Invest Atlanta Kicks Off Startup Initiative

Faced with strong domestic competition in cities like New York and AustinAtlanta is hoping to draw on its strengths to lure a new wave of startup companies and entrepreneurs, officials from the city’s economic development agency announced Aug. 14.

“It’s about new thinking, it’s about talent, it’s about action, it’s about partnership and it’s about making sure innovative businesses have a place in a city like Atlanta,” Mayor Kasim Reed told a room packed with venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and academics at the launch of Start Up Atlanta, an initiative by city development authority Invest Atlanta to attract startup companies.

“The future of the leading cities are going to be those cities where smart people want to come and live,” Mr. Reed said.

Moving forward, Mr. Reed said city officials would be listening to the needs of smart people like investors and startup entrepreneurs to make sure the city fosters an environment that promotes investment from not just local sources but also national and international partners.

Start Up Atlanta will feature an online map of resources designed to help provide meaningful information for entrepreneurs like contacts and addresses of startup accelerators, incubators and related enterprises.

The initiative will work in conjunction with organizations working to sponsor local investment like the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and other groups.

While the city may not make sense for all types of startup companies, it has several key sectors like information technology and health care IT services that give it an edge over other national and international cities, said Stephen Fleming, vice president of the Enterprise Innovation Institute at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“The city has been a magnet for startups for a long time,” said Mr. Fleming, a former general partner of a $250 million venture capital firm.

Because of the city’s weather, low cost of living, universities and Fortune 500 company base, an increasing number of startups, both domestic and international, are setting up shop in the city, Mr. Fleming said.

Conversely, with the help of local venture capitalists and universities, local firms like solar cell manufacturer Suniva Inc. are now competing globally, he said.

To see Start Up Atlanta’s website, click here.

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Caption: Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson helps announce the launch of Start Up Atlanta.

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