Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Atlanta, GA


Entrepreneur named Atlanta the third-best city in America for minority entrepreneurs, while Innovation Leader included it in a list of the top-10 cities for corporate innovation in May 2017.

Atlanta, GA is the hub of the nation’s ninth-largest metropolitan area and the largest in the southeast. It was named as a beta+ city in 2016 by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, meaning it is an important world city that is “instrumental in linking its region or state into the world economy.” Atlanta ranked 38th in WalletHub’s 2017 list of the best big cities to start a business, with top-50 rankings in both the “Access to Resources” and “Business Costs” categories. Additionally, Entrepreneur named Atlanta the third-best city in America for minority entrepreneurs, while Innovation Leader included it in a list of the top-10 cities for corporate innovation in May 2017.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Atlanta’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

Networking opportunities for business owners, professionals, and entrepreneurs, located just outside of Atlanta.

One of the largest meetup groups, Atlanta Entrepreneurs Network provides connection opportunities to entrepreneurs.

Organizes monthly talks by experienced local entrepreneurs with the aim of helping new and aspiring entrepreneurs become more successful.

Host monthly events to network and discuss business.

Hosts events in a co-working center to allow small business owners to meet and collaborate to improve each other’s businesses.

Provides resources and connections for young female professionals and established female entrepreneurs alike.

Aims to empower female business owners to succeed and achieve their dreams.

Provides business and social networking opportunities for women of any marital, business, or social status.


Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

A major technology event sponsored by the ATDC incubator. Investors, corporations, and entrepreneurs come together to network and learn about new and emerging technologies.

Not strictly entrepreneur-based, Maker Faire Atlanta is an annual gathering of engineers, craftsmen, and creators during which they can show off their experiments and projects.

The Atlanta branch of The Indus Entrepreneurs hosts an annual awards gala honoring the region’s top entrepreneurs and startups.

A massive, annual, technology-focused conference for entrepreneurs, executives, and investors.


Startup Competitions:

A two-day event where over 100 entrepreneurs compete for the grand prize of $100,000.

Sponsored by the Technology Association of Georgia, Biz Launch is a competition that offers tens of thousands of dollars in prizes.

Sponsored by Georgia Tech, I2S is open to all current students and recent alumni with early-stage products or services that aim to make the world a better place.

Startup competition open to undergraduate students and recent graduates of Georgia Tech.


Co-working Spaces:

Co-working space for tech-related startups that offers hot desks, reserved desks, or offices for groups of people.

Industrious has a number of locations in Georgia with a range in prices, membership plans, and amenities offered to members.

In addition to traditional public office space, NEX Atlanta offers a number of networking opportunities and chances to make connections.

A female-only co-working space dedicated to empowering women and helping them become successful entrepreneurs.

Offers month-to-month contracts to work in one of their several locations in the city and the surrounding areas.

In an attempt to provide maximum flexibility to customers, SharedSpace only offers month-to-month memberships rather than long-term contracts.

49,000 square feet of co-working space in West Midtown with a variety of membership plans and meeting spaces open to the public.

Offers public and dedicated space to work as well as connections to mentors and a vast array of helpful entrepreneurial resources.

Atlanta is home to 3 WeWork office locations, each with unique amenities to fit the specific needs of the clientele.

A co-working office located in the Chandler Park area that hosts regular events.


Maker spaces:

Located just outside of Atlanta, Decatur Makers offers individual and family membership plans.

A maker space and hackerspace in a 6,000-square foot building that hosts regular events and classes open to the public.

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Housed at Georgia Tech, the Invention Studio is run by students and free and open to everyone at the University.

A maker space and hackerspace located just northwest of the city that offers special membership prices to students.

In addition to access to tools and resources, MASS also holds regular classes to teach people how to use their equipment.



Located in North Atlanta, 22 Tech Park is an incubator program for early-stage IT startups.

Located on the campus of Georgia Tech, ATDC connects tech startups with valuable resources at Georgia Tech as well as mentorship and access to capital.

An Atlanta-based program to help female entrepreneurs looking to solve problems with technology.

Supports and invests in social entrepreneurs in the Atlanta area to help them succeed and bring value to the community.

A three-day program for female entrepreneurs that helps connect them with mentors, education, and networking opportunities.

An incubator located just outside the city that focuses on hardware and software startups with a design and development workshop for hardware startups.



Ascend 2020 invests in and supports technology startups and small businesses that are minority-led and based in the metropolitan area.

Civic X is an accelerator program and investment fund for civic ventures and companies working to solve social problems.

A 90-day accelerator program for information security and machine learning startups.

Sponsored by Comcast and NBC Universal, The Farm is a technology accelerator program focused on earlier-stage companies.

An accelerator and startup engineering program sponsored by Georgia Tech but open to all entrepreneurs from the Atlanta area.

An accelerator program that aims to help local cleantech startups succeed until sustainable operations are the norm.

Offers a co-living program and the Guild Labs program, both designed to train entrepreneurs to make the world a better place.



CAU offers an entrepreneurial management undergraduate program.

The Goizueta Business School at Emory University includes an entrepreneurship center to help student entrepreneurs.

The Georgia State J. Mack Robinson College of Business has an entrepreneurship program that offers bachelor’s degrees, minors, master’s degrees, and an MBA degree.

Georgia Tech has a number of resources available to entrepreneurs, including several minors and certificate programs.


Angel Groups/VCs:

An angel investment firm for early-stage technological companies.

A VC aiming to invest in technology companies.

Invests in early-stage technological innovation companies.

A venture firm that primarily invests in tech-focused companies and puts them through a three-month growth program.

Based in Atlanta but with a national focus, Fulcrum invests in healthcare services and IT, software, and tech-enabled services.

A large early-stage venture capital firm that invests in cyber security, enterprise productivity, and IT infrastructure.

Venture capital firm that invests in seed- and early-stage startups in several industries.

A venture capital firm that invests exclusively in financial services technology industries.

Venture capital firm that invests in high-growth companies in the sectors of information technology and healthcare.


Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

The nation’s largest network of entrepreneurs has a branch in Atlanta and offers a newsletter.

The Atlanta-based news source for technology and entrepreneurship offers a weekly newsletter with the most important information.

The National Association of Women Business Owners a national newsletter as well as one specific to Georgia.


Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Atlanta not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

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Article by Quinn Pilkey

Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at FundingSage where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.