Spending millions on tax incentives and grants to lure corporate giants is a shortsighted approach to economic development, according to an Atlanta entrepreneur who argued that sustainable jobs are only created from the bottom up.
Sanjay Parekh, organizer of the annual Startup Riot conference in Atlanta, conceded that large factories are strong short-term catalysts but said they only provide temporary job gains while increasing the risk to the local economy.
"It's just like financial planners tell us to do with our own finances, with our own investments - you don't put all your money into one company. You diversify it across," said Mr. Parekh, who created Internet technology that enables geolocation based on IP addresses. He sold his company, Digital Envoy, to Landmark Communications Inc. in 2007.
The focus on big job wins, while good for a community's public image, is bad for the nation as a whole, he said, citing a 2010 study of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, which found that companies less than five years old accounted for all net new jobs, while older corporations taken together were net destroyers of jobs.
For that reason, economic developers should "play the long game" when thinking about where to allocate taxpayer money ...Read more >>
When we're abroad, it sometimes seems that the Atlanta news wheel spins faster, leaving a mountain of stories to write when we return.
For that reason we don't get out as often as we'd like, but when we do, we dive deep. For us, globetrotting isn't just for fun (though it really is). Atlanta readers are at the forefront of our minds, and decisions about where to go and what to cover are undergirded by two questions:
1. What relevance does this story/trend have to Atlanta's emergence as a global business center?
2. How can a reader in Atlanta use this source/insight to grow their business internationally?
This ongoing quest led us to provide four country snapshots in 2012 based on our first-hand reporting overseas:
Nearly 20 years after hosting what some consider to be the exemplary Olympics for squeezing the long-term value out of infrastructure investments, Atlanta is still relevant to the discussion on how cities plan for the Games.
London didn't shy away from tapping this expertise when fashioning its Olympic legacy plans. Atlanta was not only a model, but it also provided concrete advice on city regeneration and security practices. A few ...Read more >>
Ambassadors are known for being diplomatic. It is, after all, their job.
But Ebrahim Rasool, South African Ambassador to the United States, demonstrated a keenness for this delicate skill during a speech last week at the Commerce Club.
Somehow, he slighted Americans for their ignorance while eliciting laughter from, well, a room full of Americans.
"Where there are pockets of conflict we need to move in decisively to stabilize the situation because we know that there are many people in America whose strong suit is not geography. If there is an Arab Spring in Egypt, they disinvest in South Africa without understanding that the whole United States geographically can fit in our Sahara Desert," Mr. Rasool said, noting the need to foster African integration through the African Union.
"That's what the distances are like between countries, so we can try and teach 300 million Americans geography, or we can solve five conflicts. In Africa, we're choosing to solve the conflicts. That's easier," he joked.
While he touched on some stubborn flash points like Mali and Somalia, he noted that one no longer needs two hands (and a few toes) to count the serious conflicts across Africa's 54 countries.
The absence of ...Read more >>
With all the talk of a slowdown in China and plodding recovery around the world, you'd think logistics providers would be sitting on their hands, biding their time until the economic picture clears up.
But instead of shrinking back, some of the biggest names in cargo are investing in new assets, confident that an upswing is around the corner.
"This is a blip, but we know it's just a blip. We've gone through this before and it won't be the last time either," said Fred Ruggiero, vice president of cargo in the Americas for Cathay Pacific Airways.
The Hong Kong-based airline has already purchased seven new Boeing 747-8 wide-body freighters, the most fuel-efficient cargo jet in the skies. The planes have climate-controlled sections suited for high-value goods like pharmaceuticals, Mr. Ruggiero said at a Hong Kong forum in Atlanta Oct. 4.
Cathay is also expecting delivery of one more 747-8 this month and two more in 2013.
At the same time, the airline is building a new $700 million cargo facility at Hong Kong International Airport that can process freight in less than one hour.
"There are airports in the world that cannot transit people in less than 60 minutes ...Read more >>
While most of the attention on the Coca-Cola Co.’s acquisition of Aujan Industries Co. has focused on the implications for Coke sales in North Africa and the Middle East, Aujan sales in the U.S. should benefit as well.
Or that seems to be the reasoning of Adel Aujan, chairman of the Saudi drinks company based in Dammam who negotiated the almost $1 billion deal.
“In five years time, I think you are just as likely to be sipping a can of Rani in New York as you are a can of Coke,” Mr. Aujan told Anil Bhoyrul of www.arabianbusiness.com, when the deal was first announced last year.
“This deal is a game changer for us; it takes us to another level,” the sheik told Mr. Bhoyrul.
Did Mr. Aujan choose New York because of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaign against super-sized sodas?
His comments may be tinged by hyperbole, but the fact is that Aujan’s Rani, a fruit-based drink with “real fruit chunks,” according to its website, has been popular overseas and is gaining popularity in the U.S.
Aujan’s Barbican, a non-alcoholic, beer-like malt drink also is gaining in popularity in the U.S.
Both brands are better ...Read more >>
Anita Chan's pleas to get friends to visit her in the United States often fall on deaf ears.
Time and again, says the director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York, they say they'd rather go to Tokyo, London or Toronto.
It's not that those places have more pizzazz; getting a U.S. visa is just too much of a hassle.
While Americans can travel to Hong Kong for up to 90 days without a visa, and passports from the Chinese special administrative region are good for visa-free entry into more than 170 countries and territories, the United States is the "sad exception to the rule," Ms. Chan said during a trip to Atlanta.
"You are losing a very good source of tourists. You are losing a very good source of potential investors. Why make it so hard for Hong Kong people to come here?" she said, adding that American officials don't have to worry about Hong Kongers overstaying their visas.
"Just check with the immigration authorities of the United Kingdom, Canada, the richest countries in the world in Europe; they will tell you that our record is first-rate."
Ms. Chan noted that the Hong Kong government ...Read more >>
Members of the Atlanta City Council's Advisory Committee on International Relations on Aug. 29 became some of the first local leaders to preview the new GlobalAtlanta.com.
City Councilman Kwanza Hall, who chairs the committee, hosted the meeting at Studioplex, a restored cotton warehouse on Auburn Avenue where GlobalAtlanta moved its offices in March, joining a variety of media companies, hair salons and residents in the mixed-use development.
After refreshments and introductions, a presentation provided a sneak peak of the new GlobalAtlanta.com, which aims to better reflect the publication's role in bringing together the city's often-disparate international community.
A few highlights:
-Cleaner design with more photos; fewer ads displayed more clearly
-More social media interaction
-More functional international calendar with opportunities for community organizations and individuals to post events free of charge
-Easier navigation toward readers' areas of interest; special pages for countries, regions and topics like business, education, culture and trade.
-Directories make it easier to find contacts
Publisher Phil Bolton unveiled GlobalAtlanta's new slogan, which offers an apt description for the publication and the city it covers: "The world is here."
See a mockup of the new site here. The tentative date for the official launch is for ...Read more >>
Port-au-Prince, Haiti - To some, the ruined state of Haiti's presidential palace more than two years after the earthquake that destroyed it represents the gross ineptitude of the government in this Caribbean nation.
President Michel Martelly claims that leaving the devastation visible was an act of solidarity with those living in tents on adjacent Champs de Mars.But on Aug. 22, with no tents to be found on the nearby square, Mr. Martelly announced that his domed white palace would be torn down and restored to its former glory.A ceremony marking the groundbreaking occurred the same day GlobalAtlanta roamed the grounds where the government operates in a few functioning buildings and temporary trailers.
However you slice it, the plodding pace of reconstruction reveals the weakness of Haiti's institutions. If the delay was tied to corruption, one might wonder why it hasn't been rooted out after years of outside assistance. If due to empathy, it's valid to ask why Mr. Martelly's crew hasn't been quicker to address an endemic homelessness problem made drastically worse by the earthquake.About 400,000 people are still living in temporary shelters across a country that was battered once again this weekend by Tropical Storm ...Read more >>
In an area of Africa where thousands are without shoes and foot disease runs rampant, Coach Ron Hunter of the Georgia State University men’s basketball team aims to provide a pair of shoes to everyone he can.
Arriving back Aug. 9 from his sixth trip abroad with the nonprofit Samaritan’s Feet International, Mr. Hunter and the team returned satisfied that they had accomplished their mission in Paarl, South Africa.
But they went one step further than delivering 85,000 pairs of shoes. They also physically washed the feet of thousands of underprivileged children, according to Mike Holmes, associate sports communications director at Georgia State.
Mr. Hunter has been a long-time supporter of the organization founded by Manny Ohonme, who grew up in Nigeria without shoes. But this trip marked only the second time Mr. Hunter has taken his team and the first time since he came to Georgia State from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
"I feel very blessed and humbled to be working with an organization like Samaritan's Feet," Mr.Hunter said in a news release. "To be able to bring my staff and, equally important, my players, will make it a unique trip for all involved.”
Mr. Hunter is well known ...Read more >>
What’s the true value of a university education? Does it merely come from the knowledge gained in the classroom or from learning how to apply that knowledge practically and ethically?
These questions and more are the focus of a two-week trip by Associate Professor Karen Gibler to Burapha University in Thailand sponsored by the U.S. State Department through a Fulbright Specialists Award.
The associate professor of real estate at the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University was asked by the Thai university to help bring its undergraduate business program up to spec with the Thai Qualifications Framework, a set of standards designed to bring Thai programs more in line with their international counterparts.
Like many schools in Asia, Burapha University excels at teaching primary coursework in a variety of scientific fields as a matter of rote, Dr. Gibler said.
However, when it comes to teaching how to apply these disciplines to related subjects like ethical development and general interpersonal communication skills, the faculty of the Thailand-based university is struggling, Dr. Gibler told GlobalAtlanta from Chon Buri, Thailand.
“Like most schools, [Burapha] is good at assessing student knowledge through tests, but the faculty are struggling with how to set learning ...Read more >>