Innovation Gateway spurs $128M economic impact

The Clayton Tribune
June 15, 2017

By Tommy Culkin
Staff Writer

RABUN GAP — In recent years, the University of Georgia’s Innovation Gateway, part of its Office of Research, has had a sizable impact on the state’s economy. On June 5, UGA Director of the Office of Economic Development Sean McMillan spoke to the Development Authority of Rabun County about the projects and impact of Innovation Gateway.

The program has helped set UGA apart among other public universities, McMillan said. UGA has ranked among the top five of all American universities for new products reaching the marketplace for three straight years, has ranked among the top 10 of all universities for licenses executed for nine consecutive years and has ranked in the top 20 among American public universities for licensing revenue for 12 straight years.

Through Innovation Gateway, more than 600 new products have been introduced into the marketplace, approximately $128 million has been generated from created jobs, and more than 150 companies have launched based on its research. “We’re all about creating the next generation of leaders and solving the pressing problems,” McMillan said.

One example of the program’s success is Abeome, a biotech startup that has its roots in Innovation Gateway. The company has developed a pipeline of new therapeutic antibodies, targeting such major problems such as asthma and cancer.

Coulombe said he was impressed with the work UGA has been doing. “I think they’re outstanding, and UGA has long been a strong economic development partner and (McMillan) just reinforced that,” Coulombe said.

Rabun County has worked with UGA in many capacities. The Carl Vinson Institute of Government has done studies for the county and municipalities in the past, and Rabun County currently partners with the UGA Small Business Development Center’s Gainesville branch.

In other business, Coulombe reported Gap Partners, which leases space in the Rabun County Business Park, requested approximately 1,000 feet of additional space. A temporary lease agreement was unanimously approved.

Multitrade, which also leases space in the Business Park, requested an amendment to its lease agreement as well. Multitrade has a lease for three areas with DARC, but wants to remove one of the areas. Coulombe said he was in the process of reviewing whether Multitrade could do so.

At the end of the meeting, the authority entered executive session to discuss real estate and potential litigation. No action was taken afterwards.

In other business, the authority changed the day of its July meeting. Originally scheduled for Monday, July 3, the authority rescheduled it for Monday, July 10, to avoid conflicts with the Fourth of July.

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