Georgia Tech marks startup expansion milestone with visit from Lt. Governor Casey Cagle

Chris Downing (left), vice president of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, shows a new suite of offices to (from left) ATDC Assistant Director Jane McCracken, Ga. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, and Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson. The office expansion is designed to meet growing service needs of Tech’s startup programs, ATDC, VentureLab, and CREATE-X. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

In a 2016 visit to the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), Georgia Lt. Governor Casey Cagle challenged the state’s tech startup incubator to double the number of resident startups it served in Atlanta and the rest of the state.


Two years later, ATDC — a program of the Georgia Institute of Technology — not only met the challenge, but has exceeded initial expectations, with more than 180 companies now in its Signature and Accelerate portfolios across the state.


The growth has led to an expansion of ATDC’s offices in Technology Square to accommodate that demand. The creation of new suites at ATDC’s second floor offices in the Centergy Building — and expansion onto the third floor — allows for the incubator to house an additional 25 resident startups.


Cagle was on the Tech campus in a May 8 reception to mark the milestone, visit with some ATDC startup company CEOs, get an update on the Engage venture fund and growth accelerator, and to learn more about the innovation ecosystem that also includes the Institute’s VentureLab, CREATE-X, and Flashpoint programs.


His visit was part of a weeklong series of events taking place during Tech Square Innovation Week, which celebrated Tech Square as a hub of ideation.


Ga. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle, during a visit to Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Develpment Center, discusses how technology startup entrepreneurship programs such as ATDC and VentureLab incubators are to giving new economic development opportunities to communities across Georgia. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

“Entrepreneurship is critically important to what the new economy is going to look like,” Cagle said during his visit. “I am thrilled to be with you here today and I can’t tell you how proud I am of each and every single person here. We’re just getting started and we’re going to take Georgia to even higher levels than we ever imagined, and you are the very reason for that.”


The expansion underscores the explosion of demand for ATDC’s services not only in Atlanta, but across the state, including Athens, Augusta, and Savannah.


“We were able to meet that demand in part because we received an increase in state funding — thanks to Lt. Governor Cagle’s leadership — that allowed us to increase our services and statewide reach,” said Chris Downing, vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute, Tech’s economic development arm whose programs include ATDC.


In 2017, ATDC’s portfolio companies raised $130 million in investment capital and in the in the first quarter of 2018, they attracted more than $33 million in investment dollars to the state.


Jane McCracken, ATDC’s assistant director, explains how the incubator’s portfolio companies raised $130 million in investment dollars in 2017 and about $33 million in the first quarter of 2018. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

“All of the ATDC’s work — the coaching, connections and community building — further establishes Georgia’s reputation a leading place for entrepreneurs and technology companies to flourish,” said Jane McCracken, ATDC’s assistant director. “That means jobs, additional funding and increased revenues, which benefit all of Georgia’s citizens.”


Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, who welcomed Cagle to campus, said ATDC’s success is just one of the many successful components in the Institute’s technology startup support.


Other programs include CREATE-X, a faculty-led initiative that helps students pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.


VentureLab collaborates with Institute faculty and students to create startups based on Tech research. Flashpoint is a startup accelerator, and Engage is an independent, early-stage venture fund and growth program.


The additional office spaces will allow for greater collaboration and partnership between ATDC, VentureLab and CREATE-X.


Keith McGreggor (left), director of Georgia Tech’s VentureLab program, gives Ga. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle an overview of the incubator and explains how its companies raised $125 million in investment dollars in 2017. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)


“This success all around Tech Square has been possible largely due to state support, and the lieutenant governor’s vision for fostering innovation in the state,” Peterson said.


“Thanks to increased state funding to ATDC and establishment of the Invest Georgia fund, we can continue to foster home-grown innovation. We are dedicated to helping keep these entrepreneurs in Georgia.”

Minority business enterprise manufacturers to meet in Atlanta March 24 for inaugural National MBE Manufacturers Summit

Alejandra Y. Castillo, national director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) at the U.S. Commerce Department, is one of the featured keynote speakers at the National MBE Manufacturers Summit 2016.

America’s manufacturing sector is undergoing rapid change and innovation, incorporating hi-tech advancements across all sectors of the industry.


What do these changes mean for minority-owned manufacturers? How are they meeting the demands and partnering with other manufacturers and customers to incorporate innovation into their operations?


Those factors and others comprise the central focus of the inaugural National MBE Manufacturers Summit 2016 scheduled for March 24 in Atlanta. The U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and its MBDA Business Center Network are hosting the Summit, which is sponsored in part by BMW, the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Grady Health System, Ingersoll Rand, and Novant Health. It will take place at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Global Learning Center.


“We are focused on ensuring that attendees maximize their day by meeting one-on-one with corporations and original equipment manufacturers seeking to do business with MBE manufacturers,” said Donna Ennis, MBDA Business Center-Atlanta’s director. “We’re bringing all of these parties together in this first-of-its-kind national forum to get those conversations started in a real, substantive way.”


The MBE manufacturing community is often overlooked by the broader manufacturing community and, in general, does not access the myriad national and local resources and expertise available to them, Ennis said. The Summit’s breakout sessions are designed to address that.


Among the key discussion topics and event highlights:

  • Business-to-business matchmaking and one-on-one fast pitching to multinational and major corporations.
  • A “Poster Walk” showcase of companies that will feature projects in the areas of innovation, productivity, and sustainability.
  • Manufacturing trends in health care and cybersecurity.
  • Access to technology transfer opportunities and information.
  • Opportunities in the global marketplace.
  • Procurement and supplier diversity trends.


“This is an excellent opportunity for our MBE Manufacturers to collectively dialogue and share information that will support their success now and in the future,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, MBDA’s national director and one of the Summit’s featured speakers. “We hope everyone will join us in Atlanta.”


Other featured speakers at the Summit include:

  • G.P. “Bud” Peterson, Georgia Tech president.
  • Derreck Kayongo, co-founder of the Global Soap Project and CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights.


To register for the Summit and for more information, please visit


About the MBDA Business Center-Atlanta:

As part of a national network of 44 centers, the MBDA Business Center-Atlanta helps MBEs access capital, increase profitability, create jobs, and become sustainable. It is part of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), the nation’s largest and most comprehensive university-based program of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization, and economic development. For more information, please visit