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Georgia AIM Showcased on Vice President’s Economic Development Tour

Work done by Georgia Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing is translating into success stories across the state. Recently, these success stories framed another achievement: Helping to host Vice President Kamala Harris as she kicked off her Economic Opportunity Tour in Atlanta at the end of April.

The multi-state tour was designed to showcase ways the Biden-Harris administration has built economic opportunity, supported communities, and is investing in traditionally underserved areas. Georgia AIM is an example of this, as it helps to expand technology training, job opportunities and advances for manufacturing across the state. Along with Georgia AIM, the Georgia Minority Business Development Agency Business Center (Georgia MBC), and Southeast Business Hub, programs of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, also attended the event at the Georgia International Convention Center, near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“This event was a great opportunity to introduce the vice president to the work of Georgia AIM,” said Donna Ennis, co-director of Georgia AIM, which works to drive adoption of AI in U.S. manufacturing. “We were founded as part of the federal government’s Build Back Better plan. It’s important for her to see how we are putting the grant to work to deliver equity in artificial intelligence for manufacturing in Georgia.”

Prior to the arrival of Vice President Harris, attendees could visit tables set up in the entry hall and learn about a number of organizations, from banks to nonprofits to governmental agencies, that are working to level the playing field for underserved Georgians. Attendees included representatives from the Environmental Protection AgencyRise, and Brunswick Job Corps Center.

The Georgia AIM table, staffed by Ryan Scott, the community engagement manager, and Kyle Saleeby, research engineer with Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI), was a popular stop, thanks to the tabletop “cobot” showing how robotics can be used in manufacturing and an array of 3-D printed industrial materials.

The program featured a conversation with Harris and financial literacy and business advice podcasters Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings, from Earn Your Leisure. The podcast has an audience of about 2 million people, a majority of whom are Black. Harris spoke to the crowd of approximately 400 people about the administration’s focus on access to capital for minority small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“One of the compelling reasons for me to start this tour now,” Harris said, “is to ask all the leaders here for help in getting the word out about what is available to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Because we are in the process of putting a lot of money in the streets of America.”

Some of those funds have gone to Enterprise Innovation Institute programs, including $65 million for Georgia AIM.

Georgia senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock and Rep. Nikema Williams also spoke at the event. Prior to the event, they joined Harris at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs (RICE), a partner project with Georgia AIM. RICE is developing a mobile lab with researchers at the University of Georgia College of Engineering that will showcase AI-based technologies to communities across the state.

“It was exciting to hear first-hand about the administration’s commitment to equity in small businesses and entrepreneurship,” Ennis said. “It dovetails perfectly with the commitment of the programs of the Enterprise Innovation Institute.”