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Clayton promoted as part of 'Innovation Crescent'

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Clayton County is set to join a regional partnership branding itself as the "Innovation Crescent," an identifiable, "life sciences corridor."

Robin Roberts, director of Clayton County Economic Development, said the county will join with 18 communities and organizations in a public announcement on Tuesday, to launch the branding campaign.

"The Innovation Crescent Regional Partnership's mission is to improve and expand the economic-development, marketing efforts," Roberts said. "We wanted a distinct brand that would bridge the gap between local and statewide marketing efforts, supporting what we know to be the next step in strengthening our competitive edge."

The 18 groups, unified under the logo of the "Innovation Crescent," will promote themselves to businesses involved in the life sciences -- anything related to the study of plants and animals, including pharmaceutical companies, and medical research and development facilities.

The "crescent" stretches from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to the University of Georgia in Athens.

It includes more than 250 life sciences companies, the number-two-ranked academic bioengineering program in the country -- a joint venture between Emory University and the Georgia Institute of Technology -- as well as a long list of other, notable, life sciences institutions. Those include the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society, BioEnergy Science Center, and the Yerkes Primate Center.

Ed Graham, of the regional partnership, said the coalition and the campaign marks out the region as an identifiable place. That is a change in perception that he said will have tangible results.

"First, it serves to cluster the region's life science resources, and more effectively promote the region's assets, marketing them to new business. And, second, it builds a unique brand position for Georgia's Innovation Crescent, recognizing the region as a unique hub of life science talent," Graham said.

According to the group's announcement, the area between the airport in northern Clayton County and the university in Clarke County is attracting recent college graduates, with about 200,000 students enrolling in area colleges and universities every year.

The branding campaign begins about year before the Biotechnology Industry Organization's annual International BIO Convention comes to Atlanta. The group will pitch the region to the international biotech companies as a place "Where Life Science Grows."

The Innovation Crescent is one of seven regions in Georgia identified and branded for workforce development.

Clayton County is joined in the campaign by the city of Atlanta, the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Georgia Bio, and 12 counties, including Fulton, Cobb, DeKalb and Gwinnett.

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On the web:

www.georgiainnovationcrescent.com