Metro Atlanta Chamber’s ChooseATL to Connect Startups & ATL's Premier Brands

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Monday, February 27th, 2017

ChooseATL, a movement dedicated to attracting and retaining top talent to metro Atlanta, announced the first ever South by Southwest event to link global entrepreneurs with some of Atlanta’s premier brands. The Entrepreneur Invitational will provide a group of entrepreneurs the chance to connect with C-suite executives for one-on-one, 10-minute sessions to discuss their company, explore opportunities and seek input from these experienced executives.  Entrepreneurs interested in securing a time slot for these powerful and unique networking sessions should submit their executive summaries for consideration on or before Monday, March 6, 2017.

The Entrepreneur Invitational is an extension of the “Big Brands Driving Innovation Panel,” powered by the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s Innovation Connect program.  A selection committee will decide which companies will receive sessions with panelists. The names of those securing meetings will be announced during the panel, which will take place in the ChooseATL House on March 13 at 1 p.m. CST. Moderated by Metro Atlanta Chamber President and CEO Hala Moddelmog, the panel will feature:

- Matt Carey, executive vice president and CIO, Home Depot

- Duncan O’Brien, senior vice president and general manager of Corporate Strategy and Investments, Cox Enterprises

- Marc Gorlin, founder and CEO, Roadie

- Rahul Samant, senior vice president and CIO, Delta Air Lines

Entrepreneur Invitational meetings will begin promptly at 2:30 p.m. CST in the ChooseATL House. Executives will be paired with startups based on the best match to add value for both parties and the motivation of the entrepreneur. Company representatives must be present during the panel to participate in a meeting.

Metro Atlanta has the nation’s third highest density of Fortune 500 headquarters – more than double that of San Francisco. These corporations are often the first, and most loyal, customers that startups benefit from.

“Atlanta's big brands are ready and willing to serve as powerful revenue streams, partners and credibility drivers for young companies of all types,” said Kate Atwood, executive director of ChooseATL.  “We’re proud to launch the Entrepreneur Invitational at SXSW, so the world’s startups can experience our vibrant tech ecosystem firsthand.”

Innovation Connect brings together top Atlanta executives to discuss how their corporations are leaders in innovative thinking and the role startups play in fueling innovation. The program is designed to connect the region’s largest and most influential corporations with each other and the broader innovation community. It is purpose-driven with the desire to strengthen the innovation ecosystem and make Atlanta a leading and sought after global innovation hub by increasing engagement of top corporations with the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“Through Innovation Connect, we are working to amplify efforts that increase engagement between the entrepreneurial and corporate communities to drive innovation-based company growth,” said Jennifer Sherer, Ph.D., vice president of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “We’re excited to offer this opportunity to burgeoning entrepreneurs that could potentially help them scale their businesses.”