Sam Adams Is Invest Atlanta’s First Manager of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Invest Atlanta has named Sam Adams to be its first Manager of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a position in which he’ll help aspiring new business owners understand and navigate Atlanta’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and connect them to the resources that can help their entrepreneurial ventures take root and flourish.

A former entrepreneur in a startup that was co-located in Atlanta, Adams spent the last two years in the City’s Office of Innovation Delivery and Performance. So being on both sides of the table, so to speak, as a developer and supporter of business innovation and entrepreneurship, has given Adams “a little bit of a unique insight and will allow to me to help create a smoother process for entrepreneurs to innovate within Atlanta.”

As his title hints, Adams has roles to play in facilitating both innovation and entrepreneurship.

On the innovation side, Adams will work with the City and its Smart City team to promote large telecommunications-based public-private partnerships that can further the digitization of the built environment in Atlanta.

On the entrepreneurship side, Adams will meet with Atlanta’s business incubators — who provide working spaces and basic support — and its business accelerators — who provide structure and guidance to position new businesses to begin operations, make a profit and grow – so that he can learn about the unique ways in which those two types of players support entrepreneurial development. (As part of that process, Adams is getting to know the entrepreneurial community as a whole and which of its members are engaged with incubators and accelerators.) He’ll also be meeting the angel investors, venture capitalists and private equity groups that support entrepreneurs in Atlanta to learn about their most pressing challenges so he can position Invest Atlanta to help them address those challenges and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

As Adams works on developing a strategy for how his office can best support entrepreneurship development in the near term and be a catalyst for it in the long term, he stresses that he’s here to work as a partner with the existing organizations that are involved in building entrepreneurship in Atlanta.

“The main point I want to get across is that we want to have a really open-door policy, where everybody can feel free to approach Invest Atlanta with their questions about entrepreneurship in this city.

“I want folks to know that we’re a tool for helping – whether that’s a startup that needs help finding a home in an accelerator or incubator space; whether that’s somebody that thinks Atlanta might be the right place for their startup to grow; or whether they’re an investor and want to be plugged further into the ecosystem. We want people to know that if they’ve got questions, Invest Atlanta wants to know, understand and answer those questions.”