Entrepreneurs, Skilled Contractors Lead Georgia’s High-Tech Growth, Study Shows
Much of Georgia’s high-technology employment growth during the last decade has been led by high-tech self-employed contractors and entrepreneurial business owners, a Georgia State University study shows.
The growth rates in these two categories – 40.6 percent and 37.5 percent– were the leading drivers in Georgia’s overall 15.5 percent high-tech employment growth from 2000 to 2011.
The report also shows Georgia’s patent filings rising from 1,541 to 2,194 during the same period, even while venture capital investments and research and development funding in the state declined.“Business climate factors have long been recognized as important determinants of high-tech business formation,” says urban policy expert Cathy Yang Liu. “To continue to nurture Georgia’s comparative advantage in this sector, we must pay attention to the state’s skilled workforce, its close proximity to excellent universities and research institutions, and the density of related industries.”
In “Georgia’s High-Technology Industry and Innovation Capacity” (Fiscal Research Center report No. 262), Liu describes the landscape of the high-tech industry in Georgia from 2000-2011, comparing it to those in seven southeastern states.
The report examines Georgia’s demographic, industrial and geographic distributions in this sector and presents several indicators of the state’s innovation capacity – patents, venture capital, research finding and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) graduates – to gauge Georgia’s innovation capacity and competitiveness in the context of its peer states.
The report concludes with a discussion of policy options intended to foster high-tech development and increase innovation competitiveness in Georgia.
“Research has shown that industrial intensity, unemployment rates and market access, among other factors, are important determinants of regional variations in high-tech firm formation,” says Liu, an assistant professor of public management and policy in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. “A creative and diverse social environment attracts human capital and produces high levels of innovation and entrepreneurship on state and metro levels.
“Our research also shows that the supporting professional, management and other producer service industries such as financial and technical services – which Atlanta has in abundance – are strong predictors of high-tech agglomeration on the metropolitan-area level.”
PR manager for the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies