Monthly Archives: December 2013

Survey of the Entrepreneurial Scene in Atlanta

ImageAtlanta is rich in history, culture, the arts. It is also a hotbed for entrepreneurship. Georgia is home to 30 Fortune 1000 companies and Atlanta has approximately half of those. Our local newspaper, the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC), reported that “going out on your own has become a way of life in America” and Atlanta, Georgia is a great place to do it.

According to the Kaufman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, Georgia led the nation in new business start ups in 2010, and Atlanta tied for the second-most among the 15 biggest metro areas. During that year in metro Atlanta, 580 people per 100,000 adults launched a business each month, coming in second behind Los Angeles.

The study also found that entrepreneurship was highest for the 35 to 44 age group followed by the 55 to 64 age group. The increase in entrepreneurship could be due to high unemployment and job cuts at established businesses.

Why is Atlanta the best place for a start up? It has excellent economic advantages, according to the Entrepreneurship Review, a publication of MIT. Atlanta is home to the fastest growing airport and fastest growing seaport in Savannah, GA. There are many universities that graduate thousands of students each year providing a vast labor pool. Atlanta also has an emerging technical infrastructure.

Big hitter companies headquartered in Atlanta like Delta, Home Depot and Waffle House have deep pockets ideal for B2B startups. Also, the metro Atlanta population grew by 20% over the last decade and the median household income rose from $34,000 to $50,000 over the same period. Add that in with the lower cost of living in Atlanta compared to San Francisco, New York, or Boston, and you’ve got a recipe for putting more money in your pocket. It’s simply cheaper to do business in Atlanta.

Atlanta is the financial gateway to the south; however, very little of its wealth is focused on venture capital and even less on seed capital. But capital is mobile and can be raised in one place and moved to another. As far as the talent scene is concerned, Georgia Tech has developed entrepreneurial programs that will produce interested graduates and other schools in the area will likely follow suit.

Organizations in Atlanta are increasingly dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship. Some of these “startups for startups” such as the Technology Association of Georgia, Startup Atlanta and Venture Atlanta are growing quickly. The IndUS Entrepreneurs (TiE) see talent, ideas and enterprise as the core values in building the entrepreneurial ecosystem. They hold monthly meetings with different themes like “nonprofit social ventures” and “how to scale your business internationally.” They also have specialized groups such as Social Business, Enterprise Entrepreneurs and TiE Young Entrepreneurs. TiE expects to create over $100 million in new wealth by 2017.

Some of these startups for startups focus on or have dedicated groups for young people. Youth Entrepreneurs Georgia (YEGeorgia) teaches students how to become entrepreneurs or to think like one. IXOYE Global Entrepreneurship Network (IXGEN) has a Youth Empowerment Program (iYEP) that teaches kids how to link their stories to entrepreneurism through telling their stories, seeing how those stories influence their lives, and how to use them to create, develop, and grow their personal or business brands. 

The Urban League of Greater Atlanta’s Entrepreneurship Center assesses the needs and capabilities of minority business owners in the Atlanta area. They look to grow small and medium-sized minority-owned businesses as a way to close the wealth gap in America.

The entrepreneurial scene in Atlanta is alive and kicking. From big businesses with deep pockets to do business with to it’s rapidly growing customer base and lower cost-of-living to a very deep pool of entrepreneurial resources, the ATL is ideal for start up businesses.

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Will This Float?

Will This Float warmed the mid November lull, giving those with big ideas a chance to fan a flame of entrepreneurial spirit.

Finalists making the cut took to the stage with a three minute pitch explaining why their concept is viable and awesome. 

Audience members could text in votes for their favorite pitch. 

In the end, the judge’s pick of best pitch walk away with the distinction of being the annual winner, a package of  legal advice and cash.

Will This Float is a major annual event hosted in Chattanooga, Tennessee through the Company Lab’s start-up program.  The event featured ten competitive finalists in a three minute pitch presentation.

The entrepreneurs on stage compete for the annual distinction of being the winner of “WTF”.

This year’s winner is Granola, an outdoor company launched by sibling duo solving the backpack frustrations of mankind.  

The second place pick is Temperate, which centers its focus on American-made clothing.  The third place pick  is Gludi, a virtual assistant or application for individuals managing and needing support in managing Type-2 diabetes.  

 

Vegas Young Professionals Morning Buzz

The entrepreneurial event I attended was the Vegas Young Professional Morning Buzz. The Vegas Young Professionals is the largest young professional organization in the state of Nevada. The goal of VYP is to give professional development to young professionals ages 21 to 39.

At this free event young professionals are served coffee and a light breakfast while being introduced to the VYP program and learning about the wonderful things the program provides. I was able to mix and mingle with other young professionals and listen to some excellent speakers include Tony Hsieh, CEO of ZAPPOS.

After the speakers and the breakfast we were given a chance to walk around the room and chat with the guest speakers. I was also able to sign up for a business mentorship program and I learned about various future events that are in place to help new entrepreneurs.

I enjoyed this event because I was able to meet like-minded individuals and get advice from seasoned professionals. I believe that this program will help Las Vegas entrepreneurs be successful in their endeavors.