Georgia’s position as the No. 1 state in the nation in which to do business didn’t happen by chance. Companies all over the world continue to call Georgia home because of its high-speed connectivity, logistics infrastructure, skilled workforce, educational institutions and business-friendly environment.
The goal for the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is to create quality jobs and investment opportunities in Georgia and they are taking a very integrated approach. Not only does the state recruit traditional industrial development that is essential to Georgia’s economy, but welcomes millions of visitors traveling from around the world to explore this great state, support thriving and record-breaking creative and entertainment industries, provide companies with resources to grow and reach new international markets and work with universities, technical colleges and communities to establish a strong workforce.
For the fourth consecutive year – Site Selection magazine ranked Georgia’s business climate No. 1. Since Govenor Nathan Deal took office in January 2011, the state has announced 2,380 projects, $30.7 billion investment and 178,641 jobs. Project activity is strong, and as the state continues to lead the nation in economic development, Georgia's pipeline of projects continues to grow.
Georgia Continues to See Growth in Key Sectors Including:
- Financial Technology (FinTech): As Georgia continues to maintain its status as a leader in business, the FinTech sector relies heavily on the state's resources to meet the demands of an evolving society. Not only does 70 percent of all financial transactions in the U.S. process through Georgia-based FinTech corporations, but more than 60 percent of the U.S. FinTech market is located in Georgia. Accessible resources play a huge role of the success of this industry. Georgia FinTech companies generate annual revenue of more than $72 billion, placing the state third in the nation, behind only New York and California – earning the state the nickname “Transaction Alley.” Additionally, some 100 FinTech companies are headquartered or have significant presence in Georgia with six of the ten largest U.S. payment processing firms based in the state of Georgia.
- Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity affects almost every industry and is of the utmost importance for companies and consumers in Georgia. The state serves as one of the nation’s elite cybersecurity hubs, ranking third in the nation for information security, and generating more than $4.7 billion in annual revenue. More than 115 cybersecurity firms call Georgia home. Cybersecurity companies enjoy connectivity through 500,000 fiber-optic lines, including the country’s two largest fiber-optic trunk routes. Through education and innovation happening at institutes across the state, Georgia’s cybersecurity environment helps to ensure that digital records and materials remain private.
- Augusta, Georgia is now at the epicenter of cyber security. The National Security Agency/Central Security Service opened the Georgia Cryptologic Center in Augusta, and the Army’s Cyber Command headquarters will move to Augusta, creating more than 4,000 new jobs by 2020. Finally, Governor Nathan Deal announced plans to establish a new Cyber Innovation and Training Center in Augusta, which will advance the field of information security and develop protocol for responding to cyber threats.
- Health Information Technology (HIT): Big global brands are looking to strengthen their efforts in driving healthcare innovation, and they’re choosing Georgia as the heart for their operations. The state is committed to the healthcare and life science industry through continuous investment in its people and resources. The HIT sector in Georgia is one of the strongest in the nation, due in part to a robust infrastructure and a diverse presence of more than 225 HIT companies. Beyond Georgia’s ability to attract and retain new HIT business lies another factor: Georgia’s ability to keep leading HIT companies, competitively.
- Manufacturing: Manufacturing continues to remain one of Georgia’s strongest industries. Georgia has 10,162 manufacturing facilities employing 386,529 individuals, and the annual manufacturing wage is 12 percent higher than the overall average for jobs in Georgia. Manufacturing companies in the state understand they can lower their costs, take leaps in innovation and secure business advantages.
- Small Business: Did you know that 99.8 percent of registered establishments in Georgia are classified as small businesses? These companies are the backbone of the state’s economy and more than 1,000 companies received one-on-one assistance from GDEcD’s entrepreneur and small business team in FY16.
- International Trade: Georgia maintains a position as a front-runner in the global economy and as a leader in international trade. In 2016, total trade between Georgia and the world exceeded $121.7 billion and exports exceeded $35.5 billion. The state also maintained its national rankings as the 11th largest exporting state and seventh largest importing state.
- Centers of Innovation: Exclusive to Georgia, the Centers of Innovation provide over 1,500 businesses each year with the tools they need to connect, compete and grow globally. They are an integral part of the state’s economic development efforts and assist companies by connecting them to a number of resources.
- Georgia's six centers include six strategic industries which include: Aerospace, Agribusiness, Energy Technology, Information Technology, Logistics and Manufacturing.
- Workforce: A highly-skilled workforce is essential to Georgia’s economy. Georgia ranks No. 1 in workforce development and has one of the largest university systems in the U.S., housing more than 50,000 annual graduates from 31 public colleges and universities.
- To further connect the workforce with specific needs of companies in Georgia, Governor Deal created the High Demand Career Initiative in 2014 which connects GDEcD, the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia and key business leaders in private-sector industries to meet the future workforce needs of Georgia businesses.
- Tourism: Tourism also helps drive the state's economy. Georgia is not only an attractive place for business, but an attractive place to visit as well. Georgia was selected as one of National Geographic Traveler magazine’s "21 Best of the World Destinations" for 2017. Additionally, tourism generated $58.9 billion in economic impact in 2015. Governor Deal recently unveiled the 2017 Georgia Travel Guide and announced the “Year of Georgia Film” campaign – which focuses on film-inspired tourism – including the locations, attractions, tours, experiences, events, restaurants and lodging that have all played vital roles in casting Georgia as a top-tier film destination.
- Film and TV: Georgia has become one of the most sought-after filming locations in the world, and visitors are traveling to Georgia to see where their favorite movie or television show is filmed. Georgia now ranks third in the U.S. and fifth in the world in terms of feature film production. Georgia-lensed feature film and television productions generated an economic impact of more than $7 billion during fiscal year 2016. The 245 film and television productions shot in Georgia spent $2.02 billion in the state while filming. It’s also important to note more than 100 new businesses have relocated or expanded in the state to support the industry, ensuring Georgia’s place in the industry well into the future.
- Georgia Council for the Arts: The arts strengthen local communities and the overall vitality of the state. The arts also play an essential role in education, cultivating the next generation of entrepreneurs, leaders, inventors, and creative problem solvers that will place Georgia as a leader in the global economy.
The state's creative industry represents 4.7 percent of the state’s employment, and provides a good quality of life and access to diverse cultural opportunities is essential to maintaining Georgia’s top-notch status.
From opening a small business to relocating global headquarters, filming a new movie or just visiting the beautiful coast – think Georgia. GDEcD looks forward to working with the state's partners to maintain a reputation as a leader in the global market place and to generate long-term benefits for Georgians. To learn more, visit Georgia.org.
Visit http://www.expansionsolutionsmagazine.com/georgia_ed for local economic development office directory listings.