Atlanta loves startups and big corporations alike. Forbes recently put Atlanta in the Top 5 (No. 3 to be exact) cities destined to become the “next tech mecca” cities in the U.S. That’s great for Atlanta and great for folks who want to create tech startups in our great city. However, being a “tech mecca” is about much more than startups. One of the reasons Atlanta is popular among startups is that we are home to so many Fortune 500 companies. Delta, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, UPS, and NCR, among others, come to mind when you think about big business in Atlanta.

Atlanta: More Than Just Startups

Alongside the startup ecosystem, there are serious efforts to bring corporate innovation to life right here in Atlanta. Here are five very recent examples of organizations working on corporate innovation from the entrepreneur’s and startup’s perspective. Each of these organizations connects the large enterprise community and the startup community in different ways.

  • Endeavor – Recently announced its arrival in Atlanta, Endeavor “works in five parts to Launch, Select, Scaleup, Multiply, and Reinvest the high-impact entrepreneurship movement worldwide.” Endeavor seeks driven entrepreneurs who lead businesses that are scaling (e.g., >$500k ARR) and who dream really big.
  • Engage – Just formed (after many months of work), Engage is a startup accelerator program and venture fund in partnership with 10 leading corporations and Georgia Tech. Those 10 leading corporations are AT&T, Chick-fil-A, Cox Enterprises, Delta Air Lines, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power Foundation, Inc., Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Invesco Ltd., The Home Depot, and UPS.
  • Bridge Community – This “powered by Coca-Cola” community connects local startups to corporate members while giving back to the community to support local entrepreneurship. In 2016, The Bridge Community graduated 10 startups through its program, but this year that number will grow to 30.
  • The Combine – A “startup that builds startups,” The Combine partners with enterprises to bring their latent or non-core intellectual property to market as a co-created startup. The Combine will launch six new portfolio companies in 2017.  Each of these startups are co-founded by principals at The Combine and their corporate partners.
  • Techsquare Labs – Techsquare labs is the creation of local entrepreneurs Dr. Paul Judge and Allen Nance. Techsquare Labs connects enterprise to the tech community to create an inbound pipeline flow of startups, experts, and potential solutions that are aligned with corporate business objectives.

What Is Corporate Innovation?

Corporate innovation is more than hackathons. It’s about improving a corporation’s business processes to get more efficient and monetizing ideas that are created within the organization. What do you think of when you hear “corporate innovation”? “Atlanta” should come to mind when you do.

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