With remote work continuing, it’s often hard to get to know one another, especially for new employees. So, we’re looking for new ways to make connections. Meet this month’s two new employees, Ward Broom and Alberto Ponce. If you run into them or someone else you don’t know at a meeting or on Zoom or Teams, introduce yourself. Work relationships are important to well-being, and this is just one way to help cultivate those relationships.
Ward Broom, Automation & Robotics Catalyst, Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC)
Ward will oversee the ATDC Automation and Robotics Program — sponsored by Amazon Robotics. He will recruit startups, coach and mentor them, and market the program to those entrepreneurs looking to build and scale technology companies in the robotics or automation sectors.
A triple graduate of Georgia Tech, Ward earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and an Executive MBA. One of his sons is also a Tech grad with degrees in civil engineering and computer science.
He loves golf and travel – especially trips to the North Carolina mountains, where he can indulge both passions. His wife is a writer and his older son graduated from the Citadel and serves in the Army.
Alberto Ponce, Associate Project Manager, Economic Development Lab (EDL)
Alberto will work in the Innovation Ecosystems group to support projects that develop entrepreneurship ecosystems in Latin America and assist with the Soft Landings program that helps foreign companies navigate their way into the U.S. market.
Alberto has experience running entrepreneurship programs and as an entrepreneur himself. Most recently, he served as the innovation center coordinator at the Medical Center of the Americas in El Paso, Texas.
A native of Mexico, Alberto exercises his creativity in his off time. He enjoys reading, watching classic and contemporary films, listening to music, and playing chess.
With a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from the Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez, in Mexico, Alberto looks forward to working on projects that help enrich communities around the world.
The grant supports the creation of curriculum and tools to empower disadvantaged communities and instill equity
ATLANTA — Global climate change is causing an increase in the frequency, severity, and persistence of destructive weather events. These events coupled with economic- and health-related crises have exacerbated disproportionate effects and inequitable outcomes for vulnerable populations.
To help mitigate these outcomes, Georgia Institute of Technology will work with Alliance Solutions Group (ASG) to create a training and education curriculum that fosters partnerships, information sharing, and problem solving among community-based organizations, local and state leaders, first responders, economic development organizations, and emergency managers.
“We are seeing more and more severe weather events, many of them having a disproportionate impact on small and underserved communities in our country,” said David Bridges, vice president of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. “This is an opportunity to use our expertise and networks to help communities that have been hit hardest solve this growing crisis.”
Supported by a three-year funding award of $1.5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the training will provide community leaders with the tools and resources to develop climate adaptation strategies that will empower disadvantaged communities and instill equity.
“Our needs analysis identified training gaps that compound existing inequities and highlight the need for systemic solutions to improve climate literacy and better integrate underserved populations into all elements of the National Preparedness System,” said Bob Campbell, founder and CEO of ASG. “This education series will support communities around the country in fostering partnerships to develop and implement equitable climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.”
ASG, a Newport News, Virginia-based company that provides innovative emergency management and environmental solutions to the public, private, and defense sectors, is partnering with the Enterprise Innovation Institute and Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in the research, development, and delivery of the training.
“I am excited to contribute to these courses on climate resilience with lessons we have learned developing a course at Georgia Tech on using climate information to improve the resilience of coastal communities to sea level rise,” said Alex Robel, assistant professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, who will be part of the team developing content. “Our goal is to disseminate best practices to emergency management agencies around the U.S.”
FEMA developed the grant to further implementation of its goals to instill equity in emergency management and lead the country in climate resilience.
“This is an important opportunity for Georgia Tech to build on its experience with the Smart Sea Level Sensors project in Chatham County that provides real-time information on sea level rise to underserved communities,” said Doreen Kincaid, the project manager on the grant. “It will also allow Georgia Tech and ASG to leverage their partnership and experience on two previous FEMA grants related to hazardous materials and economic recovery to develop and deliver a training program with measurable results.”
National in scope with a mix of virtual and in-person delivery, the training courses will be available in all 50 states, six territories, and 573 Native American communities. In support of the Justice40 Initiative, President Joe Biden’s order to direct 40% of the benefits of federal investments related to climate change and training to disadvantaged communities, the team will prioritize training for those communities. As courses are completed and ready for delivery, they will be posted in FEMA’s National Training and Educational Division online catalogue.
As community leaders complete training, they will be equipped to conduct climate risk and social vulnerability assessments, outline strategies for incorporating vulnerable populations into plans, develop risk communication strategies, establish plans to stabilize community lifelines, and understand and apply climate forecasts into emergency management programs.
About Georgia Tech
The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is one of the top public research universities in the U.S., developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. The Institute offers business, computing, design, engineering, liberal arts, and sciences degrees. Its more than 46,000 students, representing 50 states and more than 150 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.
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 School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
The School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, part of the College of Sciences at Georgia Tech, produces breakthrough discoveries through research and prepares students to advance the knowledge of Earth sciences as they become leaders in academia, government, and industry. EAS applies scientific knowledge and principles to inform and support public policy, resource management, and environmental stewardship. The internationally recognized School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences has delivered 15 climate-related courses to more than 5,000 students over the last 10 years.
About Alliance Solutions Group, Inc.
Alliance Solutions Group (ASG) is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business that offers emergency management and environmental, health, and safety solutions to all levels of the public, private, and defense sectors. ASG’s team of strategists, thought leaders, subject matter experts, and instructors have an average of 20+ years of experience in their respective fields. In meeting customers’ needs, ASG leverages thousands of lessons learned, best practices and business processes that have been synthesized over 17 years. Having conducted over 15,000 workplace audits and several thousand training and exercise events, ASG has built a solid understanding of the challenges facing both private and public sector organizations in multiple sectors. ASG’s perspective spans from the local to the global, with offices across the U.S. and throughout the world, and partnerships with municipal, state, federal, military, and private sector clients in 48 states and 17 countries. Learn more at asg-inc.org.
About the Federal Emergency Management Agency
At FEMA, we employ more than 20,000 people nationwide. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we have 10 regional offices located across the country. We leverage a tremendous capacity to coordinate within the federal government to make sure America is equipped to prepare for and respond to disasters. Our mission is helping people before, during and after disasters. Our core values and guiding principles help us achieve it. To learn more, visit fema.gov.
Lynne Henkiel has been named interim director of the Economic Development Lab in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute effective immediately.
She succeeds David Bridges who, in November 2021, was named vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Georgia Tech’s economic development arm.
The Economic Development Lab – through three focus areas — assists governments, communities, foundations, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in fostering value creation by applying innovative ideas, technology, and policy to economic growth-focused initiatives. The Economic Development Lab has had projects in all of Georgia’s 159 counties and in 24 international districts and territories. In 2021, its projects resulted in $11.3 million in investments to its clients and 174 jobs being saved and created.
Prior to becoming Economic Development Lab director, Henkiel led one of its focus areas, Innovation Ecosystems. That group works with communities, economic development organizations, and universities in assessing and planning local and regional ecosystems.
“Lynne is the ideal person to run the Economic Development Lab given her background and expertise,” Bridges said. “She has been an integral component in creating and implementing our innovative ecosystems development through the application of research and education.”
Henkiel, who has been with Georgia Tech for more than 20 years, is the primary awardee for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Agency’s (EDA) University Center award to Georgia Tech for the last two award periods. She also received the EDA Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) I6 award in 2014 among other funding grants. In addition, she is the developer for the incubation health assessments tool, community innovation assessment tool, and instrumental in developing the Georgia Tech Soft Landings program for international companies looking to expand into the U.S. market.
Her career at Georgia Tech started with a focus on commercializing innovations from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the Stennis Space Center, and Marshall Space Flight Center.
As part of her responsibilities in working with startup companies that licensed NASA technology, she collaborated with entrepreneurs to help them overcome many of the early pitfalls of they were likely to face, as well as develop educational programming to aid in their successes. She also managed the dual-use industry partnerships for the Marshall Space Flight Center, which involved working with large and startup businesses.
Henkiel also created the U.S. Expansion Practicum course at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business, which partners MBA students with successful business owners — including Georgia Tech alumni — focused on U.S. business expansion. She has written several articles and is a sought-after ecosystem building expert who has delivered many presentations across the United States and internationally.
She leads the Innovation and Technology Commercialization Professional course in China and is evaluating strategies to expand the course to include Spanish, French, and Arabic-speaking countries.
Henkiel is an active member of the Technology Association of Georgia’s International Society Board, a board member of the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), a member of the State Science & Technology Institute (SSTI) and a subject advisor to the New Space effort for the government of Chile.
Henkiel holds a master’s degree in the Management of Technology from the University of Miami, and had an extensive career in finance with IBM prior to joining Georgia Tech.
Customer Profile The Economic Development Lab in the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2) at Georgia Tech recently developed and launched the Associate Level Innovation and Technology Commercialization Professional (ITCP) course through Tech’s Professional Education program.
This asynchronous course contains the latest instruction of best practices in technology commercialization, and utilizes the Asia Pacific Economic Council (APEC)’s Handbook specifically developed for its members’ use and reference of technology commercialization practices. The International Technology Transfer Network (ITTN) developed this handbook at the request of the APEC. The Georgia Tech ITCP course launched its pilot cohort in March 2021. Working with ITTN, EDL was able to create the course and translate it into the Mandarin language for the Chinese speaking population that was identified as the intended test audience. Delivered on-line in China, the course targets Chinese professionals with two years or less of relevant professional experience in the field of technology commercialization. It is intended to provide Chinese researchers, innovators, technology transfer professionals, technology commercialization professionals, and others in the field with a fundamental understanding of how to:
feed more innovation and talent into research institutions and the local innovation ecosystem,
energize technology transfer practices with leading edge commercialization methods to insure that more innovation is successfully commercialized in the market and society in an equitable manner,
nurture the growth of local innovation ecosystems across a country to stimulate commercialization between industry, academia, government, and startups, and
foster cross-border collaborations to move innovation into global markets. The educational materials will be applicable to professionals regardless of size of economy, development status, and location (Asia, Europe, Africa, Americas, Oceania).
China was selected as the pilot location for a variety of both strategic and opportunistic reasons. China is a rapidly growing market for technology commercialization professionals with well over 100,000 potential ITCP students. As the world’s two leading economies, it is critical that the United States and China work together in practical ways to establish globally accepted best practices. This can be accomplished through the ITCP training program. The U.S. State Department, Tech’s EI2, and the International Technology Transfer Network (ITTN) were closely involved in developing and vetting the APEC Handbook of Technology Commercialization which has been a key underpinning of the pilot ITCP program. This handbook establishes a consensus on some of the most important terminology, best practices, and know-how for innovation and technology commercialization professionals around the world. In addition, the ITCP program is strategically aligned with Georgia Tech’s commitment to global service, international impact, and economic development. While the pilot course was launched in China, the intent is to establish the ITCP program as an international standard to level the playing field for smaller and less developed countries. These objectives are directly connected to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Particularly, goal 4 – to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; goal 8 – to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; goal 9 – to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation; and goal 17 – to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development, convergence of unique capabilities, global connections, and impactful opportunities. Finally, China is a thought and opinion leader in the region which could lead to a rapid and smooth expansion of ITCP to other Asia Pacific countries.
Solution As one of the largest and most comprehensive, university-based organizations in the world focused on the practice of innovation-led economic development and technology commercialization, Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute is globally recognized and uniquely qualified to champion the ITCP program. Additionally, Georgia Tech Professional Education has instructional design capabilities and technical framework for developing and delivering asynchronous remote learning at the scale needed in China. The city of Shenzhen is home to one of Georgia Tech’s flagship international campuses outside of Atlanta; the ITCP program will bring added reputational awareness and potential collaborations to this campus from across China. As Chinese is one of the strategic languages taught by Georgia Tech’s School of Modern Languages, the ITCP program will provide practical, cross-cultural, and enriching experiences for Tech graduate students learning Chinese, especially students enrolled in the Global Media and Cultures program.
Results Through this collaboration, the EI2 and ITTN teams have asynchronously executed four pilot cohorts containing 960 total students coming mainly from technology (40 percent), university, research and development (17 percent) and government (12 percent) careers. With an average student age of 36, and with more than half of all students having less than 5 years of experience, this program has been validated by its initial targeted audience. Even though this course targets students with almost no experience, students with vast experience also benefited from the course structure and content and reported they were not previously exposed to a formal and standardized course that covered the main topics a technology transfer professional should know. In terms of gender, the course has been almost equally attended by highly educated males and female students, with 11 percent of all students who participated in the pilot programs having a doctorate degree, 52 percent earning a master’s degree, and 31% having a bachelor’s degree. The role of entrepreneurs and startups in an innovation ecosystem (52 percent) and the role of universities and research institutes in an innovation ecosystem (57 percent) have been the two most learned topics and skills among the enrolled students. Nearly 80 of the total students who graduated from the ITCP course reported they were extremely likely (42 percent) and very likely (37 percent) to recommend this course.
In total, 785 Chinese learners have completed the ITCP Course to date and received a certificate from Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE).
Based on the positive feedback and interest in the technology commercialization topic expressed by the Chinese students, a principal level and senior level is under consideration for future development.
The University of South Africa (UNISA) is collaborating with the Georgia Institute of Technology to foster an innovation-focused, university-based economic development ecosystem is South Africa.
The agreement — solidified April 26, 2019 — calls for Tech’s assistance and guidance in the creation of an innovation ecosystem to support student entrepreneurship, curricular and extra-curricular programs, and faculty and student venture creation, as well as programs that small business development opportunities and industry engagement in South Africa. While South Africa is Africa’s second-wealthiest nation as ranked by gross domestic product, the country has an unemployment rate of 25 percent, one of the highest in the world.
“With this partnership, I am convinced that current and future generations will look back and say this was an intervention that turned the course of our university and communities through enterprise innovation,” said M.S. Makhanya, UNISA principal and vice chancellor. “This inspires us because we are very clear about the future we are building together.”
The effort comes after a delegation of UNISA educators spent two weeks in Atlanta to study Georgia Tech’s economic development group, the Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2).
Comprised of a dozen programs, EI2 is the largest university-based economic development organization of its kind in the United States.
While on campus, the South African delegates met with various EI2 programs, including the Advanced Technology Development Center, Georgia’s technology incubator, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which works with manufacturers to innovate, increase top-line growth and reduce bottom-line costs, and Innovation Corps., which prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and foster entrepreneurship. They also met with Georgia Tech’s Office of Industry Collaboration, and visited other economic development-oriented entities, including Georgia State University.
Leading the two-week immersion effort was EI2‘s Innovation Ecosystems program, which works with domestic and international communities, universities, and organizations to help them develop and implement entrepreneurship and business incubation programs, as well as ecosystem analysis, among other services. Innovation Ecosystems has done projects in the majority of Georgia’s 159 counties and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, as well as Peru, France, Algeria, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), an organization comprised of 21 countries that are mostly in the Asia-Pacific region.
“We have a three-pronged approach with this collaborative effort, ” said Juli Golemi, Innovation Ecosystems’ senior project manager. ” Our focus is to work with them to help them set up and build an innovation-centered ecosystem — one that’s built around students, faculty, and communities. The long-term goal is for that ecosystem to support and further expand sustainable innovation and economic growth.”
The project supports Georgia Tech’s overall mission and reflect’s its motto of progress and service, said Leslie Sharp, the Institute’s associate vice provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development. Sharp represented the Institute at the signing ceremony between the two schools.
“This partnership is symbolic of our motto and our commitment to being the technological university of the 21st century,” Sharp said. “This underscores the history of Georgia Tech and city of Atlanta. We can progress together.”
10-week Soft Landings Program helps companies understand U.S. market.
The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Soft Landings Program is now accepting applications for the spring cohort, which helps foreign companies that want to establish or increase their business operations in Georgia better understand the U.S. economy.
The Soft Landings Program at Georgia Tech, a 10-week, webinar-based training and education initiative, helps 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 program is offered in the spring and the fall in an online, cohort-based model, but participants come to Atlanta for one week of intensive training and immersion.
The spring cohort begins May 16, 2019. Enrollment is open until May 2, 2019. (APPLY HERE)
“Georgia is very welcoming to business and foreign investment, but we found there wasn’t a blueprint for companies from other countries that shows them all the things they need to consider in making that decision,” said Lynne Henkiel, director of Innovation Ecosystems.
An offering of Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, Innovation Ecosystems works with communities and organizations to analyze and apply innovation-based ideas that drive economic development.
“Our Soft Landings Program is that guide, it leverages our education, government, and business relationships, and taps into our economic development resources, for companies to make an informed decision about expansion into the United States,” Henkiel said.
Among what participants will learn or receive:
Training in Lean Startup Methodology/Customer Validation techniques.
Access to a network of experts in various fields, from accounting to law.
TheSoft Landings structure and training were invaluable for 2018 participant Matthew Tebeau, chief operating officer of Proteon Pharmaceuticals. The Lodz, Poland-based company is focused on eliminating the unnecessary use of antibiotics in livestock farming — but improve farm performance and sustainability — via the introduction of a natural class of anti-bacterials.
“You spend time in the webinar portion preparing and working at your own pace with your team, according to the program. When you come here for the final week, you’re extremely well prepared to take advantage of the opportunities of meeting face to face with the business community,” he said.
“The immersion week is a great opportunity to get a sense of how business is done in the U.S. in your particular sector. But you also see Atlanta, which is this amazing, friendly open business community — I think it’s even unique in the United States.”
The Soft Landings initiative follows the International Business Innovation Association’s (InBIA) 2017 designation of Georgia Tech as a site. The designation recognizes entrepreneurship centers that excel in providing international companies with various services to ensure a smooth landing in the United States.
Innovation Ecosystems is a program of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s economic development arm. Utilizing lean innovation ecosystems building, technology extension, and development programming, Innovation Ecosystems collaborates with communities and organizations domestically and abroad to help them create entrepreneurship and business incubation frameworks to promote sustainable economic development and growth. For more information, visit grow.gatech.edu.
The Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), the Georgia Institute of Technology’s the economic development arm, hosted a delegation of 12 technology companies from Argentina, as part of a multi-city tour to study successful innovation ecosystems.
The 2018 Argentina IT Commercial Mission to Atlanta’s Sept. 18 visit, sponsored by the Consulate General of Argentina and the Argentine American Chamber of Commerce, is designed to give insight into the Atlanta economy and as part of the 12 companies’ longer-term goal of establishing U.S. operations, said Argentina Consul General Jorge Luis Lopez Menardi.
“They’re looking for places to come and explore the possibilities of doing business,” Lopez Menardi said. “We thought the best place for them to come especially regarding an IT mission would be to come to Georgia Tech. The prestige of the university, the talent and the innovation they are promoting from here, we decided the best place to hold the mission would be here.”
Soft Landings, launched in 2018, is a Georgia Tech offering — through its Economic Development Lab (EDL) — that helps foreign companies that want to establish or increase their business operations in Georgia or better understand the U.S. economy. EDL helps communities and organizations apply innovative ideas to economic development in business incubation and commercialization, strategic planning, and economic sustainability.
Soft Landings, Lopez Menardi said, offers what the visiting companies need as they explore doing business in Atlanta and the United States. The group, which includes companies in financial technology, virtual reality, cybersecurity, and gaming, wants to “get to know the environment, how to do business here, and how companies procure here,” Lopez Menardi said, adding they will use what they learn on this fact-finding trip to better prepare them for possible U.S. expansion and connections with American companies.
“They will want to build top from that and come up again with a specific plan of business to offer different companies,” he said, adding the group, which will visit Tech’s incubator, the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), will also visit Chicago to learn about its innovation ecosystem.
In a panel discussion that included Mary Waters, deputy commissioner of international trade at the Georgia Department of Economic Development; Fernanda Yanson, a foreign trade consultant with the Argentina Investment and International Trade Agency; Lopez Menardi, and Golemi, attendees learned about the different components of Georgia’s successful ecosystem.
Among those components: strong public and private partnerships between state government and industry, a friendly business climate, inter-state agency collaboration, unique assets such as Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and economic diversification, Waters said.
“Georgia’s economy is very diverse. We’re strong in agribusiness, we’re strong in aerospace, logistics, medical technologies, ICT, and automotive,” she said.
Underscoring that success model is technology, Waters said, noting the construction boom in Atlanta’s Midtown neighborhood and how Georgia Tech plays a critical role in that innovation-driven growth and expansion.
“Home Depot, Anthem, Delta Air Lines, Mercedes-Benz — they’re all creating innovation certners here in Atlanta and here in Georgia to take advantage of the Georgia Tech talent that we have. Those are companies and expansions that were not on our radar 10 years ago that now underpin the heart and soul of the Atlanta economy and Georgia’s economy,” Waters said.
“Whether you’re talking about automation technology in the manufacturing space or whether you’re talking about tech in agriculture and agribusiness, or innovation in the development of new technologies that will change the world, Georgia is very much in the heart of that and it gets to the heart of what you’re going to hear from Juli and the rest of Georgia Tech and from the private companies you will meet.”
The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Economic Development Lab (EDL) hosted a group of 12 professionals from Peru’s Universidad del Pacifico who sought to get a better understanding of entrepreneurial ecosystems and best practices for innovation development and support.
The group represents the university’s Emprende UP, which serves as its center for entrepreneurship and innovation. Emprende UP runs pre-incubation, incubation, and acceleration programs at the Universidad del Pacifico, a small, private Jesuit school and highly ranked in Peru and across Latin America.
“We chose Georgia Tech because the Tech model in entrepreneurship and innovation is similar to what we are doing in Peru,” said Javier Salinas, Emprende UP’s director. “At the end of our three days here, we recognized that we’re on the right track, but we can improve and refine our services for the Peruvian innovation ecosystem.
EDL, a program of Tech’s economic development arm, the Enterprise Innovation Institute, helps communities and organizations apply innovative ideas to economic development in business incubation and commercialization, strategic planning, and economic sustainability.
“The objective of this three-day immersion program at Tech was for the Emprende UP team to experience and learn from the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems here at the Institute and across Atlanta,” said Mónica Novoa, an EDL project manager.
“The group learned and acquired key insights and best practices by interacting with us, and with the invited speakers, entrepreneurs, and city officials through a series of intensive and experiential workshops.”
As part of that learning process, the Emprende UP team toured Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), which is the state’s technology incubator, and met with some of its startups in the financial technology (FinTech) sector.
The FinTech space was of particular interest because Emprende UP has spent the past 18 months developing an ecosystem around it and working with Peru’s banking regulators, leading financial institutions and international technology firms towards that initiative, Salinas said.
Beyond FinTech, the team focused on learning about other components that comprise successful innovation ecosystems, such as closer alignment with academics. They also saw how corporations seek to be near universities and tap into those schools’ research and innovation expertise.
In the past five years, more than 20 large corporations, including Delta Air Lines, AT&T, and Anthem, have opened corporate innovation centers in and around Technology Square to access the talents and technologies developed at Georgia Tech.
“The first takeaway is that we need to work more closely with the academia side — teachers and students,” said Martha Zúñiga, Emprende UP’s head of special projects. “The second takeaway is that Peru is just developing its innovation ecosystem and we have to support the growth of corporate innovation centers, because their inclusion is part of that ecosystem growth.”
EDL, which has had projects in 151 of Georgia’s 159 counties and more than six dozen initiatives in 9 countries, will be going to Peru in August as a follow up in continuing its ecosystem development work with Emprende UP.
The group is accompanied by representatives of the Colombian Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (Confecámaras), and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism’s Program of Productivity Transformation. All are participating in a week-long training program in technology extension.
“This program is part of our ongoing collaboration with the Private Council of Competitivenessto design and implement a program of technology extension in Colombia,” said Mónica Novoa, an EDL program manager. “As part of the training program at Georgia Tech, the group is attending workshops facilitated by our GaMEPgroup in topics including lean manufacturing, energy management, innovation, and growth management.”
The program also includes a site visit to a manufacturing company in Georgia to observe its facilities and learn how it has implemented strategies to increase productivity and competitiveness.
EDL helps communities and organizations create jobs and become more competitive through the application of innovative ideas to economic development. Areas of expertise include business incubation and commercialization, strategic planning, and economic sustainability.
The GaMEP is a state and federally funded initiative and member of the national MEP network that is supported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). GaMEP works with manufacturers across the state of Georgia and offers a low-cost, solution-based approach through coaching and education designed to increase top-line growth and reduce-bottom line costs.
Both programs are offerings of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, which is Georgia Tech’s economic development arm.
Visit follows Georgia Tech offer helps Hurricane Maria-affected entrepreneurs and researchers from Puerto Rico tap into Technology Square’s innovation ecosystem.
As a third-year biomedical student at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, Jamily Ali Pons has been studying how parasites affect the monarch butterfly’s life cycle.
But Hurricane Maria, the costliest storm to ever hit the U.S. island territory, wrecked her research and lab facilities when it hit Puerto Rico, Sept. 20, 2017.
Now — after recently spending a week at the Georgia Institute of Technology — the 26-year-old San Juan native, said she’s broadening her sights beyond research and thinking about commercializing her findings.
“Georgia Tech helped me to meet a lot of experts in my field and get my research experiments to the next level with new methods and expand my opportunities in in the entrepreneurial field as a researcher,” Ali Pons said. “Being here helped me to see my research as an entrepreneur and to see the possibilities of taking it from the research stage to a product by immersing myself as an entrepreneur.”
Ali Pons’ visit to Georgia Tech followed the Institute’s offer to host entrepreneurs and innovators from Puerto Rico still affected by the deadly storm to continue their work here temporarily in Technology Square.
She shared her experiences in recent interview on Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “On Second Thought” radio program. (Listen to the broadcast at this link: https://bit.ly/2FlrjxB.)
The Economic Development Lab (EDL), program of Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, has been a partner to various universities and economic development organizations on the island since 2012.
EDL is able to offer use of the space temporarily to Ali Pons and others via the Georgia Advanced Technology Ventures Inc., a non-profit organization and Tech affiliate.
The initiative followed 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.
Mónica Novoa, a project manager at EDL, said the offering is part of its ongoing work in Puerto Rico since 2012, when a team from the Institute went to the island to conduct a full assessment of its innovation ecosystem in a government-funded study.
“Our initial work with that study and what we’re doing now has been centered around the role of universities in developing entrepreneurial programs and to teach how to be innovative and creative from that standpoint,” Novoa said.
That initial assessment led to EDL partnerships with two non-profits Grupo Guayacan and Echar Pa’lante to implement a host of programs funded by various organizations.
Some of the collaborative accomplishments in Puerto Rico in the last three years alone include:
Startup bootcamps for 80 entrepreneurial teams.
Successful teams have raised $5 million in capital.
The launch of the island’s first-ever seed fund, which raised a $1 million.
Building one of the first mentor networks.
Supporting the University of Puerto Rico licensing its first securing the first license technology in its history.
Trained over 400 faculty and ecosystem members in lean startups techniques.
Supporting a $40 million research grant in cell manufacturing technologies for a consortium of partners that includes Georgia Tech, Emory University, and the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez.