News & Press

Georgia Centers of Innovation Partners with Venture Atlanta


 Georgia Centers of Innovation Partners with Venture Atlanta

Initiative will expand funding opportunities for Georgia companies



ATLANTA (June 22, 2010) — The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) announced today that the department’s Georgia Centers of Innovation (COI) has agreed to partner and serve on the board with Venture Atlanta to help expand venture capital reach outside of metro Atlanta.  The COI’s work with high-growth potential companies throughout Georgia to provide state-backed resources including university research, industry-specific expertise, intellectual capital and access to funding opportunities. 


Venture Atlanta is the only organized conference providing institutional venture funding access exclusively for Georgia companies.  This partnership improves Venture Atlanta’s reach to a vast network of economic development, grass roots investment and entrepreneur support organizations for emerging and high-growth enterprises throughout the state.


“The Georgia Centers of Innovation partnership with Venture Atlanta will create additional strategic opportunities to gain access to venture capital resources that might otherwise go unnoticed,” said Sterling Wharton, executive director of the Georgia Centers of Innovation and past CEO of three venture-funded companies.  “Through this collaborative effort and the vast reach of GDEcD to statewide businesses, grass roots organizations and economic developers, we can better leverage the opportunities provided by Venture Atlanta as a potential resource for high-growth potential companies in need of outside investment.” 


The COI program bases its operations within the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and provides advanced resources to innovation-based enterprises across the state’s six strategic industries, which include agribusiness, aerospace, energy, life sciences, logistics and manufacturing.  Targeted companies can leverage COI provided industry resources such as university research, industry connections and guidance on accessing private capital, as well as grants to accelerate growth and support commercialization.


“The Venture Atlanta partnership with the Centers of Innovation signifies the priority the organization places as an investment resource for all Georgia companies seeking funding opportunities,” said Ashish Mistry, of BLH Venture Partners and founding board member of Venture Atlanta.  “As Venture Atlanta also seeks to reach companies not typically engaged in the venture capital process, we’ll look to the COI’s to help promote outside funding to a broader range of industries, including renewable fuels and green technology enterprises that have seen significant growth in Georgia in recent months.”


“Historically, companies outside of Atlanta have had limited access to the vast network of funding sources that exist in the large metro area,” said businessman and investor Howard Morrison.  “As the Centers of Innovation join with Venture Atlanta, we have the opportunity to accelerate the infusion of technology and creativity into everything we do in Georgia including energy, biomass, clean-tech, advanced materials for manufacturing and other industries of the future.”


Growth-oriented and technology-based businesses in Georgia will have an opportunity to interact with top-tier investors at the third annual Venture Atlanta innovation conference, scheduled October 12-13, 2010 at the Georgia Aquarium.  Businesses seeking institutional venture capital opportunities within the next 12 months will be asked to present to investors during this conference.  Venture Atlanta organizers will select up to 20 Georgia companies who will have an opportunity to present to more than 100 venture capital investors from across the country and around the world. 


Georgia firms interested in presenting their ideas at the Venture Atlanta conference are encouraged to apply at



About the Georgia Centers of Innovation

The Centers of Innovation (COI) program focuses on six areas of strategic industry growth and expansion: agriculture, aerospace, energy, life sciences, logistics and manufacturing, located respectively in Tifton, Eastman, Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah and Gainesville.  COI's services include deep industry led expertise to access university-level research; product commercialization, and client connections to key state resources.  For more information visit


Find out how Macon Economic Development Commission Works for Warehousing & Distribution, Shared Services, Aerospace, Advanced Manufacturing, Automotive and Food Processing