Metro Chamber unveils new platform for region’s innovation ecosystem

InnovATL is a unified brand of higher ed, corporations and entrepreneurs to amplify the area’s innovation
Metro Atlanta Chamber CEO and President Katie Kirkpatrick speaks during the Innovation Week kickoff event on Tuesday, October 11, 2022. (Natrice Miller/

Credit: Natrice Miller /

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Metro Atlanta Chamber CEO and President Katie Kirkpatrick speaks during the Innovation Week kickoff event on Tuesday, October 11, 2022. (Natrice Miller/

Credit: Natrice Miller /

The Metro Atlanta Chamber, an organization focused on making the 29-county region an attractive place for businesses, has launched a new brand to position the metro area as a thriving innovation ecosystem: InnovATL.

The InnovATL brand “will capitalize on the world-class innovation ecosystem the region has built over the years, which is fueled by nationally recognized colleges and universities, purpose-driven entrepreneurs, world-class corporations and hundreds of programs, centers, events and communities,” the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) said in a statement.

The idea for the brand has been growing for years and MAC thought now was the “perfect time” to launch after looking at all the momentum generated by the metro’s startups, corporate innovation centers, higher education institutions and creative community, Alex Gonzalez, chief marketing and innovation officer at MAC, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In May, Wellstar Health System announced it would open a nearly 8,000-square foot health tech incubator in midtown’s Tech Square this fall. Spelman College is building a $86 million Center for Innovation and the Arts that is set to open in 2024 and will house the new Center for Black Entrepreneurship.

A host of corporations have also decided to make Atlanta one of their major tech hubs in recent years, including Walmart, Capital One and global engine manufacturer Cummins Inc.

The tech ecosystem has also seen setbacks. In February 2020, Microsoft announced plans to make metro Atlanta a major hub and purchased 90 acres of land in the Westside for a future campus. But earlier this year, the tech giant announced it had stopped work on the site.

With the InnovATL brand, MAC is creating a marketing tool to unify the work that corporations, nonprofits and colleges and universities are doing under one banner. Gonzalez added that the goal is for this brand to help elevate the entire ecosystem.

“InnovATL will strengthen the already-significant collaboration between metro Atlanta’s research universities and the private sector, further bolstering metro Atlanta’s reputation as a global innovation hub,” Ángel Cabrera, president of Georgia Tech, said in a statement.

Financial technology giant Equifax and the nonprofit Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs are among the organizations also backing the InnovATL platform.

Atlanta Innovation Week, a celebration of the region’s startups, corporations, entrepreneurs and higher education institutions, is being rebranded as part of the announcement. This year it will be known as InnovATL2023 and will run from September 26 to October 20.

MAC’s history of representing Atlanta business interests in the region goes back more than 160 years.

From its role in settling streetcar strikes in the 1920s, to pushing lawmakers to remove a Confederate battle emblem from the state flag in the late 1990s and 2000s, to helping save Grady Memorial Hospital, the business group wields outsize influence across its 29-county footprint. The chamber also had a hand in defending Georgia in the tri-state water wars.

Still, the chamber also has had some notable stumbles, such as soft-pedaling the Atlanta schools cheating scandal and pushing a regional transportation tax a decade ago that voters rejected.

But the group has proven resilient, bouncing back to help support a successful overhaul of the state’s gas tax that’s plugged billions into roads and bridges and a MARTA sales tax that will expand the region’s rapid transit system. The chamber works closely with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration as well as Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, a Democrat.

- Zachary Hansen contributed to this report.

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