The following is a guest post from John Yates, a partner in the Corporate Technology Group of the law firm of Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP.
Many elements factor into the attractiveness of a community for technology growth. Cobb County provides one of the most hospitable environments for tech companies to expand, innovate and contribute to the outstanding brand being established by Georgia as a global technology hub.
Consider the key attributes of an innovation community, and you’ll quickly conclude that Cobb County has many of these qualities and is addressing those areas where there are opportunities for further growth.
When you consider the new innovative technologies, Cobb is well aligned to be a leader in these areas.
1. Business Power – Cobb is home to many of the most successful and innovative companies in the country, including The Weather Channel, Home Depot and General Electric’s Energy Management business headquarters.
2. Drone/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – The meteoric growth of the drone market will require engineering talent in the aeronautical area. Where better to find this talent than in Cobb County, headquarters to the Lockheed Martin Aeronautical plant at the epicenter of aeronautical developments in this country.
3. Content is King in Cobb – Similarly, the growth of the internet continues to focus on content — the creation of new and innovative materials and information to be communicated over the web. The Weather Channel provides a unique platform for developing content and one of the most successful websites in the world. Innovative engineers are attracted to the company, and Cobb County can be a part of this amazing content creation explosion.
4. Positive Community Life – While it’s true that many young entrepreneurs are attracted to urban environments, as they grow and raise families, communities like Cobb County provide a unique environment for these maturing technologists. They begin to focus on important issues like schools, economic development and reasonable real estate prices. Cobb County affords all of these and more advantages to technology businesses and their employees.
5. Educational Resources – When it comes to public schools and graduate education, Cobb County has a unique advantage. The U.S. Census Bureau ranks Cobb as the most-educated county in the state of Georgia The county has a growing focus on school expenditures and an attractive student-teacher ratio in public schools. The outstanding growth of Kennesaw State University and its business curriculum have attracted some of the leading students in our state.
6. Incubation Meets Innovation – As Georgia’s third largest university, KSU has also partnered with the Cobb Chamber to form Cobb County’s premier tech incubator IgniteHQ! For the first time, entrepreneurs in Cobb County have direct access to a growing innovation center to launch successful businesses and find key talent for growth.
The outlook for innovative growth in Cobb County is positive based in large part on the growth opportunities for IgniteHQ. In addition to being a leading incubator in the area, the organization provides connections to other incubators, accelerators and technology centers — without the burden of commuting long distances. Innovation centers like IgniteHQ will provide the physical and virtual forum for local talent to meet global innovators to promote technology developments in the county and state.
Of course, Cobb County faces many of the same challenges confronting other aspiring technology centers in the country, among them attracting talent, addressing population growth, and handling transportation issues. At the same time, the county has a solid economic foundation and many of the elements required to become a key center of innovation and technology development in Georgia and in the U.S.