The Metro Atlanta Innovation Indicators Project is the second comprehensive evaluation of innovation data for the 29-county region. It illustrates how Metro Atlanta is performing on different measures of innovation relative to its own history and compared to other regions throughout the U.S. that are recognized as innovation leaders. This project was commissioned to establish baseline metrics to inform actions and measure the impact of current and future efforts designed to build the region’s innovation capacity.
 
Strengths:

Talent

  • Metro Atlanta has a large pool of regional high-tech talent, employing over 163,000 individuals in high-tech occupations in 2015.
  • Nearly 190,000 people were employed in innovation industries in Metro Atlanta in 2015.
Higher Education
  • In 2014, Metro Atlanta institutions awarded 9,960 STEM degrees representing a 40% increase compared to a decade earlier.
  • Total academic R&D expenditures reached $1.85 billion in 2014, outpacing leading innovation regions like San Diego, Denver & Boulder, and Austin. Research productivity is high and increasing.  
 
Funding
  • Metro Atlanta reached a six-year high with 136 M&A deals in 2015. In each of the past 5 years, Metro Atlanta has outperformed San Diego, Austin, Denver & Boulder, and Research Triangle in M&A activity.
  • In 2015, Metro Atlanta’s companies attracted $3.5 billion in total private investment funding $3.5 billion.

Opportunities:

Talent
  • The concentration of workers in high-tech occupations is lower than other leading innovation regions, but Metro Atlanta is closing the gap. It’s concentration of high-tech workers as a share of all workers increased by 30% between 2006 and 2015.
  • In 2015, nearly 10% of the region’s employment was in innovation industries. The proportion of Metro Atlanta’s employment in innovation industries is lower than other leading innovation regions.
Higher Education
  • Between 2013 and 2014 Metro Atlanta added 50,000 adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher. However, the region’s share of highly educated adults relative to its total population lags other leading innovation regions.
Funding
  • Early stage funding in Metro Atlanta has typically lagged other leading innovation regions. However, angel, seed, and series A investment totaled $211 million between 2013 and 2015, a 3-fold increase over the previous seven year average of $70 million.