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:


    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


    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 Tech Procurement Assistance Center’s new instructional video and template help defense contractors comply with cybersecurity guidelines

    Changes in U.S. Department of Defense cybersecurity regulations prompt creation of multimedia training package for nationwide use.


    cybercriminal at a computer terminal

    To meet the government’s cybersecurity standards, contractors must assess their information systems, develop a security plan, and create an action plan.

    The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) has produced and released an instructional video designed to help contractors comply with U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) cybersecurity requirements.


    GTPAC, which works with Georgia businesses to help them identify, compete for, and win government contracts, is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), Georgia Tech’s economic development arm. The video will serve as an instructional tool for procurement technical assistance centers (PTACS) across the country. GTPAC is scheduling a series of briefings for its clients statewide and is sharing the complete training package with all PTACs nationwide.


    Accompanying the video is a 127-page template GTPAC developed for contractors to use to create a security assessment report, a system security plan, and a plan of action for those cybersecurity requirements.


    Navy ships

    Defense contractors have to comply with new guidelines and cybersecurity rules across different branches of the military, including the U.S. Navy.

    The video and template were funded through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency, and created with the support of the Georgia Institute of Technology.


    GTPAC presented an idea for a multimedia training package to the DoD for its Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) clause 252.204-7012. This clause, revised in 2016 and which the DoD is including in many of its contracts, mandates that contractors implement adequate security on all applicable contractor information systems and investigate and report on any compromises to those systems.


    Specifically, the DFARS clause requires that contractors:

    • Isolate malicious software.
    • Preserve and protect all media involved in a cyber incident.
    • Provide DoD with access to information or equipment for purposes of forensic analysis.
    • Assess damage as a result of a cyber incident.
    • “Flow down” the clause in any subcontracts involving information covered by the requirements.


    To meet the government’s cybersecurity standards, contractors must assess their information systems, develop a security plan, and create an action plan. GTPAC’s template — available for download as a Word document on the same webpage where the video appears ( — provides a step-by-step process by which each of these tasks can be completed and documentation can be compiled.


    “Understanding and incorporating these cybersecurity regulations are critical for DoD contractors. That’s especially so for small businesses, both primary contractors and subcontractors,” said Joe Beaulieu, GTPAC’s program manager.


    “While numerous briefings have been held in recent months about the requirements, there had not been a comprehensive briefing package to help contractors understand the new regulations,” he noted. “Our multimedia training package for GTPAC and procurement assistance center clients across the country comprehensively addresses the requirements and presents a practical, solutions-based approach to the challenge to small businesses that the requirements represent.”


    Georgia contractors seeking assistance in complying with DoD’s cybersecurity requirements are encouraged to contact a GTPAC procurement counselor. A list of counselors, their locations, and contact information can be found at


    Companies located outside of Georgia may contact their nearest procurement technical assistance center for assistance. PTACs are located in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico. For a directory of PTACs, please visit


    About Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC):

    The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center, an economic development program of Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), helps Georgia enterprises identify, compete for, and win government contracts. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense, GTPAC’s services are available at no cost to any Georgia businesses that have an interest and potential to perform work — as a prime contractor or a subcontractor — for federal, state, or local government agencies. In a recent 12-month period, GTPAC helped more than 2,200 clients create or save 19,000 jobs and win more than 5,500 government contracts worth $1.9 billion. To learn more, visit


    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:



    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



    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