Intentional Leadership in the Enterprise Innovation Institute

Juli Golemi recently completed the Leading Women@Tech program

Diversity, equity, and inclusion can sometimes seem like catch phrases that organizations use, but don’t really follow through on. At Georgia Tech, the Leading Women@Tech program, which is housed in Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (IDEI), is proving that the Institute doesn’t just talk the talk, it walks the walk.

Juli Golemi, at the introduction of cohort six (Photo: Kemi Griffin, Kemi Griffin Photography)

Leading Women@Tech provides women with the opportunity and curriculum to strengthen their leadership abilities, enhance personal and professional growth, and support overall career development, while facilitating connections among women across campus.

“A leadership program is important for women because leadership can be lonely and isolating,” said Pearl Alexander, IDEI’s executive director of diversity, equity, and inclusion. “And it’s probably one of the most challenging experiences that folks have. This investment helps support women in their career growth and advancement. A lot of programs are designed to grow skills. Ours is different in that we are seeking to help women increase their self-awareness. Any leader, male or female needs that. To be a really good leader, you have to know yourself well, know your strengths, your limitations, and possibilities.”

The development of women leaders has been shown to strengthen organizations and businesses, make them better places to work, and enhance the bottom line.

Juli Golemi, the Enterprise Innovation Institute’s director of Innovation Ecosystems in the Economic Development Lab (EDL), recently completed the program as part of the sixth cohort of women leaders.

“I really liked that it was a diverse group of speakers and a diverse group of participants,” Golemi said. “We all came from different backgrounds, representing different units, and we brought our own experiences.”

That diversity is one of the ways a cohort is selected, Alexander said.

The women leaders of the sixth cohort (Photo: Kemi Griffin, Kemi Griffin Photography)

“We develop the cohort with a number of variables in mind including diversity in perspective,” she said. “A lot of the value of the cohort is they’re growing together, they’re learning, and everyone contributes from their experience, from their knowledge base. That really shapes the power of the experience. With Juli, she had experience with international studies. She studied at a European university, as well as domestically. She’s part of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, which is doing some very innovative things.”

The two-month program, which paused during the pandemic, roared back to life last fall with 26 participants from across the Georgia Tech campus. Leading Women@Tech launched in 2016 as a result of feedback from the 2012 Climate Assessment Survey, which revealed a desire for more mentoring and networking opportunities for women at Georgia Tech. Since its launch, more than 120 women have participated in the program. It is offered to women at the director level and nominations for the next cohort will open in April.

“Our primary target year over year has been women in that director-level role, because they are the ones who have significant influence in the organization,” Alexander said. “They are usually leading very impactful initiatives, and they’re in the middle in terms of their career trajectories. It’s a pivotal time in their careers.”

The fall 2022 program consisted of in-person and online leadership development, hands-on activities to assess the participants personal leadership styles, and stress relievers including meditation practice.

“The hands-on skill-building sessions in the areas of emotional intelligence and storytelling were the highlights of the program for me,” Golemi said. “We also focused on the practice of mindfulness.  A spiritual teacher guided the group though a couple of meditation sessions. The practical approach of the sessions, followed by stimulating discussions made it an exceptional learning experience.”

The cohort may have completed the active part of the program, but as participants, they are members for life, and will be invited back to future events and programs.

“The program underscored the importance of being a mindful and an intentional leader,” Golemi said. “I lead a very diverse team, so keeping that cultural aspect in mind is where the intentional leading comes in. This program has provided me with the tools and skills necessary to intentionally lead my very talented team in achieving excellence.”

Lynne Henkiel Retires from Georgia Tech

Lynne Henkiel headshot
Lynne Henkiel has retired after 22 years of service to Georgia Tech. (PHOTO: Péralte C. Paul)

Lynne Henkiel, director of the Economic Development Lab in Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, has retired after 22 years of service.

“Lynne has been an integral part of why the Enterprise Innovation Institute has been so successful our economic development mission,” said David Bridges, vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute. “She has been an invaluable resource, friend, and mentor across our organization and a vital conduit in the application of research and education from Georgia Tech into our economic development programming and activities.”

As Georgia Tech’s globally recognized economic development arm, the Enterprise Innovation Institute is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of tech startup entrepreneurship, ecosystem building and development, business services and consulting, international outreach, and student-focused engagement opportunities.

“Her commitment to serving Georgia, her tireless pursuit in bringing resources to our state and leveraging opportunities for greater economic impact embodies what we strive to do every day,” Bridges said. “She will be greatly missed, but she helped us build EI2 into what it is today and positioned us to expand our mission and scope in Georgia and beyond.”

Under her leadership, the Economic Development Lab in 2022 worked in all 159 of Georgia’s counties and one country overseas, helped its clients secure more than $134 million in capital investments, created or saved 65 jobs, and train 1,002 economic development professionals in continuing education certifications.

“It has been a wonderful privilege to have served the state of Georgia and to help fulfill Georgia Tech’s promise of progress and service,” Henkiel said. “Being part of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, collaborating with my colleagues to create new opportunities to maximize potential in communities and organizations across the state and the world has been an honor.”

With Henkiel’s retirement, which took effect February 1, the Economic Development Lab, which assists governments, communities, foundations, and entrepreneurs, is being apportioned into two separate groups.

The Center for Economic Development Research (CEDR), which provides economic and fiscal impact and labor market analyses, strategic planning, and professional development, will now operate as a separate program. Alfie Meek, Ph.D., will continue to serve as its director. CEDR staff will continue to operate the Economic Development Research Program (EDRP) which offers affordable economic development and policy research to communities.

To address expanding demand from international organizations, governments, companies, and universities, as well as Georgia’s economic business environment the Enterprise Innovation Institute is creating a new program group — EI2 Global.

That program will be led by Juli Golemi. It will include Innovation Ecosystems, which helps launch, operate, and sustain success entrepreneurship and innovation programs; the EDA University Center, which supports strategic building of innovation clusters and regional economic ecosystems across the southeastern U.S.; and Soft Landings, which helps foreign companies evaluate and assess their pathways into the U.S. market.

Prior to leading the Economic Development Lab, Henkiel was director of Innovation Ecosystems. She also was the primary awardee for the EDA University Center grant 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 focused on developing healthy entrepreneurial ecosystems.

During her tenure at Georgia Tech, she developed incubation health and community innovation assessment tools, and she  was the driving force in the development of the Soft Landings program.

Henkiel’s 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.

In that role she worked with startup companies that licensed NASA technology, collaborated with entrepreneurs to help them overcome their early-stage pitfalls, and developed educational programming to bolster their success. In addition, she managed the dual-use industry partnerships for the Marshall Space Flight Center, which involved working with large and startup businesses.

Henkiel’s reach at Georgia Tech went beyond the Enterprise Innovation Institute as she created the U.S. Expansion Practicum course at Tech’s Scheller College of Business. That program partnered MBA students with successful business owners — Georgia Tech alumni among them — focused on U.S. business expansion.

A globally recognized ecosystem building expert, Henkiel has been called on to make presentations and write articles for groups and publications here in the United States and around the world.

Most recently, she led the Innovation and Technology Commercialization Professional course in China and Tunisia and efforts to expand the course for Spanish, French, and Arabic-speaking countries.

She is an active member of the Technology Association of Georgia’s International Society Board, and a board member of the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA).

Henkiel earned her 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.

Meet Your New Colleagues

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 Broom

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 Ponce

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.

FEMA Awards $1.5 million to Georgia Tech and Alliance Solutions Group to Develop National Climate Resilience Training

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.

Doreen Kincaid, project manager for the grant

“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 Tapped to Lead Economic Development Lab

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.

 

Lynne Henkiel is interim director of the Economic Development Lab. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

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.

Georgia Institute of Technology to assist University of South Africa in economic development effort

 

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, EIis the largest university-based economic development organization of its kind in the United States.

 

While on campus, the South African delegates met with various EIprograms, 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.”

Georgia Tech Taking Applications for Spring 2019 Cohort of International Companies Seeking to do Business in Georgia

10-week Soft Landings Program helps companies understand U.S. market.

 

Matthew Tebeau (right) is chief operating officer of Proteon Pharmaceuticals in ?ód?, Poland, and a 2018 Soft Landings participant.
Matthew Tebeau (right), chief operating officer of Proteon Pharmaceuticals in Lodz, Poland, makes a point about questions foreign companies have when considering expansion into the United States at the Fall 2018 Soft Landings Immersion Week in Atlanta. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

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.

 

With the Soft Landings program, Georgia Tech is working with its state and local economic development partners: the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Invest Atlanta, and the city of Atlanta’s Office of International Affairs.

 

About Innovation Ecosystems

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.

Georgia Tech hosts Argentina IT delegation

(From left) Mary Waters, deputy commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development; Argentina Consul General Jorge Luis Lopez Menardi; Fernanda Yanson of the Argentina Investment and International Trade Agency, and Juli Golemi, manager of Georgia Tech’s Soft Landings Program. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

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.”

 

While on campus, the group met with Juli Golemi, manager of the Soft Landings Program at EI2.

 

Juli Golemi, Georgia Tech’s Soft Landings Program manager, addresses some of the issues foreign companies wanting to do business in the United States face. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

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 Department of Economic Development Deputy Commissioner Mary Waters explains why Georgia’s focus on innovation is factors into the state being consistently ranked as one of the best places in which to do business. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

“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.”

Economic Development Lab hosts Peruvian delegation seeking innovation development

Universidad del Pacifico's Emprende UP
Members of the Universidad del Pacifico’s Emprende UP, were at Georgia Tech to learn about entrepreneurial ecosystems and best practices for innovation development and support. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

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.

 

Economic Development Lab workshop
Brandy Stanfield-Nagel (right), program manager and faculty researcher at Economic Development Lab, discusses best practices techniques in startup development, with Diego Joseph Rengifo (left) and Carlos Zapata of Universidad del Pacifico’s Emprende UP. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

“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.

Georgia Institute of Technology hosts Colombian delegation in technology extension workshops

EDL Colombia
A team of engineers and business professionals from Colombia are visiting the Georgia Tech campus as part of a week-long series of training workshops with the Economic Development Lab and the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership at Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Economic Development Lab (EDL) and the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) are hosting a group of 23 professionals from Colombia this week, consisting of engineers and business managers from the cities of Medellín, Cali, and Bucaramanga.

 

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.