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Best Business Tools and Tips Gathered from 12 Capitalist Sage Episodes [Podcast]

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Capitalist Sage

Summary:
2019 is over and 2020 is coming fast! Join Rico Figliolini and Karl Barham as they sum up all of the greatest hits from this last year of the Capitalist Sage Podcast. Gather all of the tools you need to make 2020 the best year in business.

“If there’s one thing that we tried to do in 2019 with the Capitalist Sage was bringing you people that are in the trenches doing this every day. We learned from people’s failures. We’ve learned from people’s success. But our goal is to share this information with as many people as we can and just get you thinking there’s plenty of people out there that can help you with your business.”

Karl Barham

Time Stamp:

Lines are linked to the individual episodes

[00:00:30] Intro
[00:04:21] Social Media Branding for Lead Generation with Bonnie Mauldin
[00:07:29] Wendy Kinney talking shop on effective networking
[00:10:53] What Comes After Becoming a Franchise Owner, with guest Gary Birnberg
[00:14:20] How Business Mentorship Empowers Entrepreneurs, with Erin Igleheart
[00:17:49] Cliff Bramble on How to Thrive in the Restaurant Business
[00:20:38] Top Three Mistakes People Make When Starting Their Business
[00:24:13] Going into 2020
[00:26:38] The Legal Pitfalls of Buying and Selling a Business
[00:27:28] Preparing Your Business for Exit
[00:29:26] Entrepreneurs Creating Mobile Food Events
[00:29:53] The Business Of Organic Farming
[00:30:40] Laron Walker Scaling iOT Technology from Education to Commercial
[00:31:22] Beth B Moore discussing entertainment law, emerging trends, the film and music industry

Podcast Transcript

Karl [00:00:30]: Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors. My co-host is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets Digital Marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners Magazine. Hey Rico, how’re you doing today?

Rico [00:00:47]: Good Karl.

Karl [00:00:49]: Well today, we’re having a bonus episode where we’re getting to talk about some of the sage advice we learned over the 20, 26 plus episodes in 2019. All the guests that came by and shared some of their knowledge that’s helping business owners. So we just wanted to give, just discuss some of those that we thought were particularly impactful and talk a little bit about how they impacted our businesses and how they can impact your business in 2020. Before we get started, why don’t we talk about our sponsors for today.

Rico [00:01:29]: Right. We are here at Atlanta Tech Park in the City of Peachtree Corners. It’s an accelerator. It’s a huge place. It’s where you, because where you start off at after you’re at an incubator. Small businesses, think we-work-share hits Silicon Valley. It’s that type of atmosphere where you can meet Venture capitalists, learn from others, network, the variety of things going on here. And we’re on this road in Technology Park that’s called Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners, which is the autonomous vehicle track, the only one of its kind really in the United States. That I can say to us about where you can come as a company. That’s either an IOT or the does anything with autonomous vehicles that need to 5G with Sprint 5G is in this whole area of technology park, right? So anything that you want to test out on the mobile track or within the environment of Curiosity Lab so it doesn’t have to be necessary in a vehicle to be on a light post to be on someone walking to be a bicycle riding can do anything where technology needs to talk to each other to everything. It’s an atmosphere where the city of History Corners is providing it essentially free to companies that meet certain requirements to be able to come here and do business and check out there to work their real projects.

Karl [00:02:55]: It’s one of the great things about the Investments that are being made in Gwinnett County. In Peachtree Corners in particular and the whole general Southwest Gwinnett that’s bringing companies, technologies, to make this vibrant environment where businesses can thrive. And that’s a little bit why we thought it’d be great to talk about some of the guests at help shared some of their expertise and insight and experiences on how they created small businesses and how they help support small businesses being successful. So Rico and l will talk about a couple of episodes and what we learned about them and share that with you and you can of course go and check out any of these episodes on any one of our streaming platforms.

Rico [00:03:43]: Whether it’s iTunes or iHeart Radio, just look up Capitalist Sage on any of those and you should be able to find us.

Karl [00:3:49]: And if you want to keep up with some of the great episodes we’re going to do in 2020, definitely follow them, subscribe to them and please leave a comment and then we’d love to hear back from what people are thinking and give us an idea of the future guests.

Rico [00:04:03]: And if you want to watch the Facebook live stream or tell your friends, you could just like our Peachtree Corners Life page and it will be notified when we go live. In this year, one of the goals is to be able to put us on to do some limited LinkedIn live feeds and also to be on YouTube live as well.

Karl [00:04:21]: Fabulous. So we’re going to start off, when we started one of our first guests we had was Bonnie Mauldin from The Mauldin Group who talked to us about how small business owners can use social media marketing as part of their overall marketing and sales strategy in their in their business. And she shared a lot of great tips. One in particular that I know that I found interesting was the different platforms whether you’re on LinkedIn or Facebook or YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and others all serve different functions. They target a different audience and they have different features about them and knowing and understanding the right platform for your business is one of the key things.

Rico [00:05:10]: If you’re doing business to business, obviously at that one of her things were was LinkedIn with was the place to be. And if you doing consumer, Facebook, Instagram. I think we talked a little bit even about, maybe not Tick Tock, but some of the other software online social platforms out there. But every business has a demographic and market.

Karl [00:05:34]: Absolutely. And the other thing we took away from it where in the past you might have think it was an option for your small business. It’s no longer an option. If you know of anyone that has a mobile device, they’re probably communicating and getting information from their social media platform. And so it becomes really important to have really compelling stories being told through those platforms. So instead of advertising and promoting a product, we talked a lot about storytelling on information you’re sharing about problems or things that your customers want to know that would lead them to your site. They’re going to know it’s you when they come and visit it but really telling them about the problems and the choices they’re making and being more educational and teaching them is a key attribute of really good successful social media strategies.

Rico [00:06:30]: Right. Whether you’re using it as a behind-the-scenes tool where you showing what’s going on in your office or something. Or whether you’re giving tips on how to use a certain product, those were the things.

Karl [00:06:43]: Absolutely. And the last thing to note on that is definitely include a call to action. Once you get those people looking at your site and following you and you’re sharing information. They want to know what to do next. How to get more information. How to reach you, even how to make a purchase. So including a call to action on all your social media. Now some of you may be able to do this yourselves if you have the time, but if you don’t its really important that
you have a discussion with someone and seek out professionals that can help you with your social media strategy in your business and it’s really imperative for people that are looking to grow their business in 2020 to develop some strategy and invested social media,

Rico [00:07:23]: And be consistent in it and make sure you’re there. because if you’re not there your competition will be there.

Karl: [00:07:28] Absolutely.

Rico: [00:07:29] The next one in line was Wendy Kinney she talked about how referrals are different from sales.

Karl [00:07:36]: Absolutely. Effective networking, many people probably have the experience, I know I have, of going to networking meeting. It could be a local chamber. It could be a non-profit group, an industry group and passing out a lot of business cards in wondering why you’re not getting more business and referrals from them. And what was really great that Wendy was able to share, she’s a relationship marketing expert, she told us about the differences between a sales approach and how referrals are generated. And one of those differences is started with the timelines between the two being different. A sale is typically between someone selling and someone buying and it’s a direct line of communication and pretty often the impact of that is immediate either; Yes, they’re going to buy what you’re selling or no, they’re not. Referrals have a different timeline. They happen through a third person. So the sale that typically happen doesn’t happen until first a connection is made between the person that’s selling and the person that’s referring and you do that’s built around credibility that’s established getting to know the person and trusting with the person and really understanding what they’re doing. But that second person, the person that’s making referral, then is approaching their contact base. And when they give a referral to how you can help them by you educating that individual on what you do and how you do it and how you’re doing it differently. They have the ability to identify that need in other people and therefore pass on a referral that’s extremely credible because they know you and therefore would lead back to business for the originator.

Rico [00:09:21]: You know know what I liked out of that conversation was really clear to me that you don’t have to be going to BNI necessarily or any of the other networking groups, but you should be going to somewhere. To some organization whether it’s a Business Association, a chamber, a professional association. The whole idea is we go back to consistency like social media you have to be consistent same thing with that right, you have to be at those meetings on a regular basis.

Karl [00:09:48]: We recommend three types of associations. There’s over 21 different from anywhere from alumni groups from your colleges. It could be team sport. But in any one of the things that’s being consistent and establishing and getting to learn about the people that you’re referring so that you can refer them with confidence and understand what it is that they do that can help your clients. And the last thing that she mentioned that I thought was extremely
insightful that changes the way you think about it, is the first one that speaks about price wins. In most traditional sales approaches, you’re taught to talk about value first and price later. But in referral It’s important that the person the intermediary the person that’s, that you’re talking to that’s generating referral. We call them gate openers that they have to understand what your cost structure is. They have to understand the price so they could set the expectation with the client. So lots of great, great insights from Wendy and talking about effective relationship marketing through networking.

Rico [00:10:52]: Excellent Episode.

Karl [00:10:53]: The third one was Gary Birnberg and Gary had an interesting journey in this career from working in Corporate America to franchise ownership, so he told us a little bit about how he got into franchising and was able to develop that.

Rico [00:11:10]: He went to, he originally thought well while he was in college, he thought he could do this right. He thought he went to Subway has he thought that was great. It was great franchise. He needed an investment. He and everyone told him you were going to college. What are you going to do? And he thought no, no I can handle it. Don’t worry about it, but Subways was what he thought he wanted to do essentially a franchise of that nature systematic the process was what he was interested in. So then he ended up as he got older and did some other things he ended up going back to that idea.

Karl [00:11:44]: Absolutely. And later on he invested in another sandwich franchise Which Wich and what was interesting in his story is how he started with just one and he was able to build and acquire up to seven of them at a time. And most of that time he was actually working.

Rico [00:12:01] Actually eight stores.

Karl [00:12:02] Eight stores. He was actually working for the first four before he left Corporate America and went full time into that.

Rico [00:12:11]: Right so working, he was actually working in Corporate America for, till they got the fourth store because that was the agreement he made with his wife who was his partner also I understand. Because they want to make sure that health insurance and what they’re also be risk averse. Yeah, so imagine working for corporate America and owning four of these stores now by the time we got to that fourth one, he was like I think we’re ready.

Karl [00:12:37]: Yep and be able to jump off and he followed the full journey till it’s, till its end where he successfully was able to exit all eight of the stores.

Rico [00:12:48]: Yeah, and he ended up actually when he when they got to the end of the fourth store, they opened the other four stores within seven to nine months after.

Karl [00:13:00]: And we learned when you’re looking into any business especially ones that are franchise, driving processes was really the key of the way he was able to scale so quickly so quickly. Learning how to acquire stores, learning how to run stores, learning how to manage personnel, staff, budgets, payroll. He learned all of that, that help them be very successful.

Rico [00:13:21]: Yeah, and the process allowed him a cash flow and he expanded those extra four stores at the Talon out of the eight through cash flow.

Karl [00:13:28]: Yeah he did not have to take additional loans to do that.

Rico [00:13:31]: Now and he paid off his loans also as he went because the other ones were spare loans for those stores and it was a process.

Karl [00:13:37]: Absolutely. So it shows that it can be done with a really good plan and being able to drive and follow a process. If you’re going down that path of Entrepreneurship, you don’t have to start from scratch. There’s franchises out there that can help people be their own boss, but have a support of a network. Of the business model that it’s already been proven to work.

Rico [00:14:02]: The fun part for me was when I first met him was with his first store at The Forum here in Peachtree Corners. It was the only store he had and his plan was to open one a year until he had like 10 almost and he worked his plan. I mean that was he was systematic and he worked it.

Karl [00:14:20]: Absolutely. We also had the pleasure to talk to some folks that work in the nonprofit sector over the past year. And one of our guests that we’re so thankful for was Erin Igleheart who is a program manager with the Start Me Program Atlanta associated with Emory University and several other partners whose goal and focus was bringing entrepreneurship to underserved areas of Metro Atlanta. And the being associated with the university, they had some very smart people investigating what are some of the challenges a small micro business has faced to start and be successful. And they summed it into three main components of their finding which they’ve addressed through a startup bootcamp that the program does. The first one is access to Capital. That may seem obvious, getting Capital to start a business is really important but being prepared to get that Capital whether it’s through developing a sound business plan, which they also address through delivering knowledge to these entrepreneurs. Helping them with the business plan, who to talk to, how to understand the financials of their business, is a key knowledge area that they found was a challenge. But the thing that I thought that might have been under appreciated for a lot of small business owners was the aspect of networking. The mentors that they bring to bear with the entrepreneurs creates this powerful networks. It’s not only each cohort that comes through the program. They’ve had over 200 entrepreneurs launch through the program. They’ve established a huge network between them and the mentors that continually help them grow and improve their business over time. They can boast over 75% success rate with businesses that have gone through the program, which is much higher than the average for most small businesses.

Rico [00:16:27 ]: Oh my god yeah, most small businesses failed during the first three, four years and then the majority of them do that.

Karl [00:16:34]: And when you look back as to why they probably didn’t get the right mentorship. They didn’t have people that have gone down the path and made the mistakes that they’re making to help advise them. But also those mentors help hold them accountable if they say they’re going to do something, having a sit-down with somebody who has your best interest at heart and check in on you is a powerful tool that they use as part of this Start Me Program.

Rico [00:16:58]: And you know what I like, before we got on we were reviewing what we were going to be discussing and I remembered you saying it was a bit like Shark Tank. Right because you have networking available as well. You know, and in Shark Tank, you know, all of them had money it wasn’t the money. It was really the network, the people they had, the contacts.

Karl [00:17:19]: The knowledge and the connections that they could make to the community. So a really good reminder of finding mentors that you can work with that help guide you when you’re starting up and growing your business.

Rico [00:17:34]: I say shark tank, but it really is a much more friendlier route.

Karl [00:17:40]: Yeah, absolutely and we were blessed to have some of those entrepreneurs on other episodes as well. So that was great.

Rico [00:17:49]: So the next one that we had, a guest from the restaurant industry, food industry Cliff Bramble owner of Noble Fin and Hungry Hospitality. Which is a consulting company for restaurants. And I don’t know, to me you know, there were several things. I learned quite a few things actually. Cliff is very much into the food industry, but he always he through the conversations we had over that hour we discussed how it is a business regardless. Forget about the food part of it, business is a business is a business. And what drives business what’s the biggest thing in business is labor. Is those surprises that you get so labor was a big part that he discussed on how we handle the front and the back of the house.

Karl [00:18:37]: Understanding the numbers in the business, understanding sales and marketing and how that integrates to build your Revenue stream for the business is extremely important. But a lot of people want to go into the restaurant business it’s probably the number one request that we see from buyers. They want to do restaurant. But really it’s a tough business tough industry. You can be wildly successful, but you have to be able to run it like a business know your numbers know your input costs and really know how to Market, figure out who your customer is and how to how to do a good job satisfying them.

Rico [00:19:16]: Right and he even talked about like down to the nitty-gritty, the weeds of if you’re going to buy a restaurant. You know, what’s the important part? Well to him the important
part was the amount of covers how many people actually come in. Not necessarily the sales but how much turnover of those tables. That and also discussed a little bit about retention. How do you retain employees in that environment?

Karl [00:19:39]: Absolutely. High turnover industry, but driving a culture and training and having really good systems in place to train and develop people is one of the success factors that he identify for anybody out there that’s in the restaurant or thinking of being in the restaurant industry.

Rico [00:19:55]: And even more than when it comes to you know, if you’re a manufacturer of product if the products bad you can return it right? Food, if food is bad, you can’t quite return it the same way. You either get sick maybe. And so, you know, we discussed a little bit about the romaine lettuce callbacks ever happened through all of last year.

Karl [00:20:14]: And how do you react and how do you adapt to that to the menu items and really understand your supply base to support your business?

Rico [00:20:22]: And then the last thing I think also was for competition. Different from other places because restaurants, you would think it would be other restaurants competing into somebody. But he was also saying No, no, no, I compete against also Netflix, people want to stay home.

Karl [00:20:38]: You know gaming anything that draws entertainment time away and disposable income is a competitor to you know, a restaurant especially in the fine dining space. Our next guest or episode we wanted to talk about was the Small Business Development Center SBDC associated with University of Georgia and Glenn Kruse who came by and was sharing a valuable resource to the business community that exists here. The Small Business Development Center has offices all over Georgia. They’re affiliated with the university. So Georgia State University of Georgia, Kennesaw University and many others and they provide guidance and coaching to people looking to start business inclusive of developing a plan it. So really quickly some of the lessons that we shared, the first one being around having a plan. And the number one thing that he found that people that struggled with being successful in business was a failure to plan. They did not take the time to develop one a business plan that’s inclusive of a financial plan, a sales plan. And you would think why do I need this piece of paper what I’m going out there to run a business, but it’s really the process of planning that helps you identify some of the gaps. When are you going to need cash? How much cash are you going to need to be able to run the business successfully. Also there’s a lot that goes into understanding your competitors and the SBDC has tools available to them to help you understand your demographics of an area, the market, the competition so you can build a robust plan for not only the lenders that you might need to start your business, but also potential investors.

Rico [00:22:30]: Or even involving the idea that you had because now with those armed with that information I realized wow, maybe this isn’t quite where I need to be you may be able to adjust.

Karl [00:22:40]: Absolutely. Pivoting and knowing when to pivot in your business is another critical factor of success. But if you’re not constantly scanning the environment and understanding the threats, you may miss the opportunity to make a change before it’s too late for your business. But the last point that he mentioned was all about people. Hiring the right people onboarding them and developing them. Many businesses struggle and fail when they’re not able to find and keep and retain really good, especially if you’re in a service business, if you don’t understand if you’re in a service business, it’s about the people that you probably can’t be successful in it. And really exploring in your plans how are you going to attract and retain people from a compensation standpoint, from recruiting the right people, how do you identify what those people are? But all of those things are things that anybody in business start thinking about starting a business can get help with with the SBDC that’s located. You can go online and look up the Small Business Development Center in your area and schedule a time with any one of the Consultants. The number one thing you should know about them free service for people here. It’s paid by your tax dollars and the SBA grants from the SBA the Small Business Association for a part of the US government to help provide this to drive economic developments in communities. So free service to reach out to them and get that Consulting help if you need it.

Rico [00:24:13]: So where we’re at, close to the end of our time together, but I think we wanted to hit on certainly going into 2020 what we’ve learned.

Karl [00:24:23]: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Rico [00:24:25]: So I know what I’ve learned, but do you want to start?

Karl [00:24:28]: Sure thing. One of the things that I know that I took from last year was this emergence of social media and social media marketing and incorporating into your business. And I work in a traditional industry that helps business owners exit their business and a lot of the traditional marketing methods were, you know, meeting people face-to-face and people marketing and so on. But integrating Social media into that, posting on the right platform, forming relationships with your clients and prospects. I found to be really really effective way and I can say that throughout the year seen really great success and return on that investment in time and money into building out a social media strategy. For anyone that’s thinking about dabbling in it. You can absolutely do it yourself. You could get courses on it and learn and educate yourself, but if you don’t feel you have time to do that reach out to some of the many experts in that, that’s out there including Rico who can help many people with that and just have a conversation about how they could be more effective in bringing social media into their marketing mix.

Rico [00:25:44]: So even I’ve learned a bit from our guests because you always pick up these tidbits about social media, but because I’m in that business, I’d rather skew to something else I learned that I really, you know, I sort of knew but, you know getting to know Karl better, through the show, through this past year and doing these shows and offline. I learned a little bit more about what you want to do with your business? And that everyone, you know, you start a business is you’re passionate about you want to do it. Where are you going to go with it? How you going to expand it? Those are all good things to think about but then no one really thinks about the end result. Let’s not call it the end. But where do you want to take it at some point? What’s your exit plan? Do you want to retire? Do you want to get out of it do you want to downsize a little bit from what you’re doing? And I learned from Karl quite a bit about what I should be thinking about ahead of time and also from a recent guest that we had on as well. We had Corrie Thrasher that taught us a bit about the pitfalls of selling and buying a business. So what I learned from that was pretty much, you know positioning your company because different companies that do handle differently, right? And if you’re a small business like own a family restaurant or you have a small business of consulting and you’re the person that’s running it. It’s a different value and that value extend further when you sell it if you have a magazine like I do that magazine has it that with this an asset that but if you’re doing freelance work, which is also what I do. How’s that freelance work, that gig economy if you will, how is that value as a business? If I’m gone does that mean that business goes? So I Learned a lot between you and Corrie and a few other guests.

Karl [00:27:28]: Absolutely. David Wood came in and talked about financing and how to get your financial statements in there. And if there’s one thing going into 2020 that everyone should treat themselves to is to just think about their, take a step back, get an advisor or coach or someone that’s not working for you ideally, because you want someone that can give you honest feedback. And take a critical look at your business. Look at the financials see what other people would think about. Get evaluation done for your business and find out those gaps and weaknesses sooner than later when you are planning to exit the business or when you have time to do something and make those corrections and fixes sooner on.

Rico [00:28:14]: Like anything else in life, if you don’t plan ahead you’re going to get hurt later. So selling a business does not come, oh I want to sell it in a month. It doesn’t work that way. You need to plan this out a year or two years ahead to make sure that what your business is showing. And the way it’s budgeted and all that increases the value of your business. And that’s the value I find in when I speak to Karl about things like this. He points things out that I haven’t thought about now because my mind’s not there and certainly I may not have thought about even if my mind ended up there. But you do need to clean these things out and it’s more than a month or two. We really need to look at it forever.

Karl [00:28:52]: If there’s one thing that we tried to do in 2019 with the Capitalist Sage was bringing you people that are in the trenches doing this every day. We learned from people’s failures. We’ve learned from people’s success. But our goal is to share this information with as many people as we can and just get you thinking there’s plenty of people out there that can help
you with your business. But we want to make sure you at least get some information to help you think differently about your business so you can drive those improvements in 2020.

Rico [00:29:26]: You know, and you should also look at go back to our episodes and look forward to 2020 because we have really interesting guests that we didn’t cover here necessarily. Like Lentz Pean of Food Trucks Unlimited, just talking to him and just knowing about how other businesses operate to me is exciting because you sort of pick up little things that might help you in your business. And Micole and Musa, organic farming.

Karl [00:29:53]: The organic farming, zero chemical organic farming right here in the Metro, Atlanta. How scientists, two science educated individuals built the business using proven techniques to produce higher yields of organic vegetables using non, without using chemicals or any additives to their foods and they’re building a business for the family from that.

Rico [00:30:23]: So you think of organic farming but we were able to get into the weeds, so to speak, and to the Entomology and bug aspect of it and learned quite a bit about it. Which you know, I think went beyond just knowing about organic farming also understanding people’s passions in business.

Karl [00:30:40]: And how they were able to merge that. We’ve seen that in quite a few people, Laron Walker and technology and stem education, merging that with building IOT Technologies and teaching the high schooler’s how to code and program this stuff to fill the pipeline of technical talent we’re going to need over the next 20-30 years to do this. And so many great talented people here in the community that we were able to talk to. But in 2020 we’re going to continue our journey and we’re going to continue to find and bring you more great guests that come in and talk. One of the areas that I know I’m excited to get more into is the entertainment business. We had Beth Moore an entertainment attorney attorney that came and talked to us about protecting your creative content that you create. Whether it’s music, it could be stuff that you do on YouTube, even those crazy cat videos is content that you can have copyrighted and you can get paid if you join the right association with that. And as Georgia continues to explode with film, music, even advertising industry is becoming really large here. Lots of opportunity for business people, creative people to become smarter business people and build a business around it.

Rico [00:32:02]: All the peripheral businesses that come I mean, that’s why Walking Dead that’s when we became the Hollywood East of the industry. Because you have electricians, woodworkers, prop makers.

Karl [00:32:15]: Costume designers, artists that are there. But it’s really important to figure out how to protect your content so that you can you can monetize it. So 2020 one of the things that I want to explore more and going to find more business owners that are in this entertainment. I hear I know gaming is on my list of finding some folks that are in Esport businesses that are
growing in popularity. Everything from artistic, music, creative producers. All of these businesses are just absolutely fascinating to understand the business side of that industry.

Rico [00:32:54]: So that’s one and that’s a big part of a thing I’m interested totally in that and learning a bit more about the entertainment industry. But also I think we’re going to be looking at makers as well. That’s a word phrase that’s being used for people that create, Artisans that create product within their own backyard if you will or garage or basement as it might be. And they’re creating products that are being sold on places like Etsy, online e-commerce sites, Amazon, a variety of places. It’s taking the gig economy on Acceleration because you could be making quite a bit of money and being a neighborhood that no one’s even aware that you’re there.

Karl [00:33:36]: Absolutely. I love how things come full circle from mass production assembly line and things are now becoming popular where people are building and using their talents to build things as home based businesses, but with the immersion of e-commerce and shipping and logistics, someone could make a business from their home and be quite profitable and successful. It’s one of the most popular businesses we get requests for people looking to buy business are home base e-commerce businesses. And if your maker and you’re able to make things, find creative ways to make things extremely great industry to be in and in the future. So we’re going to look to talk to some more people that are doing that as well.

Rico [00:34:21]: And if you have any suggestions, you know, feel free to first off if you’re listening to this on iTunes or any of the podcast sites, leave a review give us whatever that review might be two stars, five stars any review is a good review because this way people will be more easily find out. But feel free to suggest topics or companies or individuals that might be interesting that we could get good sage advice and be able to share that with our listeners and viewers.

Karl [00:34:53]: So as 2020 is starting off this year. We just want to thank all of our guests that have joined us on this journey and shared their wisdom. There’s more to come in 2020. We’re really excited to be able to host a podcast here at Atlanta Tech Park, a great location for not only just podcasting but just interacting with the economic engine for this part of the county Peachtree Corners from technology, to Beauty, to food all of these different types of businesses is what form this community. And so we’re just blessed to have the support of the local business Community here. All the Chamber of the Southwest Chamber of Commerce the Peachtree Corners Business Association and many others have been great partners and guests on our podcast. And we want to make sure that we are responsive to the business Community that’s here and that they have information that’s targeted for them and that can help them improve their business. So with that I’m Karl Barham with TransWorld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Our business advisors are available to consult with you on your business, help you figure out strategies to grow, increase the value of the business. And at this time of year when you start making goals and so on, it’s a great time to chat with someone about what your plan is for your business, your exit plan, how you want to increase the value. We consult with our
business owners in the community and help them with that and if they’re ready to sell the business or ready to buy we can help them with that as well. So I can be reached at www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree or you can email me at KBarham@T world.com if we could ever help.

Rico [00:36:49]: And my name is Rico Figliolini, I do several things. I’m the publisher of Peachtree Corners magazine. Feel free to find that publication in print anywhere in the City and if you live in the city you should be getting it in your mailbox. We hit every household. Otherwise, feel free to go online at LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com and you can find our digital Edition there along with weekly postings, daily postings of things going on in this city. You’ll also find our podcast listings there, both for Capitalist Sage, Peachtree Corners Life and Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager, along with the Ed Hour which is an educational podcast that we do. And you can go MightyRockets.com, I do video projects, social media content work, anything along the digital and online area that needs to be done in a consistent fashion. I can help you there.

Karl [00:37:43]: Okay, well, I just want to thank everybody again and have a Happy New Year for everybody and thank you for joining us on this bonus episode. Thank you, of the Capitalist Sage.

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Business

Gwinnett study to establish redevelopment plan of Gwinnett Place Mall

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The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners last week agreed to a funding agreement with the Gwinnett Place CID for a Livable Centers Initiative study of the Gwinnett Place Mall site and surrounding areas. The Community Improvement District has contracted with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc., to conduct the study.

The LCI study will establish a plan to guide the redevelopment of the Gwinnett Place Mall area. It will consist of public outreach, strategic development and preparation of final deliverables.

The LCI grant helps cities and communities with plans to connect residents to activities by walking and bike trails. The hope is to ease traffic on roadways.

The study is estimated to cost $275,000.00. The Atlanta Regional Commission awarded the Gwinnett Place CID an LCI grant for $220,000, with the estimated local match of $55,000 being split between the CID and the County. Each party’s share of the local match will be reduced equally should the total study cost less than estimated. 

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Gwinnett Partnership, It’s Influence, What Trends they See, and Resources to Empower Businesses [Podcast]

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Partnership Gwinnett is the economic development initiative behind some of the most exciting business ventures that have started or relocated to Peachtree Corners. Brian Dorelus, project manager with Partnership Gwinnett, is our guest on today’s episode of the Capitalist Sage. Join Karl Karham, Rico Figliolini, and Brian, as they discuss what exactly Partnership Gwinnett is and does for business in our community.

Resources:

Website: https://www.partnershipgwinnett.com
Brain’s Email: BDorelus@ParntershipGwinnett.com

Timestamp:

[00:00:30] – Opening
[00:02:14] – About Brian and Partnership Gwinnett
[00:03:29] – How Partnership Gwinnett helps Businesses
[00:04:34] – Why Businesses Choose Gwinnett
[00:05:47] – Industries that are Thriving
[00:06:59] – Activity in Peachtree Corners
[00:08:12] – Bringing Startups to Peachtree Corners
[00:15:02] – Resources that Partnership Gwinnett Provides
[00:22:12] – Closing

“Partnership Gwinnett is the economic development agency for Gwinnett County. So it’s our job and our privilege to wake up every single day to recruit, retain, and expand industries in our five target sectors… And so what we do every day is just provide resources and be a one-stop shop for companies big and small, so they could continue to grow in our community.”

Brian Dorelus

Podcast Transcript

[00:00:30] Karl: Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors, and my co-host is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets, Digital Marketing, and the publisher of the Peachtree Corner Magazine. Hey Rico, how are you doing today?

Brian Dorelus

[00:00:48] Rico: Hey Karl, great. Looking forward to this interview right now with Brian.

[00:00:53] Karl: Absolutely. We’re going to talk about what Partnership Gwinnett can do for businesses locally here in Gwinnett county, and Georgia overall. But let’s talk a little bit about our sponsors today.

[00:01:04] Rico: Sure. So Peachtree Corners Magazine is supporting this podcast along with the family podcasts that we do. And we just put our last issue to the printer. It’s coming out in about two days. So keep an eye out for it. Go to LivinginPeachtreeCorners.com and you’ll see the digital version of that print edition that will be coming out this week.

[00:01:24] Karl: Fabulous. Great job with the Peachtree Corner Magazine. Lots of great articles in there, keeping up with what’s going on locally. So I really appreciate all that information that’s shared through that. Today we are going to talk about what Partnership Gwinnett, one of the organizations within Gwinnett county can do to help business owners, large and small. Help drive economic development within the community. Today I’m honored to have Brian Dorelus, who is a project manager with Partnership Gwinnett to talk a little bit about some of the mission of the organization, some of the successes and some of the things, resources that are available to business owners to help them with their businesses. Hey, Brian, how are you doing today?

[00:02:09] Brian: Doing good. Just trying to stay dry in today’s rainy weather, but doing good.

[00:02:14] Karl: Absolutely. No, I appreciate you joining us today. Why don’t you start by introducing yourself to our audience and tell a little bit about yourself and what you do with Partnership Gwinnett.

[00:02:25] Brian: Of course. Thank you. So once again, my name is Brian Dorelus. I’m the project manager for technology and life science with a focus and concentration in entrepreneurs and small business here at Partnership Gwinnett. And Partnership Gwinnett for those of you who might not know is the economic development agency for Gwinnett County. So it’s our job and our privilege to wake up every single day to recruit, retain, and expand industries in our five target sectors. And then as I mentioned, I lead the initiatives for technology and life science, but my counterpart leads the manufacturing and supply chain sector. And our leadership leads the kind of bigger corporate headquarters relocation projects. And so what we do every day is just provide resources and be a one-stop shop for companies big and small, so they could continue to grow in our community. And then prior to this, I was actually a Peace Corps Volunteer at the Republic of Moldova doing very similar work. Doing economic activities with a local mayor focusing on infrastructure and capacity building with the local village that I was stationed at.

[00:03:29] Karl: Oh, that’s fabulous. I’m going to jump in with the first question and thanks for the introduction for Partnership Gwinnett. Can you describe a little bit about how you work with business owners? And I would also guess some of the other city economic development departments, to help support thriving businesses in our communities.

[00:03:48] Brian: Yeah, definitely. So one thing we do is we try to give a concierge level service to businesses and companies in our communities, within our 16 cities. So typically on average day I work with the local economic development managers or city managers in each one of our beloved cities. And just hear about some of the issues that some of our businesses, large and small, are facing and trying to connect them with resources that typically they might not be aware of. And one of the good things about Partnership Gwinnett, is that all of our services are free and complimentary. So if you’re looking for research data, or looking to get connected, or even needing help with business plans or getting exposure. If we can’t do it, it’s our job to hunt down a person who can do it for you.

[00:04:34] Karl: I’m curious, when you think about Metro Atlanta and Gwinnett County, what’s the selling point for businesses to come and thrive here in this community? What have you found to be some of the things that really attract large and small businesses to Gwinnett?

[00:04:50] Brian: I think typically we have some, big pieces of infrastructure and systems in place that make businesses thrive. One obviously being the airport. Being the busiest airport and being two hours flight from all major airports, it really helps the interconnectivity between us locally and internationally, between places of business. But on a more maybe personal and cultural aspect, one thing that Georgia has and in Atlanta that really stands apart is that we are just pro-business and a friendly environment. Ironically, I had a lunch with a couple of international prospects. They literally said the first thing they said that to other international companies is that Georgia is nice. Which you would think is a weird selling point. But I would say as a community, we really have thrived because we’ve worked together really well with other partners within our community, within our cities, and across the Metro Atlanta region.

[00:05:47] Karl: So, when you think about Atlanta and how it’s grown since the Olympics over the last 20 odd, 20 plus years, where do you see industries that are really starting to thrive in the Metro Atlanta region?

[00:06:01] Brian: Just a little more about my background, I went to Georgia State University downtown. I was able and fortunate to see that growth happening almost before my eyes. And so some of the industries that just appeared and blossomed, we can’t talk about Atlanta without talking about FinTech. The financial technical center, it’s called the FinTech capital of the world, just because there’s so many FinTech companies located here. So when you think about entertainment, FinTech, conjoining with the tech ecosystem here, it just became a natural boom. Because I guess before, if you look at Georgia and in Metro Atlanta, we was a huge manufacturing sector. And we still are. When you think of Georgia, you cannot not highlight some of the manufacturing pieces. But within the past 20 years, you’ve just seen a huge boom and kind of major corporations coming to find that talent for that tech pieces and engaging the new generation. With just the amount of startups that are appearing and them just engaging into the market.

[00:06:59] Karl: So I know locally here in Peachtree Corners, Atlanta Tech Park, and in this area there’s been a thriving tech community that’s been developing here. Can you tell us a little bit about some of the past and current activity you’re seeing in this part of town?

[00:07:17] Brian: Yeah, definitely. One thing Peachtree Corners has done really well, is really brand themselves as a city of the future. And a city to engage the technology, not existing today, but existing or will be in a market 10, 15 years from now. So when you think about Peachtree Corners in particular, and some success stories, they’ve branded themselves as I mentioned that city of the future by engaging with that 5g technology or the internet of things. Which is the interconnection between everyday appliance into the interweb. And just because they have made themselves the centerpiece and the tip of the spear in that, now companies are searching and looking to be a part of just kind of the platform and the energy here. And that’s not even talking about that autonomous vehicle track that’s been deployed in Peachtree Corners and what they’re doing with electric vehicles and self-driving cars.

[00:08:12] Karl: Yeah. I know that we’ve heard an announcement about a company that’s really expanding in the surgical, medical space here. Can you share with us just a little bit about that and how does something like that come about? And what role does Partnership Gwinnett play in helping make things like that happen?

[00:08:29] Brian: Yeah, definitely. We were brought in very early into their project as the company Intuitive Surgical was looking to expand and grow. And for those who might not be familiar, Intuitive Surgical is the creator of the DaVinci robot. The small robot that does surgery on individuals. And I’m not gonna lie, I will be the first to admit that I was hesitant to think about having someone perform surgery on me that isn’t a human body. But once you’ve seen the application and seen the success rate and seen what they’ve developed. You just wouldn’t go back to human hands. And so Partnership Gwinnett, in collaboration with the local city administration in Peachtree Corners, and then with our state partners all worked together, hand by hand. And kind of stepping forward, of bringing the company here. And just kind of doing what we do every day, is telling the story of Atlanta and Gwinnett County. Explaining that the workforce here, one thing that’s great about Metro Atlanta, is that we actually graduate more engineers than any other region. So telling them about the great work that’s done at Georgia Tech and Georgia State and Kennesaw, and SCAD. And then combined that with the quality of life then a few corners in the, some, the other innovation hub across the street, across Wynette county, it was a no brainer. And, we really just work well with our community partners, with the local administration. And we brought all the resources kind of bundled together and made a compelling case that, eventually, they decided that this is where they want to be their new home. So it was our team in congruence with everybody else. And we worked hard for this past summer to land a plane. And we’re proud to say that they’ve opened and it’s one of the largest projects in Gwinnett County history.

[00:10:05] Karl: Wow. That’s fabulous, the work that’s being done and seeing so many people playing a role, working together to make that happen. If I could ask a little bit around your area of specialty, when you think of startup companies, technology companies, and so on. What are some of the things that you see that can help bring more of that? How does that work to get more of that ecosystem developed here in greater Atlanta and Gwinnett County in specific.

[00:10:33] Brian: I think when people typically think of startups, there’s a little divide and there’s a lot of misconceptions on what startups will need and what they’re looking for. And the first thing that startups themselves and other people sometimes get wrong. Is that they’re looking for capital, they’re looking for funding. And everybody’s looking for funding. But one thing that we have here in Atlanta that really pushes the needle for these startups to grow is something that I mentioned earlier, it’s that just the interconnectedness between all parties and that mentorship and exposure. We’re in an ecosystem where generally speaking it’s pretty close knit. Even from Gwinnett to Atlanta or from Gwinnett to our community partners. It’s a small knit community where transportation time isn’t that far. And so when talking to these startups thinking about relocating or growing, we just tell him like, Hey, this is an area where innovation is booming fast. Innovation comes from areas where there is a problem and there’s someone looking to solve. And Gwinnett County has set themselves apart, being that problem solution for a lot of the world societal problems. And so these startups, they come here and they find a lot of success and become leaders very quickly because of that.

[00:11:42] Karl: Can you tell us a little bit about any specific startup that you’re watching, some exciting stuff that’s going on? Just to give people a feel of the activity that’s happening here.

[00:11:54] Brian: I could tell about some startups, but even some innovation hubs that we have where these startups are breeding. If we’re looking back on in your neck of the neighborhoods in Peachtree Corners, there’s a lot of startups that are focusing on 5g and cyber security. And one of them that their common conversation is Smart Eye Technology using that retina scanning to scan for security purposes for documents or providing cybersecurity solutions to municipalities. And especially with security and data breaches being something that was talked about maybe 10 years ago, but now being a necessity, these companies, these startups are becoming the face of what it means to protect yourselves in a new digital age. Kind of as you go up Gwinnett County, you have the water tower, which is a water innovation hub. Innovation hub, actually more of an innovation campus, if you really think about it. It’s an area built solely for the innovation of water development technologies and water workforce. And there’s just so many exciting water startups there from providing clean water to the masses using hydro stations that could tell you, not only the level of certainty how clean it is, but pull data about your current water usage and scan for that. To even some startups working on trying to gather water from solar panels. And then if you kind move across from the water tower, up north all the way up through 16 is kind of the biggest and largest innovation hub, which is called Rowan. Recently in Gwinnett county just purchased 2000 acres to build this kind of life science community. Life science community focusing solely on renewable energy. That life, science, and agriculture. And you can most accurately think about it as like adjacent or something very similar to what you see at the Research Triangle Park. And there’s something so similar that we’ve actually hired the COO of Research Triangle Park to run the Rowan foundation, to lead to that development. And so while the development is still ongoing, since it’s such a massive project for Gwinnett County, we’ve just engaged a lot of startups and larger corporations.

[00:13:55] Karl: Gotcha. I’m curious when you’re talking about some of these innovation hubs and so on, what are some of the things that make us more attractive than other cities around them? What infrastructure is in place that entrepreneurs and tech folks can come to Gwinnett County and leverage?

[00:14:13] Brian: One of them is just the level of service that we offer here at Partnership Gwinnett. As I mentioned a little briefly, we like to call ourselves, community connectors. So they’re kind of, the one-stop shop. So we have partners at score or SBDC or SBA and ACE capital who are willing to sit down with these entrepreneurs on one-on-one, and give them that service and that training they need to find capital. To find exposure, to find that mentorship that could really take them to the next level. But also we’ve got some, a lot of resources just around a region that provides that same level of service at very little to no cost. And one thing that’s, the best thing about Gwinnett that’s also sometimes may be the worst thing about Gwinnett, is that it’s so big that entrepreneurs don’t know where to go. And so we could help them point to that direction.

[00:15:02] Karl: Now I wanted to talk a little bit of specific resources. So if I’m thinking of starting a business, whether I’m a CEO of a large company looking to expand into the Southeast, or I’m a tech company, that’s looking to establish operations here locally, what are some of the specific resources and tools you have that I can come to and get help with that most people may not know about?

[00:15:25] Brian: And if you, as a small business, I would actually first you come to me as the, kind of the first level of inquiry, just get some general questions. And then what we’ll do from that process is kind of. direct you to the next staff. And you could think about this as almost as stages. So first the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce would be the first step, just to network. The community here and all the businesses that’s under that umbrella can really help you brandish yourself and find the market that you’re looking for. And then after that, we’ll probably divert you to Score. Which is an organization built from volunteers to help you with your business plan. To help you figure out what your target market is, what’s your SWAT analysis, who are you trying to aim for and kind of really solidify and drill down your kind of needs for your business. And then depending on your type of business and depending on if you’re a startup, we also have an Angel Investment Network. Where, similar to what Shark Tank has become, you can apply and pitch to Angel investors who are looking desperately trying to invest in startups in the region. To kind of find that next unicorn status startup. So there’s just a bunch of resources here between a lot of the agencies here that can really help you go to the next level.

[00:16:40] Karl: What if I’m a large company and I wanted to move here locally? What are some of the tools and resources available for people that are helping with that type of search?

[00:16:49] Brian: Well, if you’re a large company, the first thing you’re looking for is space. Where am I going to have my production facility? Where am I going to house my employees? Even though you might be an office, there’s the trend of working from home. You want a place where you can build that company and culture. And so one of the things we do is connect you with, well first find a property that kind of fits the parameters of your needs and connect you with our network of brokers. And then after that, pull some data and research into, where’s the best place for you? Are you looking for somewhere close to the airport or close to a major interstate? Or are you looking for a place where the city is, has a lively festival culture? And so we really work hand in hand to make sure that we find a facility for you. And then after that we pull research, we pull our state partners to help with the tax incentives that companies all often qualify for creating new jobs in our region and putting in capital investment. And then after we kind of helped you relocate you, your company, your employees, and their families. We like to do a grand opening and press release to kind of welcome you in the community. And we’ve seen some press releases that have gone and grand openings that are just minuscule. They just want to let the community know they’re here. And then we’ve also seen ones that want to do a whole festival. They want to have a ferris wheel and a barbecue. And what we try to do is have the elected officials, key stakeholders, people in the community that fits the needs and people that you want to get in front of, all at your grand opening. Just to show that the community is here for you. And then after that, it’s not after you’ve landed that we’re just done with you. One thing we always say is that one of the good things about us, that once you find us, we’re always going to be contacting you. So you then after kind of move into our retention program, where we have our director for business retention and expansion kind of keep our eye on you. Do checkups and just make sure that you’re growing and expanding. One of the services that we offer of course, is helping with permitting needs. So if you’re a company here located and you have some permitting concerns, or it’s just trouble getting someone in contact, or you need a Fire Marshall to do a quick survey of your building, we can help facilitate and expedite that process for you.

[00:19:03] Karl: If there was one thing that you, from your perspective, would really leapfrog Gwinnett County into the clear leader for companies of all sorts. What kind of infrastructure improvement would you say would need to be here, put in place so we could develop over the next five to 10 years to really become that easy decision for businesses to come and play here?

[00:19:29] Brian: It would be hard to say, because I feel like a lot of the things that Gwinnett County is already working on. So one thing typically that we’ve talked about internally in our offices, that quality of life piece. But one thing Gwinnett County it’s already one step ahead of me. Is that, you know, one thing of our 16 cities is all of them are developing their downtown area. Downtown Suwanee is very different than downtown Peachtree Corners or downtown Norcross or downtown Lawrenceville. But they all have bubbly activity. And it’s those little key pieces that are really important to the companies that are relocating. Because you have to remember, they are people too. These companies are comprised of people and of employees. And after work, they also want to unbutton their shirt and grab a beer or go to a beer garden. So just having a community that has activities, not only for the older generation, but even for the millennial generation as well. So for them to build their families. And Gwinnett County has led the way in developing that. So I would say, as for Gwinnett County it has continued to grow, we have almost a million people as a population is just to further develop. And redevelop. Which has become a huge thing in economic development, it’s redevelopment. And it’s something Partnership Gwinnett has now taken a role into is redeveloping old areas that have been long forgotten and making those areas of attraction and beauty and entertainment. Where family meets, and friends, and coworkers, and millennials, all alike can kind of enjoy the services.

[00:20:58] Karl: You know, reinvention is always a key part of rebirth. Reinvention, being able to do that. I’m curious, Brian, is there anything coming up that, what are you working on? What are some of the things that are coming up where people can engage in the community around Partnership Gwinnett?

[00:21:14] Brian: Yeah, definitely. One thing that I’ve been working on with my team is how to provide more resources to entrepreneurs. There seems to be a little bit of a gap between small and medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs to the larger corporations. So one thing that we’re working on is how to bridge that gap. How to match make where, a small business can apply to be a subcontractor for a larger company and incorporation. And see, that’s the thing that we’re hoping to try to roll out as a program or a database where larger corporations, not only in Gwinnett County but in general, a large corporation can have our RFI and these small businesses could apply. Can go to the website, apply, and to be awarded I guess a small subcontract work where they could work and kind of bridge the gap. As one thing, working in technology innovation is, innovation definitely comes from within. And it also comes with collaboration with other partners. So we’re actively looking at different ways and methods for that to happen.

[00:22:12] Karl: Oh, fabulous. Well, Brian, I want to thank you. How can people reach you? If they wanted to reach you, what’s the best way to contact you?

[00:22:19] Brian: Yes. Best way to contact me is go on our website, www.PartnershipGwinnett.com, going to teams and under my profile of Brian Dorelus. Or you can go on LinkedIn and reach me there. Or you can reach me by email at BDorelus@ParntershipGwinnett.com.

[00:22:38] Karl: Oh, that’s fabulous. Well, you know what, I want to thank you, Brian. For everybody that is joining us midway, this is Brian Dorelus of Partnership Gwinnett. Sharing some of the exciting things that are happening here in Gwinnett County, and Metro Atlanta, and here in Georgia. From on the small side entrepreneurs, startup community, the resources and the help that they’re bringing to the local cities as well as business owners. But also how they’re bringing large companies into the areas, working collaboratively, across many different stakeholders to make those things happen. Thank you so much for sharing some of the insight and introducing yourself to the local business community. Thank you, Brian. Thank you very much. And I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Our business advisors are available to help consult business owners, connect them to folks like Brian and other people in economic development. And if you’re looking for real estate, commercial real estate, et cetera, we have a network of folks that can help people. And also if you’re looking at planning for your business growth through acquisition, if you’re looking at doing something else, we help with business sales and business exiting planning. If you want to contact me, you can reach me at KBarham@TWorld.com. Or visit our website, www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. We’re here in the community to help. Rico, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you’ve got coming up?

[00:24:04] Rico: Sure. Sorry about, I’ve been acting more as an engineer on this episode than anything else. But we just went to press with the printer in Monroe, Georgia. To do a shout out to Walton Press. They do a great job of printing the publication. We’re at 88 pages this issue, the largest issue we’ve had since we started over two years ago. Lots of stuff in it. And the lead feature story is actually about the people that run the day-to-day activities, the five department heads of the city of Peachtree Corners. So it highlights them. Also, Judy Putnam is profiled in there. She’s the communications director who’s retiring. And we have a new communications director that will be taken over shortly. And a lot of other stories in there along with photographs from Peachtree Corners Photography Club. They did a great fall-ish photo spread for us. And it’s also the pet issue. So lots of pet pictures and the end of the giveaway that we’ve run for the last four or five weeks. So check that out and you can actually see the digital edition online at LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com. Other than that, Mighty Rockets is my company as well. A publisher of Peachtree Corners Magazine, the purveyor of these podcasts and other marketing and product videos that we do for clients. So check that out. And if you need to reach me, it’s Rico Figliolini on LinkedIn. You can get me there. I’m probably the only Figliolini short of two others that are my siblings, if you find them. So Figliolini just checked that out and you can reach me.

[00:25:32] Karl: And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, if you want to keep up with what’s going on locally, multiple ways to follow us. Follow us on Facebook. What are some of the other ways that folks can hear the podcast and follow what’s going on locally?

[00:25:46] Rico: Sure. So the video podcast, if you go to Peachtree Corners Life on Facebook or the Capitalist Sage on Facebook, there’ll be streams. We always stream those as a simulcast live stream. Search YouTube channel for Peachtree Corners Life. You can subscribe there and you’ll get notified when we go live on the simulcasts. And if you’re looking to audio podcasts, anywhere that you find the podcast, right? I Heart Radio, Spotify, Apple. Anywhere that you find audio podcasts, you can find us. Just Google the Capitalist Sage Podcast and you’ll pick up all sorts of resources that way.

[00:26:19] Karl: Absolutely. Thank you for that. And the last thing I’ll mention, if you have ideas for stories and articles, is there a way for folks to send that in to you Rico?

[00:26:29] Rico: Great, great question. Thank you. You can send any story, any ideas that you have suggestions to Editor@LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com. And if you’re thinking it’s going to be a great subject matter for the Capitalist Sage Podcast, certainly reach out to that email as well. And we’ll be able to talk to you a bit about that. And quite frankly, let me do this as well. If you’re looking to advertise or be a sponsor of the family of podcasts that we do, which includes the Capitalist Sage, Peachtree Corners Life and Prime Lunchtime with the City Manager, which is a monthly podcast, reach out to me at Editor@LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com.

[00:27:08] Karl: Excellent. How many homes do you reach currently with the magazine?

[00:27:11] Rico: We mailed 19,700 homes, households, get the magazine. And then another 1200 out to about a hundred locations.

[00:27:20] Karl: Lots of reach there.

[00:27:22] Rico: Oh, for sure. And more online because of the digital edition as well. And the weekly newsletters and website and all that, sure.

[00:27:30] Karl: Absolutely. Well, Rico, thank you very much. And for everybody that joined us today, thank you for supporting and watching the Capitalist Sage. We’re going to continue to have great topics for business owners and for people in the community. Let’s talk about business. Well everyone have a great day. Take care.

[00:27:46] Rico: Take care guys.

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Business

French-American Chamber of Commerce Moves In and Brings More Opportunities to Curiosity Lab

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Pictured (left to right): Bertrand Lapoire, VP FACC-Atlanta, Michael Gerebtzoff, Consul General of Belgium, Consulate General of Belgium in Atlanta, Kirk Duguid, Acting Consul General, Consulate General of Canada in SE, Mayor Mike Mason, Vincent Hommeril, Consul General of France, Consulate General of France in Atlanta, John Parkerson, Honorary Consul General & Foreign Economic Counselor of Hungary, Julie Lambotte, Executive Director FACC-Atlanta & Office Manager, French Tech Atlanta, City Manager Brian Johnson

Photos by Jason Getz– Instagram @jasongetz11

A bold initiative involving the French government and its newly unveiled technology consortium, the city of Peachtree Corners and its Curiosity Lab has been launched.

About 100 officials and community members were on hand for a recent ribbon-cutting celebrating the French-American Chamber of Commerce’s move from former offices in the Atlanta French Consulate to the Peachtree Corners lab, where it’s expected to play a key role in helping French technology firms relocate and expand here.

As La French Tech Atlanta President Sebastian Lafon put it, the move will “enable French startups to collaborate with many innovators and prove out their technology in a unique and live environment with real city-owned connected infrastructure that can’t be replicated in a laboratory.”

La French Tech Atlanta is an alliance of start-ups, investors, executives and community builders which is expected to work with the city in helping French firms develop technology in the Lab’s innovative testing environment as they seek to grow their North American footprints. The Atlanta outpost of the consortium was awarded accreditation by the French government in April.

September 9, 2021 – Peachtree Corners, Ga: The French-American Chamber of Commerce moves to Curiosity Lab Thursday, September 9, 2021, in Peachtree Corners, Ga.. PHOTO / JASON GETZ

Member of an exclusive club

City Manager Brian Johnson, who attended the ceremony, said the Corners joins a rather exclusive club, as French officials chose only a half-dozen spots in the U.S. for the venture. Other La French Tech programs have landed in such places as Austin, Texas and North Carolina’s Research Triangle.

Speaking on the “Primetime Lunchtime” Podcast, Johnson said, “It was a competitive process, and we threw our hat in the ring.” He added that officials not only leveraged the technology testing environment of the Curiosity Lab, but also pitched metro Atlanta and Georgia’s advantages as well, including state economic development incentives and the availability of such institutions as Georgia Tech as a resource.

Mayor Mike Mason, who was also on hand, said the initiative will be a signature resource for French firms looking to launch products in the U.S. with its laser focus on smart city technology, intelligent mobility and self-directed vehicles. That seems a hand-in-glove fit with the Curiosity Lab, which encourages companies of all sizes to test and deploy technology using such amenities as a three-mile autonomous vehicle test track.

Mason said a related hallmark of the lab is its ability to create partnerships with private firms and other entities, with more than a dozen current research projects underway there.

“Curiosity Lab has been influential in convincing several large companies to locate here. The old axiom of economic development is that activity creates more activity. This is a real plum for us.”

French business opportunities

Although no French tech firms have made commitments to work with the associated partners yet, French-American Chamber Atlanta Executive Director Julie Lambotte feels that day is coming.

“We are in discussion with a few companies, but there’s nothing definitive yet,” she said, adding that agriculture tech companies and various technology service providers are on the ‘possibles’ list.

The start-ups they’re looking to incubate at the lab complex will join an already respectable list of French firms doing business in the Peach State, Lambotte said. Some 254 firms from the European nation have already set up shop in Georgia, 135 of them in Metro Atlanta, she said. Lambotte noted that those firms are responsible for more than 18,000 jobs.

She indicated that building awareness of Atlanta and its suite of economic offerings among her countrymen has been challenging. “You probably noticed that when you talk to a French person, it’s not the first destination you have in mind when you talk about moving to the U.S. What we are trying to do with the chamber and La French Tech is to put Atlanta on the map,” Lambotte said.

And it’s not just the French who are sniffing around. Mason said that officials from other consulates such as Belgium and Canada attended the ribbon-cutting and officials from Germany and India want to tour the place.

Johnson said “portals” like these create possibilities that wouldn’t have existed otherwise and that the river can run both ways, with American companies establishing partnerships with French firms or perhaps opening facilities in that country.

“The sky is the limit right now,” Johnson said.

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