Monday, March 10, 2008

Georgia’s Centers of Innovation join state’s Department of Economic Development

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) announced today that the Centers of Innovation (COI), a program designed to accelerate the growth of technology-based companies in five strategic industries, is now a part of the Global Commerce division at GDEcD.

“Bringing the Centers of Innovation into the department allows us to better align resources and initiatives around the strategic industries established by the Commission for a New Georgia,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “By providing direct support for people and companies in these industries with innovative ideas and new ways to apply technology, we already have one foot in the future.”

The Centers of Innovation program, created in 2003 by Governor Sonny Perdue, is comprised of five centers for strategic industry growth and development: agriculture, aerospace, life sciences, logistics and manufacturing, located respectively in Tifton, Warner Robins, Augusta, Savannah and Gainesville. Among the services they provide to Georgia businesses are access to university-level research and development, product commercialization, industry-specific business counsel, and client connections to research grants and potential investor networks.

The program, a partnership with the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia (DTAE), the OneGeorgia Authority and Georgia Research Alliance, was formerly managed by the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“Partnerships are the core strength of the COI program,” said Heidi Green, GDEcD’s deputy commissioner for Global Commerce. “This program’s ability to ‘connect the dots’ between business, academia and government creates a business climate perfect for growth. By bringing the Centers into GDEcD, we can ensure companies we recruit and assist have all the tools they need to develop the new ideas that are key to our long-term economic growth.”

During its initial three years, the COI program accomplished significant milestones, including creating a new Logistics Development Center; establishing the first comprehensive, statewide logistics industry database and map; sponsoring the first bio-energy conference, and forging the first Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between the State and Warner Robins Air Force Base.

The COI program provides a critical piece to the array of services already provided through GDEcD’s Small Business and Innovation division. The department’s small business resources and services, as well as industry relocation and expansion services, offer direct assistance to help businesses succeed.

More information about Georgia’s Centers of Innovation is available at www.georgiainnovation.org.

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is the state's sales and marketing arm, the lead agency for attracting new business investment, encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small businesses, locating new markets for Georgia products, attracting tourists to Georgia, and promoting the state as a location for film, video and music projects, as well as planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development. For more information about the entire scope of services offered by Georgia Department of Economic Development, go to www.georgia.org.
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