ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Anyone who has picked up an iPhone or use an app knows that technology has the potential to change the way we do business on all levels. Luckily for the city of Alpharetta, it is poised to be the Technology Capital of the South.
At the dinner marking the second anniversary of the Alpharetta Technology Commission Aug. 1, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle joined with more than 600 tech companies within the city limits.
“Technology is a game changer,” said Cagle. “It will change every aspect of what we do.”
Alpharetta is already home to a third of the state’s technology-related companies and a quarter of Atlanta’s top employers. It has recently branded itself as the “Technology City of the South.”
The anniversary of the Technology Commission came on the day Ernst and Young committed $8.5 million to build a new global IT center in the city.
The Technology Commission is a group comprised of large and small tech companies within the city, all aimed at identifying and pursuing key investment and policy decisions that will advance and nurture Alpharetta’s already sizeable technology community
“Georgia leads the nation in apps created,” Cagle said. “We are poised for greatness.”
He said a major problem with Georgia is incubating great companies only to see them leave the state for California or New York.
Innovation is the name of the game, said Dr. Stephen Cross, executive vice president for research at Georgia Tech.
“Georgia Tech’s strategy is to innovate everything,” Cross said.
Since the university has stressed innovation, the number of startup companies created in or around the university has increased sevenfold in the past three years.
Alpharetta is home to many of the companies involved in Ga. Tech’s innovation incubators.
“Ten percent of those companies are located in Alpharetta,” he said.
Belle Isle said, despite the success of Alpharetta in attracting tech companies, along with their workers, the city is still hidden from the national spotlight.
“You all are one of our best kept secrets,” he lamented.
Belle Isle compared Alpharetta to cities such as Austin, Texas, known for being a technology hub. Yet, despite having no airport, not being a state capital or having a university, Alpharetta has just as many tech companies within its borders as Austin.
“We have one tech company for every 100 residents,” he said. “We have twice as many tech companies as Atlanta and we have the highest concentration of tech companies in the southeast.”
The trick is to move from merely being successful to unlocking the potential greatness behind the city’s success.
For Belle Isle, the answer lies in the technology commission.