The Norcross Economic Development Department (NorcrossED) has recently formed a partnership with the life sciences trade association, Georgia Bio. This independent non-profit organization’s mission is to “advance the growth of Georgia’s life science industry and foster strategic partnerships” to create a healthier Georgia.
The biomedical sector is of particular interest for the economic development department. As one of the City’s targeted industry sectors, Norcross is actively pursuing the recruitment of new biomedical firms and exploring ways to grow the ecosystem so that businesses will have more resources to succeed.
Membership in Georgia Bio is diverse. It includes a wide range of organizations such as insurance agencies, hospitals and clinics, technological, academic, legal, and financial institutions, and a wide range of commercial players such as real estate, logistics and shipping, utilities, and engineering. This will allow the City to open communication and collaboration across sectors necessary for ecosystem growth.
For businesses and the local economy, it is particularly advantageous that NorcrossED collaborates with Georgia Bio at this time. The life science industry in Georgia is experiencing significant success. According to a report by Georgia Bio and the Georgia Global Health Alliance, since 2007 the industry has seen an increase of 194,400 direct, indirect, and induced jobs. It has also brought in $21.8 billion in revenue, created 1,960 life science companies, and raised $780 million in venture capital.
Norcross Economic Development Coordinator, Tara Smith, indicated that this partnership is a step in the right direction for growing the biomedical sector and cluster development. According to Smith, there are over 88 biomedical and life science-related businesses in the Norcross area. These firms have some of the City’s highest paying positions with an average pay of $74,000. “If we are to grow this sector in the City, then it is important that we are able to tap into the expertise and resources of leading organizations like Georgia Bio,” she said. “It is also imperative that we have the ability to get in front of other biomedical firms to build relationships, to promote the City’s assets and strengths, and to help these firms to understand the important role that they will play in helping us to grow the industry.”
Norcross is particularly poised to foster this growth. One of its advantages includes the strength of the local population. Part of this strength comes from diversity. Over 100 cultures and languages come together here to foster new ideas and inclusivity in the life science system. In addition, Norcross was recognized as #14 of 100 Most Genius Places in America by TIME Magazine based on the number of patents issued over the past 40 years. In 2015 alone, residents of Norcross generated 80 new patents per 10,000 residents, which was nearly twenty times the national rate. The city’s commitment to innovation is also evidenced by the newly founded Paul Duke STEM High School. Here, students get hands-on learning with an emphasis on technology and are even required to finish their studies with capstone research projects. Furthermore, Norcross is in close proximity to top research, educational institutions, and other resources.
By partnering with Georgia Bio, Norcross in partnership with local life science businesses and organizations, can add its voice to important state-wide public policy discussions, benefit from cutting-edge STEM education programs, receive access to vast capital, and be a part of a strong network of biomedical industry leaders.