Georgia Innovation Internships – Summer 2005

Georgia Tech’s Economic Development and Technology Ventures (EDTV) Office sponsors a program of Innovation Internships for Georgia Tech students seeking opportunities for hands-on experience linking science, technology, and innovation to economic development.

2005 Georgia Innovation Interns

Jonas Titas (City and Regional Planning, MCRP Program, Georgia Tech)
Phaedra Tucker (School of Public Policy, MSPP Program, Georgia Tech)
Wenbin Xiao (School of Public Policy, PhD Program, Georgia State-Georgia Tech)

Results from the 2005 Program

Georgia could pursue some attractive entrepreneurial strategies, but needs to encourage more of its high tech startups to grow into locally based firms, according to research by student interns at Georgia Tech’s Office of Economic Development and Technology Ventures (EDTV). Two presentations given in September 2005 at the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) office in Midtown Atlanta culminated 10 weeks of work by three post-baccalaureate Tech students with an interest in economic development. Wenbin Xiao, a doctoral candidate in the School of Public Policy, reported on his study of initial public offerings (IPOs) in Georgia. Jonas Titas and Phaedra Tucker, master’s degree students in City Planning and Public Policy respectively, examined the burgeoning digital media industry and analyzed Georgia’s assets and opportunities in it.

Wenbin’s research showed that Georgia underperforms in issuance of IPOs and ranks 12th among the top 15 most active states in this arena. He also determined predictors for IPO issuance. For example, most are backed by venture capital, and those backed by local VC entities reach IPO status faster. Also, firms with an academic scientist in the management team are more associated with IPO success than are companies without; however, professor-founded small high-tech firms, on average, are less successful, perhaps due to lack of business experience. His recommendations: (1) improve Georgia’s overall technology infrastructure; (2) help local firms compete for venture capital; (3) integrate entrepreneurship education into existing training programs; (4) strengthen programs that attract scientists to the state, such as the Georgia Research Alliance; and (5) promote university-industry collaboration, with a focus on the biotech industry.

According to Titas and Tucker, whose efforts produced an industry database, the modeling and simulation sector alone is estimated to reach $5.3 billion internationally in 2007. Gaming—which ranges from entertainment to training to advertising applications—may hit $54.6 billion internationally in 2009. And wireless could total $2 billion worldwide by 2010. Industry clusters exist elsewhere, including Virginia and Florida in the simulation sector, but Georgia has some strengths as well, including 94 identifiable firms, some 75 relevant college degree programs, 19 digital media research centers, and 5 networking associations. And these do not exist only in metro Atlanta. Also, the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act provides incentives for attracting relevant firms. The pair recommended that Georgia foster learning and governance to create localized digital media specializations.

The three students, picked on the merit of their proposals, were selected by a committee comprised of statewide and local economic developers and educators. The program itself was developed by staff of EDTV’s Community Policy and Research Services (CPRS) and Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy.

Another round of internship offerings will be made available in 2006. It is anticipated that these offerings will be focused on particular cities or regions in Georgia.

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