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Mercer starts innovation center inspired by Atlanta Technology Village

Wednesday, November 18, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Angela King
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Mercer University in Macon, Ga., is starting the Mercer Innovation Center to develop a community of entrepreneurs with a focus on technology and creating jobs.

Mercer says its new center was inspired by Buckhead-based Atlanta Technology Village, founded in 2012 by entrepreneur David Cummings. Cummings recently was named entrepreneur-in-residence for the Atlanta campus of Mercer's Stetson School of Business and Economics. ATV, of which Mercer is a founding sponsor and tenant, has more than 200 startups and 900 entrepreneurs in residence.

Mercer University President William D. Underwood announced Tuesday the establishment of the new center at Mercer University in Macon. Underwood said the center is designed to advance a culture of innovation and develop a thriving community of entrepreneurs, with a focus on utilizing technology to foster economic growth, create 21st century jobs and attract and retain talent, according to a statement released by Mercer.

"Innovation is a primary driver of the U.S. economy and is one of the American attributes that makes our country globally competitive," Underwood said. "Much of the growth in our cities over the coming decades will come from within. Jobs are being generated by startups and expansion of existing business and industry. The Mercer Innovation Center will provide physical space, programming, technology resources and tools, and access to talent that will help people with good ideas turn them into commercially successful businesses that create 21st century jobs for Middle Georgia."

Dr. Samantha Riley, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has work experience at Google Inc. (NYSE: GOOG), Yale University and Pennsylvania State University, has been hired as director of the Center, effective Jan. 1, 2016.

Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who spoke during Tuesday's announcement on the Macon campus, said that the Mercer Innovation Center can be "an economic engine not just for Middle Georgia, but for the entire state of Georgia," according to a statement released by Mercer.

Cagle said Georgia can be the Silicon Valley of the South.

“"What we're really witnessing today is the ability for Middle Georgia to be the leader in creating the ecosystem that will spur on job creation in a 21st century economy that will be second to none," Cagle said.

According to Mercer:

The Center will be based in a modern, repurposed, 10,000-square-foot facility strategically located adjacent to Mercer's School of Engineering, School of Medicine and Willet Science Center. It is across the street from the site of Mercer's new $40 million undergraduate sciences building, scheduled for completion in 2017, and is steps away from the Stetson School of Business and Economics. Macon-based Birch Communications is installing the latest telecommunications tools in the Center, including 1 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) broadband service.

Source: Atlanta Business Chronicle.

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