U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew visits Georgia Tech
Jen Bonnett, second from right, acting general manager of Georgia Tech's Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC), explains to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew how it helps entrepreneurs who want to create technology-oriented startups in Georgia. Lew came to ATDC to meet with entrepreneurs and discuss the national economy, as well as hear the challenges they face in accessing capital and solutions they had.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew came to the Georgia Institute of Technology Jan. 14 to discuss the national economy and meet with technology entrepreneurs at the Institute’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).
The secretary, who was joined by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, was also touting the Treasury Department’s myRA (my Retirement Account) program, a key initiative designed for individuals who want to save for retirement but don’t have access to traditional, employer-sponsored retirement accounts. The initiative is a fee-free Roth Individual Retirement Account that invests in a new U.S. Treasury retirement savings bond.
Lew and Reed toured ATDC, Georgia’s technology startup incubator that works with entrepreneurs who want to launch successful companies in the state. Headquartered in Technology Square, ATDC has operations across the state, including in Savannah, Athens and Augusta.
Lew and the mayor toured ATDC’s Tech Square operations and learned about how the incubator helps entrepreneurs through its education and coaching curriculum. They also met with some of the startup entrepreneurs in ATDC’s highly competitive Signature program, comprised of those companies that receive intensive one-on-one coaching and guidance and are deemed most likely to succeed as stand-alone enterprises.
“There’s no shortage of ideas here,” Lew said. “It’s not just about ideas, it’s about getting funding and being able to have a business come out of the idea.”
Lew and Reed hosted a roundtable with several CEOs and startup founders in ATDC Signature to talk to them about access to the financial system and hear challenges entrepreneurs face, and listen to their ideas.
“What we see going on here is what we’re talking about when we describe the U.S. economy as being a place where innovation will come in the future because it involves your dreams,” Lew said.
Entrepreneurs’ ideas can only become actual businesses if startups have sufficient access to the nation’s financial system. “Financial inclusion is a big part of that,” Lew added, “because if you don’t have a history or a relationship with the financial system, it’s going to be really hard to get the loan or the financing necessary to take an idea and make it a reality.”
— Péralte C. Paul