaningful way.”


    Goldman Sachs joins the 10 founding companies investing capital, expertise, time, and resources in support of Engage, including 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. Invest Georgia has also joined the fund since it was first announced last year. The fund is managed by Tech Square Ventures.


    What makes Engage unique is the interaction of global companies with the startup ecosystem to help entrepreneurs build companies that will transform their markets. Rather than filling the specific needs of a single large company, Engage startups benefit from the combined perspective of all the member companies.


    “Building on the unique market access Engage already offers, we are pleased to collaborate with Goldman Sachs to further drive innovation,” said Martin L. Flanagan, president and CEO of Invesco and chairman of Engage.  “Our startups will benefit from Goldman Sachs’ market insights and caliber of talent.”


    Engage is based in Technology Square and provides programming and support in partnership with Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).


    “Since its inception a little over one year ago, Engage is already having an impact on the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Atlanta and across the country,” said Georgia Tech President G. P. “Bud” Peterson.  “As we engage with companies like Goldman Sachs, we are working to maximize the collective strengths of Georgia Tech, the Engage corporate partners, and the city of Atlanta to support startups nationally, while promoting Atlanta’s world-class talent and strengthening the economy here in  Georgia and the southeast.”


    Engage recently announced an impressive group of startups selected for investment and participation in the Spring 2018 go-to-market growth program including Dev/Con, Homee, Intrinio, Pryon, Stord, ThingTech, and Verady. Leaders from these companies include serial entrepreneurs, first-time founders and founders listed on Forbes’ “30 Under 30.” The technologies they are pioneering span from autonomous flight, to artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain.


    About Goldman Sachs:

    The Goldman Sachs Group is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world. To learn more, visit


    About Engage:

    Engage is a venture fund and growth program that gives entrepreneurs what they need most—customers and market access. Engage corporate partners contributing capital, expertise, time and resources include AT&T, Chick-fil-A, Cox Enterprises, Delta Air Lines, Georgia Tech, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power Foundation, Inc., The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Invesco Ltd., Tech Square Ventures, The Home Depot and UPS. These corporate partners, along with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and Tech Square Ventures, provide tools, hands-on support, and resources that help companies develop go-to-market strategies, open doors faster, and transform strategies into action. Engage is eadquartered in Georgia Tech’s Technology Square. For more information, visit


    Georgia Tech hosts inaugural University Center Roundtable
    Lynne Henkiel

    Lynne Henkiel, director of Georgia Tech’s EDA University Center, addresses attendees of the inaugural Atlanta Regional Office University Center Roundtable. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    The Georgia Institute of Technology’s EDA University Center hosted 13 schools from across the Southeast March 13 and 14 for the inaugural Atlanta Regional Office University Center Roundtable.


    An initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), these university centers marshal the resources found in colleges and universities to support regional economic development strategies in areas facing chronic and acute economic distress.


    “This meeting was two-fold, for new EDA funding awardees, this was their opportunity to present their plans and discuss what projects they planned to take on,” said Lynne Henkiel, director of Tech’s EDA University Center. “For re-awardees like us at Tech, we shared our success stories regarding past projects and gave guidance on lessons learned from past award cycles.


    The conference featured a dozen colleges and universities from the Southeast. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    “It was designed to be an exchange of ideas, strategies and best practices.”


    Among the schools in attendance: Georgia Southern University, Auburn, the University of Kentucky, Mississippi State University, Fayetteville State University, Western Carolina University, the University of Florida, University of Tennessee, Tennessee Tech University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of South Carolina.


    H. Philip Paradice Jr.

    H. Philip Paradice Jr., the U.S. Economic Development Administration's Southeast regional director, discusses EDA funding guidelines for projects. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    Georgia Tech has been an EDA award recipient since the program’s inception in the 1980s — the only school with that distinction — since the 1980s.


    In her role, Henkiel leads a wide range of outreach activities designed to promote job creation, development of high-skilled regional talent pools, business expansion in innovation clusters, and to create and nurture regional economic ecosystems in the state of Georgia. In addition, the Center seeks to conduct technology-related economic and policy research that will enhance Georgia’s competitive position.


    In fiscal year 2017, Tech’s EDA University Center’s work helped save or create 255 jobs and led to private sector investment of $132.9 million in Georgia.


    The Georgia Tech EDA University Center is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), which is Tech’s economic development and outreach arm.


    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


    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


    Georgia Institute of Technology launches the Georgia Smart Communities Challenge

    Georgia Smart Communities Challenge

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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