Atlanta has established itself as a hotbed for technology, business, and entrepreneurship. With the highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the country calling Atlanta home, there is a lot for entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses to aspire to. These advancements, paired with the surplus of young talent and resources available to help small businesses succeed, make it hard to ignore the fact that Atlanta is an innovative powerhouse in the tech industry. Forbes also recently acknowledged Atlanta's progress by including it as one of the "5 U.S. Cities Poised To Become Tomorrow's Tech Meccas." So why are so many new companies choosing to set up shop in Atlanta? Similarly, why are so many young adults in Atlanta interested in starting their own businesses? Here are just a few affordable resources that are helping Atlanta stand out as a hub for startups and entrepreneurs:
1. Startup Chowdown - Atlanta Tech Village
The Atlanta tech scene can seem like a tight-knit community to newcomers, but making connections isn't as challenging as you may think. There's plenty of networking events, programs, and resources available to help entrepreneurs improve their business.
If you're an aspiring tech entrepreneur interested in networking, Atlanta Tech Village hosts a weekly lunch called Startup Chowdown. The Startup Chowdown is held every Friday at 12pm with $10 tickets available in advance or at the door. Following the lunch, guests are encouraged to stay and attend a free Pitch Practice session. Pitch Practice is an excellent way to help you practice your elevator pitch in front of a small audience, learn usefuly strategies, and collect honest feedback from other entrepreneurs and other leaders in the Atlanta startup space. If you're new to the city, Startup Chowdown is a great place to start mingling.
2. The Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) - Georgia Tech
For the early-stage startup founders and entrepreneurs who are still in the conceptual stage of developing their business, the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) incubator program sponsored by Georgia Tech is an invaluable resource. The ATDC has been helping entrepreneurs succeed since 1980, and provides unprecedented access to Georgia Tech resources, classes and workshops, and mentors. For just $25 a quarter, you can become a member with access to a robust curriculum, coaching, and even capital once you reach their Accelerator and Signature levels.
Not only have ATDC companies in GA generated more than $12 billion in revenue, but the fact that 90% of ATDC signature companies succeed after five years is a stunningly high success rate given that an estimated 90% of new startups fail within their first five years of operating. If you're serious about getting your business idea validated and funded, the ATDC is probably the highest quality and lowest cost option available in Atlanta to help you achieve your goals. You may also want to check out Georgia Tech's newer Flashpoint program, an accelerator run by Georgia Tech's Center for Deliberate Innovation.
3. The Startup Exchange - Georgia State University
Georgia State University (GSU) has initiated a similar program for students called the Startup Exchange, a ten week program (February 1 - April 12) that meets every Thursday from 4:30-6:30pm at GSU's Launch Incubator Space. The goal of the Startup Exchange is similar to ATDC in that the mentors and teachers provide coaching and resources to help turn your idea into a business. However, unlike an accelerator program like ATDC, the Startup Exchange focuses their content on helping GSU students directly with valuable resources, classes, and networking opportunities for young entrepreneurs. Many startups fail because they don't do enough proper legwork or customer discovery interviews in the early stages of development. The Startup exchange helps students avoid those pitfalls by providing practical advice for validating their business ideas, pitching to investors, and launching their business.