Georgia Earns Back-to-Back No. 1 Tech Hub Rankings

Friday, July 30th, 2021

For the second consecutive year, Business Facilities magazine has named Georgia’s capital city of Atlanta the No. 1 Tech Hub spot. The momentum the state is experiencing, particularly in tech, is no accident and can be attributed to several factors. The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Corporate Solutions and Cybersecurity team identified a few of these driving factors below.   

Corporate Innovation 

A little over a decade ago, Georgia Tech made its first jump across the interstate to build what is now known as Tech Square. Fast-forward 10 years and this unique place is home to more than 30 Corporate Innovation Centers including renowned names like Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot, AT&T, and Honeywell.  

Tech Square also provides access to top talent in the metro Atlanta area including schools like Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Emory University, and the Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCUs) found within Atlanta’s University Center – which brings us to our next point.  

Diverse Talent Pool

Each year, Georgia’s 85 accredited public and private universities award more than 132,000 degrees and certificates to its graduates. Home to two of the nation’s top public universities – Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia – and to two of the nation’s top five HBCUs – Spelman College and Morehouse College located in the heart of Atlanta – the state is renowned for the strong and diverse talent it produces. Additionally, Georgia State University, also located in Atlanta, ranks in the top 10 U.S. colleges and universities for both racial diversity and for advancing social mobility. 

The Harvard Business Review described Georgia as a target state for tech companies to establish recruitment strategies for workforce diversification, describing Atlanta as a “hotbed of talent from traditionally underrepresented communities.” Further, CBRE recently reported that Atlanta has the most diversity of the top 10 tech markets, with the highest growth rate of the top 50 tech hubs between 2015-2019. 

Game-Changing Partnerships 

Speaking of workforce, ChooseATL, an initiative of the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC), was developed by the Chamber specifically to attract and retain next-gen talent to metro Atlanta. Built from a local grassroots movement, ChooseATL has reached millions of young professionals and has left them inspired by Atlanta’s “unique mix of careers, community, and culture.” 

“Talent attraction and retention are priorities as we work to support our region’s remarkable job growth with a skilled workforce,” said Katie Kirkpatrick, MAC’s president and CEO. “Through ChooseATL, we’re able to market metro Atlanta to the bright young talent that the region’s businesses are seeking and to emphasize that this is the place where next-generation leaders can make their mark.” 
Last year, Georgia also launched the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation. This first-of-its-kind public-private partnership was created to lead coordinated, statewide efforts to encourage growth, entrepreneurship, and innovation across the state.  

The Georgia FinTech Academy, a collaboration between Georgia’s FinTech industry and the 26 public institutions of the University System of Georgia, is another unique talent development initiative. Regardless of their location, students enrolled in the Georgia Tech FinTech Academy have the opportunity to enroll in courses including: Intro to Fintech, Financial Technologies, Banking and FinTech, Intro to Financial Data and Analytics, and Intro to Security for FinTech.  

Georgia high schools also continue to invest in preparing tech talent. The state Board of Education recently approved to include cloud computing in the Georgia Career Pathways program. The program will include three courses: Introduction to Software Technology, Computer Science Principles and Cloud Computing. These courses were developed with several tech companies with a presence in Georgia including AWS, Google Cloud, NCR, Accenture, and Microsoft. 

Transaction Alley 

Home to major payment processing companies like InComm, NCR, and Global Payments, 70% percent all U.S. transactions are handled by payment processing firms located in the state. This year, Georgia-based Global Payments moved into the Fortune 500 list for the first time. Additionally, Georgia-based Greenlight, an all-in-one money management platform designed for families, was named one of Forbes’ top 2021 FinTech firms.  

$1 Billion Ideas

Another testament to the tremendous tech hub that both the City of Atlanta and State of Georgia have become is the number of companies that have reached more than $1 billion in total valuation. From 2015-2019, Georgia had four companies reach this status. However, in just six months of 2020, four additional Georgia companies – Greenlight, SalesLoft, Calendly, and Bakkt – reached this milestone. 

Doors to Tech Community

Looking to tap Georgia’s technology community through collaborative research opportunities and partners to connect, compete, and grow globally? From health IT and medical devices to cybersecurity, mobility, and creative technology, the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation is an open door to Georgia’s robust technology community that helps businesses seize new opportunities.  

Signature services from the Center of Innovation’s IT team include focused, industry expertise to identify and resolve challenges; company exposure to new markets and opportunities; advising and facilitating new product commercialization and development; connecting business, academic, and government resources to find solutions. 

…And More 

In addition to being ranked a top 10 state for cybersecurity, Georgia’s other “top 10s” include business climate, customized job training, foreign direct investment, and many other categories. The 17th Annual Rankings Report is the featured cover story in the July/August issue of Business Facilities Magazine. To view the 2021 Rankings Report: