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.”

I-Corps South hosts regional summit at Georgia Tech

Keith McGreggor

Keith McGreggor (standing), I-Corps South node co-principal investigator and executive director, greets attendees of the I-Corps South Regional Summit at Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, April 25, 2018. (Photo: Péralte C. Paul)

The Innovation Corps (I-Corps) South node at the Georgia Institute of Technology hosted a regional summit of 12 universities from the South centered on furthering and encouraging greater commercialization of ideas fostered in university labs and classrooms.

 

The daylong, April 25 summit, which included schools from North and South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia, was designed to allow the different schools to share best practices and lessons learned from ongoing initiatives and plan growth and development strategies.

 

“When we say innovation, we often only think of certain parts of the country,” Keith McGreggor, the I-Corps South node co-principal investigator and executive director, told the roughly two dozen attendees. “But there’s a lot of innovation and potential occurring here in Georgia and across the South and we want to continue to foster and develop that.”

 

The I-Corps program, a public-private partnership program established in 2011 by the National Science Foundation (NSF), connects NSF-funded scientific research with the technological, entrepreneurial, and business communities to help create a stronger national ecosystem for innovation that couples scientific discovery with technology development and societal needs.

 

The I-Corps South node, established in 2016, is a partnership of Georgia Tech, the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business. I-Corps South works and partners with university students and research faculty at schools in 10 states from the South and the U.S. island territory of Puerto Rico to teach entrepreneurship, support research and innovation. Through this collaboration, the node has the potential to reach more than 500,000 graduate and undergraduate students, and many thousands of the nation’s research faculty at research universities and historically black colleges and universities across the Southeast and Puerto Rico.

 

To entrepreneurs, I-Corps South seeks to provide consistent instruction on the principles of evidence-based entrepreneurship in the style of I-Corps. Instruction is direct and challenging, keeping in mind the goal of holding entrepreneurs accountable to know their customers. To universities, the node seeks to provide the tools, support, and resources required to launch and maintain high-quality evidence-based entrepreneurship programs across the southeast.

 

“I-Corps allows you to grow entrepreneurial ecosystems where the entrepreneurs are, at your schools and communities,” McGreggor said. “What we want to do today is share our ideas and explore opportunities to partner with each other to see how we can work together to further build and develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem of the South.”

Advanced Technology Development Center unveils redesigned space

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, center, cuts the ceremonial ribbon following a redesign of the space at Georgia Tech's Advanced Technology Development Center on March 23. From left: House Reps. Doreen Carter and Dar'shun Kendrick; Reed; Chris Downing, interim vice president, Enterprise Innovation Institute; Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research, Georgia Tech; and Jennifer Bonnett, acting general manager, ATDC.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, center, cuts the ceremonial ribbon March 23, 2016, following a redesign of the space at Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center. From left: Georgia House Reps. Doreen Carter and Dar’shun Kendrick; Reed; Chris Downing, interim vice president, Enterprise Innovation Institute; Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research, Georgia Tech; and Jennifer Bonnett, ATDC’s acting general manager. (PHOTOS by Shane Matthews)

By Péralte C. Paul

 

Following a year of planning, brainstorming, design reviews, and construction, the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) unveiled its redesigned space March 23 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

 

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed addresses media and the ATDC community on the incubator's importance in attracting and retaining technology talent in Atlanta and the state.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed addresses media and the ATDC community on the incubator’s importance in attracting and retaining technology talent in Atlanta and the state at a March 23, 2016 ribbon cutting ceremony of the incubator’s redesigned space.

ATDC is Georgia Tech’s statewide incubator and works with entrepreneurs in the technology space who want to build successful startups in the Peach State. Launched in 1980, ATDC is one of the longest-running and largest university-based startup incubators in the country. Though headquartered at the Century Building in Midtown Atlanta’s Technology Square, ATDC operates programs across the state, including in Savannah, Augusta, and Athens.

 

“We had a lot of discussions at ATDC about how best to meet our startups’ needs and make this floor more conducive to the innovation and collaboration atmosphere we have here in the Tech Square community,” said Christopher Downing, interim vice president of Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute (EI2), the Georgia Tech unit that includes its core economic development initiatives, including ATDC.

 

Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research at Georgia Tech, describes how ATDC is an important part of the innovation ecosystem not only for Atlanta, but for all of Georgia.

Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research at Georgia Tech, describes how ATDC is an important part of the innovation ecosystem not only for Atlanta, but for all of Georgia at the incubator’s post-redesign ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 23, 2016.

“The changes you see around you are a result of those discussions and are designed not only to enhance what we do every day, but also to keep to our mission of working with entrepreneurs to help them build and launch successful technology companies right here in Georgia.”

 

Several members of the Georgia House of Representatives’ Small Business Development Committee, including Reps. Dar’shun Kendrick and Doreen Carter, attended the ceremony, as well as Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who said ATDC is a key part of the city’s efforts to let those in the technology space know that Atlanta is a city of innovation and the place to launch transformative companies.

 

Jen Bonnett, foreground, right, addresses the Tech Square community March 23, 2016 and details the renovations made to ATDC's floor at the Centergy building in Midtown Atlanta.

Jen Bonnett, foreground, right, addresses the Tech Square community March 23, 2016, and details the renovations made to ATDC’s floor at the Centergy building in Midtown Atlanta.

“I’m here to congratulate you and let you know that you have a partner in the city,” Reed said.

 

The renovations — which were done through a refinancing of bonds and at no cost to taxpayers — address growing demands for ATDC’S services from its companies and the greater entrepreneurial community. Key highlights include a new lobby, additional seed space and meeting offices, and a new classroom for ATDC classes that also is open and available for free in the evenings to technology entrepreneurs and organizations related to tech startups. Additional changes include a reconfigured library for entrepreneurs’ use as a communal space in which to collaborate and brainstorm.

 

ATDC startup entrepreneurs and other guests listen as Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research at Georgia Tech, discusses the incubator's role in being a critical part of the innovation ecosystem at Tech Square.

ATDC startup entrepreneurs and other guests listen as Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research at Georgia Tech, discusses the incubator’s role in being a critical part of the innovation ecosystem at Tech Square.

“Since its opening in 2003, Tech Square has become the hub of innovation and new ideas in metro Atlanta and in the greater Southeast. With that being the case, there is no more fitting home for ATDC’s home base than right here in Tech Square,” said Stephen E. Cross, executive vice president for research. “ATDC’s presence here and its ongoing impact for entrepreneurs across the state are critical success factors for the innovation ecosystem as a whole and to Georgia Tech as an institution.”