By Dave Williams
Capitol Beat News Service
ATLANTA – A new public-private partnership will lead efforts to make Georgia the technology capital of the East Coast, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan announced Monday.
The Partnership for Inclusive Innovation stems from the work of a task force of political, business and academic leaders Duncan formed last January. The Georgia Innovates Task Force released its recommendations last month.
While Atlanta already has the critical infrastructure in place to become a leader in technology, the new partnership will look to establish tech startups and generate venture capital investment across the state, Duncan told members of the Rotary Club of Atlanta Monday during a virtual luncheon meeting.
“For a long time, Atlanta has gained traction in becoming a technology hub,” Duncan said. “[But] so many other areas can join in this.”
Raphael Bostic, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, served on the Georgia Innovates Task Force and appeared with the lieutenant governor during Monday’s program.
“I was overwhelmed with the depth and breadth of the ideas that came from people all over the state,” Bostic said.
The task force report included recommendations of steps the new partnership should take to help Georgia become the technology capital of the East Coast, a goal Duncan touted during his 2018 campaign.
The report calls for a series of high-impact, low-cost pilot programs aimed at various improvements needed to achieve that goal. Examples include K-12 digital readiness, a need that has become glaringly obvious with the switch to online learning forced on Georgia school districts by the coronavirus pandemic, and advanced food supply innovation.
Duncan said the pandemic has pointed out the need to improve the supply chain for the delivery of food.
“The ag part of this is not something that’s being left behind,” he said. “It’s one of the best opportunities we have before us. It’s unplowed territory.”
Some of the same people who served on the task force have been named to the new partnership, including former Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson, who will chair its advisory board, Bostic and Paul Bowers, president and CEO of Georgia Power.
The partnership’s board also will include Pat Wilson, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development; Larry Williams, president and CEO of the Technology Association of Georgia; and Carol Tomé, CEO of United Parcel Service.