GRA and TAG Kickoff Business Launch Competition 2007

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$100,000 in cash plus $150,000 in services to the winner.

Based on last year’s entries, technology innovation is truly alive and well in Georgia.

The Georgia Research Alliance and the Technology Association of Georgia today announced the kickoff of the GRA/TAG Business Launch competition that awards $100,000 in cash plus professional services valued at an additional $150,000 to individuals starting a new technology company in Georgia.

The innovative competition, which is a unique public-private partnership with funding from a wide range of companies, will focus on new businesses seeking to develop financial services technologies or supply chain technologies. The competition, which is open to the public in Georgia, will culminate on May 24, 2007 at Georgia Public Broadcasting, when the final contestants present their business plans to a prestigious panel of judges who will select the winner.

“Without a doubt, last year’s competition was a roaring success,” said C. Michael Cassidy, president and CEO of GRA. “We had some remarkable entries from all across Georgia in this innovative event, which is the only one of its kind nationally. It couldn’t have been a better start.”

ReachMDConsult, an Augusta-based telemedicine company, won the 2006 event and has already garnered a number of major contracts, including one from the state of New York, to implement its stroke care technology in a number of hospitals.

“This was one of the most exciting events in Georgia’s technology community in recent years,” said Tino Mantella, TAG president. “We received tremendous support throughout the state and look forward to an even better 2007 competition.”

Entrants can obtain information on the contest on the TAG website, http://www.tagonline.org. The initial entries, due February 19, 2007 will be reviewed by TAG/GRA partner, ATDC, the Advanced Technology Development Center, which has been recognized as one of the nation's premier technology business incubators.

“We were very pleased to partner with TAG and GRA last year to help launch the competition,” said Tony Antoniades, ATDC general manager. “Based on last year’s entries, technology innovation is truly alive and well in Georgia.”

Final entries are due by April 9. The prize winner must agree to launch the company and remain in Georgia. If the company moves out of state within three years after it is launched, the $100,000 award must be repaid with eight percent interest.

According to Sid Elliott, who is AT&T’s executive in residence at GRA and the lead organizer of the event, a group of semifinalists will be chosen in late April and invited to make presentations to a panel of semifinal judges. From that group, the “Final Four” will be chosen for the May 24th presentation at Georgia Public Broadcasting.

“Among the unique features of this event is the opportunity for some of the most promising preliminary entries to receive mentoring from an experienced technology entrepreneur,” said Elliott. “We had some great mentors last year who gave so much of their time to help the contestants and we will have an equally outstanding group this year.”

The judges for the final presentations for the 2007 event include: Pete Sinisgalli, chief executive officer, Manhattan Associates; Jay Chaudry, vice chairman and chief strategy officer, Secure Computing; Paul Garcia, chief executive officer, Global Payments Inc.; Mark Johnson, vice chairman, CheckFree Corporation; Scott McGlaun, chief information officer, Synovus; Tom Crotty, general partner, Battery Ventures (Boston); and Allen Moseley, general partner, Noro-Moseley Partners.

In addition to Elliott, Antoniades, Mantella and Cassidy, the competition has a stellar board of advisors from Georgia’s high tech community including Don Addington, CEO, Seagull Software; William Marks, managing partner, W. B. Marks Partners LLC; Sig Mosley, president, Imlay Investments; Martin Tilson, attorney and partner, Kilpatrick Stockton, LLP; Robert Ball, managing partner, Live Oak Equity; Melanie Brandt, director of community and information resources, TAG; Marc Fleury, founder & CEO, JBoss; Jeff Hoffman, managing partner, Smith-Hoffman Capital; Sami Jajeh, principal, Arketi Group; Guido Sacchi, CIO, CompuCredit; Steve Schilling, CTO, MegaPath Networks; Page Siplon, executive director Maritime Logistics Center.

About TAG

The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support its members by generating opportunities for personal, professional and business growth. By forging strategic alliances, TAG serves as a primary catalyst to foster a rich environment for economic development in Georgia’s technology community.

Founded in 1999 through the merger of the Business & Technology Alliance (B&TA), the Southeastern Software Association (SSA) and Women in Technology (WIT), TAG is one of the largest state technology associations in the nation. TAG is made up of several thousand members representing technology leaders from over 1500 Georgia-based companies, affiliated technology and business organizations. For more information on TAG, visit http://www.tagonline.org, email info@tagonline.org or call (404) 817-3333.

About GRA

A model public-private partnership between Georgia universities, business and state government, the Georgia Research Alliance helps build Georgia’s technology-rich economy in three major ways: through attracting Eminent Scholars to Georgia’s research universities; through improving laboratories and equipment at these research universities; and through converting research into products, services and jobs that drive the economy. To learn more about GRA, visit http://www.gra.org.

For More Information:

William Marks

W.B. Marks Partners

(404) 870-3826

Tino Mantella

Technology Association of Georgia

(404) 817-3333

Sid Elliott

Georgia Research Alliance

(404) 332-9770

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