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    Enter the State of Innovation

    The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation continues to accelerate shared economic success across Georgia

     

    Two years ago, the state of Georgia and a coalition of private and civic partners launched a revolutionary organization to catalyze innovation, opportunity, and shared economic success throughout the state, with the goal of making Georgia the tech capital of the East Coast and a model of inclusive innovation. That public-private organization, the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation (Partnership), has succeeded beyond the founders’ imaginings.

     

    In just two years, the Partnership has delivered technology – and more – to both rural and urban communities. Working with local governments, corporations, universities, startups, and nonprofits, the Partnership has invested in more than 30 projects in 90 Georgia legislative districts that have created new businesses and jobs, increased access to financial and social capital, deployed more than 170 technologies, and engaged students in more than 25,000 hours devoted to civic projects.

     

    Debra Lam, executive director of the Partnership

    The Partnership’s unique model combines the grantmaking strengths of a foundation with hands-on operations and infrastructure. This allows the Partnership to focus on long-term investments in geographically distributed, nontraditional, underserved, and emerging areas to expand economic access to Georgians of all backgrounds.

     

    “The Partnership believes in the broadest definition of inclusive innovation,” said founding Executive Director Debra Lam. “We work to increase access and expand geographic, racial, gender, and socio-economic equity, and opportunity for all to create innovative ways to drive economic and community growth.”

     

    The Partnership has invested $1.3 million in projects around the state that create and sustain economic success. These projects have provided a match of $1.7 million and secured an additional $6.2 million to support their growth.

     

    In the last year, the Partnership has driven success through its four pillars:

     

    Economic Opportunity

    This pillar looks to scale proven programs, services, and technologies and nurture communities of practice for knowledge sharing and collaboration. One such project was the Conservation Fund’s Working Farms Fund (WFF). WFF, the first of its kind in the U.S., helps shield farmland in perpetuity from sprawl. Last year, the fund purchased seven farms, securing 674 acres of land for 31 farmers, 85% of whom are from underserved communities or are women. This coming year, the fund will secure six more farms and at least 500 acres for a dozen farmers. In addition, the fund will launch a companion program in Illinois and is in discussions with Texas and North Carolina about programs in those states

     

    Student Engagement

    This pillar aims to develop the next generation of leaders across the state in public service, innovation, and technology. The flagship program is the Smart Community Corps (SCC), a summer internship that in 2022 placed 33 paid interns, representing 11 Georgia universities and 17+ academic disciplines, working in pairs on 16 projects in communities including Woodstock, Atlanta, Albany, Spalding County, and beyond. SCC projects included The Ray, which is working to transform a portion of I-85 into a global model for sustainable transportation, and the Georgia Entrepreneurship Project, which is mapping entrepreneurship and innovation across the state with the goal of expanding prosperity more equitably.

     

    Community Research

    The oldest pillar, community research, starts with the needs and priorities of the community and pairs that with multidisciplinary, applied research that is advanced with community implementation and feedback. This approach offers the community access to innovative tools and research. The Georgia Smart Communities Challenge is an award-winning program that empowers communities to meet their goals of a smart and connected future. This program has served 20 communities across the state, including Savannah and Valdosta, where projects have helped ameliorate blighted property and save critical time at intersections, allowing first responders to get to emergencies more quickly.

     

    Workforce Development

    The newest pillar, workforce development, invests in human capital to foster meaningful careers, create systems of economic mobility, build talent pipelines for Georgia employers, and boost connectivity. The flagship program is the Workforce for Tomorrow Fellowship (WFT), a first-of-its-kind program where participants are immersed in six-month rotations in the public and private sectors in key growth sectors, such as sustainability and infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, and logistics.

     

    With increased funding from the state and corporate partners, the Partnership anticipates significant growth of all programs over the next year. The plan is to fund at least $2.8 million in projects, double the number of students who participate in the SCC, and provide more applied, multidisciplinary research around Georgia.

     

    “I’m honored to be part of the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation and to help define Georgia as a national leader in technology research, development, and implementation,” said Reed Dulany, a Partnership advisory board member and president and CEO of Dulany Industries. “I look forward to seeing the long-term impact that the Partnership will make across Georgia in the future.”

     

    About the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation:

    Launched in 2020, the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation is a public-private organization that was created to lead coordinated, statewide efforts to position Georgia as the leader for innovation, opportunity, and shared economic success. The Partnership’s focus pillars of community research, workforce development, student engagement, and economic opportunity are a powerful combination that provide technical and financial support to democratize innovation through collaboration. Since 2020, the Partnership’s work has catalyzed 30+ projects with local governments, universities, startups and nonprofits. The projects have created new businesses, increased access to financial and social capital, and deployed more than 170 technologies. More information is available at pingeorgia.org.

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    Enterprise Innovation Institute at Georgia Tech Launches Center for MedTech Excellence

    Center to provide expertise in concept-to-commercialization of medical device technologies that can compete globally and improve the human condition

     

    ATLANTA — The Center for MedTech Excellence, created to support and address the unique needs of early-stage medical device technologies, launched today with its first cohort of early-stage biotech companies.

     

    Housed in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and funded by a federal grant, the Center will provide expertise in product realization, technology, medical device manufacturing, biotechnology, life science, and therapeutic innovations to early-stage entrepreneurs.

     

    It is a collaborative effort of two Enterprise Innovation Institute programs — the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) — and the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI), a Georgia Tech affiliate.

     

    Nakia Melecio, founding director of the Center for MedTech Excellence

    “I’ve spent a lot of time in the life science, medical device, therapeutic space, and what I saw was great programming,” said the Center’s Founding Director Nakia Melecio. “But there wasn’t any programming focused on taking companies from idea all the way to commercialization and including everything in between. There are a lot of accelerators and incubators, but none are focused, like we are, solely on developing, growing, and building life science companies.”

     

    With its home in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, it was natural to partner with ATDC, GaMEP, and GCMI, says Melecio. “Georgia MEP, with its focus on manufacturing, can help companies navigate manufacturing strategy. GCMI’s expertise in the medical technology industry can help on the clinical side. While ATDC will be home to ScaleUp Lab, MedTech’s incubator.”

     

    Georgia boasts a robust and growing medical technology and health ecosystem with metro Atlanta being a national leader in health information technology, vaccine research, clinical trials, and medical device development.

     

    The state is also home to the CDC, the American Cancer Society, the Morehouse School of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, and the Medical College of Georgia.

     

    The Center, joining that network of resources, will support the sector’s continued expansion and job growth in the state, Melecio said.

     

    “The MedTech Center supports and empowers innovators across a broad life-sciences and healthcare range to produce and accelerate the delivery of life-saving health and wellness solutions to people worldwide.”

     

    The Center’s mission, he noted, is aligned with Georgia Tech’s goal to “develop leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition.”

     

    Supported by a $3 million Economic Development Administration Build to Scale grant, the Center will provide services at no cost to clients, who must be developing medical devices for human or animal use. They must be located in Georgia and intending to grow their employment in the state.

     

    During the 16-week program, the Center will provide services to the cohort companies, including coaching/mentoring, capital raising, financial literacy, networking, site selection, cybersecurity, production scaling, product design, and development processes. There are 17 companies in the inaugural cohort.

     

    The Center also includes Scaleup Lab, an incubator for developing and startup companies to catalyze growth and enhance research and development by introducing companies to industry leaders, delivering entrepreneurial programs, and providing a capital-efficient, flexible stage to convert today’s scientific discoveries into tomorrow’s breakthrough healthcare solutions. The accelerator classes will include eight to 12 companies that have been recruited, qualified, and advised by the Center’s expert network.

     

    A second program, MedTech Center Health Innovation Hub: Life Science MedTech, is designed for science and healthcare companies seeking growth funding and connections to experts and strategic partners for product development and expansion. Through this program, select Scaleup Lab companies are matched with a personal team tasked with advising on the company’s next growth stage. The year-long, virtual program features presentations from advisors and investors on topics such as biotechnology, healthcare, and hospital systems; medical devices and diagnostics; therapeutics; pharmaceuticals; rare diseases; and consumer healthcare.

     

    “I see the MedTech Center as a support and addition to the current life sciences and entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Melecio said. “It’s a place for businesses to get everything from customized program content to grant and investor support, all geared specifically toward life science companies.”

     

    About the Enterprise Innovation Institute
    The Enterprise Innovation Institute, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s economic development unit, serves all of Georgia through a variety of services and programs that build and scale startups, grow business enterprises, and energize ecosystem builders. As the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based economic development organization, the Institute’s expertise and reach are global; its innovation, entrepreneurship, and ecosystem development programs serve governments, universities, nonprofits, and other organizations worldwide. In 2021, the Enterprise Innovation Institute served more than 15,500 businesses, communities, and entrepreneurs. Those clients reported startup investment capital exceeding $1.1 billion and creating or saving more than 11,300 jobs. The Enterprise Innovation Institute’s total 2021 financial impact exceeded $2.9 billion. Learn more at innovate.gatech.edu.

     

    About 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.

     

    About the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership 

    Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, whose purpose is to enhance global competitiveness for Georgia manufacturers. Each year, GaMEP offers coaching and training to more than 700 manufacturers across the state to help increase top-line growth, reduce bottom-line costs, and boost the economic well-being of Georgia. To learn more, visit gamep.org.

     

    About Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI)

    GCMI’s mission is to bring new medical technologies to market that improve quality-based outcomes and delivery of care for patients worldwide. To learn more, visit gcmiatl.com.

     

    For media inquiries, contact Péralte C. Paul, 404.316.1210, ude.hcetag.mmocnull@luap.etlarep

     

    For information about the Center for MedTech Excellence, contact Nakia Melecio,  678.478.2422, ude.hcetag.etavonninull@oicelem.aikan

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    Economic Development Administration Awards Georgia Tech $65 Million for AI Manufacturing Project

    Largest grant ever awarded to a Georgia Tech-led coalition of partners to drive Build Back Better initiatives

    ATLANTA — The Georgia Institute of Technology has been awarded a $65 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support a statewide initiative that combines artificial intelligence and manufacturing innovations with transformational workforce and outreach programs. The grant will increase job and wage opportunities in distressed and rural communities, as well as among historically underrepresented and underserved groups.

     

    The Georgia Artificial Intelligence Manufacturing Technology Corridor (GA-AIM) effort is one of 21 winning projects the White House announced today under the Biden administration’s $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge. The award follows a $500,000 Phase 1 feasibility grant the project received in 2021.

     

     

    “Georgia Tech is honored to lead this vision of collaborative innovation and economic development across all regions of our state,” said Georgia Tech President Ángel Cabrera. “This award underscores the Institute's commitment to leverage our resources and expertise to address great challenges, serve our state and nation, and amplify our impact on the world.”

     

    The selected awardees represent projects in 24 states with grant amounts ranging from $25 million to $65 million.

     

    “As we invest and grow critical industries in the U.S., we want to create industry hubs in diverse communities across the country,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “These grants will provide critical and historic funding directly to community coalitions to invest in new infrastructure, research and development, and workforce development programs while creating good-paying jobs, supporting workers, and prioritizing equity.”

     

    Members of the Georgia AIM team (from left) Georgia White, David Bridges, Donna Ennis, Burunda Prince, and Aaron Stebner listen as President Joe Biden discusses the funding award to Georgia Tech and its partners. (PHOTO: Peralte C. Paul)

    The GA-AIM project is led by Aaron Stebner, associate professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the School of Materials Science and Engineering; Donna Ennis, director of Diversity Engagement and Program Development in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and also director of its Georgia MBDA Business Center; and Thomas R. Kurfess, executive director of the Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute.

     

    “The ability to integrate our discoveries and innovations here at the AI Manufacturing Pilot Facility with novel workforce programs and transformative outreach experiences is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something greater in ways that increase opportunity and prosperity for all Georgians,” Stebner said. “Through an equitable AI manufacturing innovation focus, the assembled coalition of partners and stakeholders across the state will build a more prosperous and resilient Georgia and set a nation-leading example.”

     

    The AI Manufacturing Pilot Facility, which will allow for government and industry pilot trials, cybersecurity games, and workforce training for AI manufacturing technologies, is just one component of Georgia Tech’s support for the project.

     

    Two of Georgia Tech’s commercialization programs — VentureLab and I-Corps South — will create a center for the commercialization of AI manufacturing technologies into local and regional startups through training built on the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps curriculum.

     

    The Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s economic development arm, will engage in focused outreach and technical assistance to small- and mid-sized manufacturers and minority business enterprises through its Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) and Georgia MBDA Business Center programs. Other Enterprise Innovation Institute programs include the Economic Development Lab, the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation, and ATDC, which will focus on outreach and engagement in distressed and underserved parts of the state, create workforce development programs, implementation strategies, and attract outside investment.

     

    “The work that we will accomplish with our broad spectrum of partners in this new endeavor will leverage the latest technology in artificial intelligence to grow and strengthen our workforce ensuring that the growing manufacturing sector in Georgia has the skilled workforce that it requires for today’s as well as tomorrow’s needs,” Kurfess said. “At the same the high paying and secure jobs will be going to a very diverse population base from across the state, providing an equitable robust future for all citizens of Georgia.”

     

    Georgia Tech’s Supply Chain & Logistics Institute will study the impact of automation technologies, build automation solutions tailored for rural manufacturers, and create programs that lower the barrier for rural manufacturers’ access to use the AI Manufacturing Pilot Facility.

     

    Finally, Georgia Tech’s K-12 InVenture Prize and Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing programs will expand their emphasis to rural and underserved areas of the state by piloting a rural regional event with a region-specific prize. They will also create supplemental lessons centered on AI and data science that will be part of a K-12 InVenture Prize curriculum website.

     

    “We are excited to be a part of this collaborative effort to catalyze research and innovation in AI and manufacturing across the state of Georgia,” said Chaouki T. Abdallah, executive vice president for Research at Georgia Tech. “This project aligns with our goals to expand economic opportunity in our state's underserved communities, and to serve as a collaborative hub for interdisciplinary research that advances technology and improves people’s lives.”

     

    Georgia Tech is working with a coalition of statewide partners to create a foundation that supports existing business growth and new business ventures across the state especially in underserved communities and rural Georgia.

     

    “All across the state of Georgia, our programs in the Enterprise Innovation Institute work hard to unlock potential and foster economic opportunity for all, particularly in underserved and marginalized communities,” said David Bridges, vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, and co-author of the grant proposal with Stebner. “This project leverages what we and our partners each do best to help achieve our broader Georgia AIM goals.”

     

    Tech’s partners include the:

     

    “What's really special about this effort is that it's centered on a wholistic approach with innovation, not just one piece of AI or manufacturing,” Ennis said. “We're working collectively statewide to transform and propel forward our industry, communities, and most importantly, our people.”

     

    That collective approach is critical to GA-AIM’s success, said Houston County Development Authority Executive Director Angie Gheesling.

     

    “The Development Authority and the 21st Century Partnership lead the Middle Georgia Innovation Project, which includes 11 counties in the Middle Georgia region, a diverse landscape of communities from rural to urban,” she said. “This award further facilitates the continuation of several years of collaboration between local leadership, our universities, private industry, and Robins Air Force Base to position ourselves as a Software Center of Excellence. We are grateful to Georgia Tech for the opportunity to partner and contribute to the overall future success of GA-AIM.”

     

    Burunda Prince, chief operating officer of the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs, echoed those sentiments, saying its reach is exponentially amplified through the GA-AIM partnership.

     

    The Center will create a mobile, 5,000-square-foot LaunchPad AI Innovation Studio to provide prototyping and proof-of-concept development of physical products. Black entrepreneurs in rural and urban Georgia will have access to equipment, training, and mentoring, and LaunchPad AI will also be open to AI InVenture teams from Atlanta’s urban K-12 schools.

     

    As part of the Build Back Better grant, the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs will help Black businesses leverage the benefits of artificial intelligence to provide better data and insights that will build stronger companies and drive greater wealth generation,” Prince said. “What makes this opportunity unique is the cross collaboration of partners which will engage and empower communities across Georgia through access to technologies that often are inaccessible.”

     

    Equally as important is the education component and the ability for it to be a bridge to new skills and opportunities for Georgia workers, said Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Greg Dozier.

     

    “The funding for the project will equip four TCSG colleges with state-of-the-art manufacturing studios that will showcase the clean, safe state of modern manufacturing,” Dozier said. “Automation in manufacturing creates a demand for more skilled jobs, giving TCSG the charge to strengthen the workforce pipeline by training Georgians in these exciting, new technologies. The Georgia AIM project provides the funding to meet these opportunities head on.”

     

    About the U.S. Economic Development Administration
    The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

     

    About the Georgia Institute of Technology
    The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is a top 10 public research university developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its nearly 44,000 students representing 50 states and 149 countries, study at the main campus in Atlanta, at campuses in France and China, and through distance and online learning. As a leading technological university, Georgia Tech is an engine of economic development for Georgia, the Southeast, and the nation, conducting more than $1 billion in research annually for government, industry, and society.

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    Enterprise Innovation Institute VP Receives 'World Best Leader' Award from International Research Conference
    David Bridges Awards

    Angela Lee (left), a student at Lambert High School in Suwanee, and Georgia Tech student Sujin Cho (right) present David Bridges, Enterprise Innovation Institute vice president with the World Best Leader Award. (PHOTO: Peralte C. Paul)

    David Bridges, vice president of Georgia Tech's Enterprise Innovation Institute, was a featured speaker at the International Conference and Awards for the Earth Environment in South Korea.

     

    The conference, held earlier this summer at the National Assembly Proceeding Hall, in Seoul, featured seminars and breakout sessions regarding policies focused on environmental protection on a global scale.

     

    Bridges, who received the World Best Leader Award, discussed resilience and recovery in supply chain, cybersecurity, and advanced manufacturing trends and best practices for small and medium-sized businesses and startups.

     

    In addition to Bridges' award, a team of Georgia high school and university students, including Georgia Tech, were given the 2022 Top Class Representative Person Award for their efforts in leading environmental campaigns.

     

    The conference aims to share economic, environmental, technological, and social startup innovations to encourage the sustainable development of ideas and technologies, ultimately supporting United Nation’s sustainable development goals.

     

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    Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Recognizes Donna Ennis at Gala

    Verónica Maldonado-Torres (left), president and CEO of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, presents the Enterprise Innovation Institute's Donna Ennis with the President’s Award - Partner in the Promise at its 34th Annual Awards Gala. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

    The Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the state's largest organization for the interests of Latino business owners, awarded Donna M. Ennis, C.P.F., with its President's Award - Partner in the Promise at its 34th Annual Awards Gala, for her work in helping to expand opportunity for minority businesses and entrepreneurs.

     

    The annual gala highlights those leaders in Georgia who have made significant contributions in promoting and supporting Hispanic businesses. It also recognizes those who help foster stronger ties between non-Hispanic entities and the Hispanic market. Ennis and other awardees were fêted at a dinner banquet August 28 in Downtown Atlanta.

     

    Ennis is director of diversity engagement and program development at the Enterprise Innovation Institute, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s economic development and growth arm. She leads efforts to find funding and program opportunities, particularly those with a focus on underrepresented and underserved communities and organizations. She also is director of the Georgia Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center, one of the Enterprise Innovation Institute's programs. As director, Ennis has assisted clients secure in excess of $3.5 billion in contracts, financing, and sales, and create or save more than 6,000.

     

    For Ennis, who has been at Georgia Tech since 1992, the award is a reflection of Georgia Tech's commitment to helping foster positive economic development across all communities in Georgia and the value of collaboration. "The award demonstrates the tenacity that we've had at Georgia Tech in terms of developing partnerships in the community," Ennis said. "It really shows that we have a commitment to the minority business community, the Hispanic business community and all the communities we serve as part of the Enterprise Innovation Institute in fulfillment of our economic development mission for the state of of Georgia."

     

    The Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce was a major partner for the coronavirus relief funding award that the Georgia MBDA Business Center received, Ennis said, explaining that support helped her team serve more than 1,500 minority-owned businesses via technical assistance services, resources, access to capital, and leverage its network for strategic growth opportunities.

     

    Such collaborations are important, Ennis said, because while minority businesses have made advances, work still remains toward getting greater access.

     

    "Statistics show we still have not reached parity," she said. "Minority businesses still struggle for capital and opportunity. We still don't have equitable access. There is still quite a bit of disparity. So these organizations are very necessary to make sure that we work toward equitable access for our businesses and our communities."

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