One of the factors that lured Wipro Technologies to Atlanta was the city’s low cost of doing business.
When the Indian tech giant opened its software development center in Buckhead last year, the city’s economic development arm helped make the investment even cheaper.
For each job created up to 1,000, the Atlanta Development Authority pledged to provide $1,000 in grant money, an incentive package worth up to $1 million. If Wipro continues to meet its employment targets, all of that money will be doled out by this summer.
Some incentives may not be as “glamorous” as a million bucks, but “anything to really cut down time and cost” helps companies during the relocation process, and helping them succeed means more jobs for Atlantans, said Danielle Fernandes, the authority’s project manager of business engagement.
Unlike Wipro, many global firms are unaware of the wide variety of programs that can ease their transitions to the U.S., including tax-allocation districts, loans, lease-purchase bonds, special real-estate zones and others, she said.
She cited the misconceptions on real estate costs. Bank of America Plaza, Atlanta’s tallest building, sits on prime real estate in Midtown, but incentives in that area mean that space in the building might not be as pricey as it seems.
“A lot of people think ‘city’ and they think ‘more expensive,’ but that’s not necessarily the case,” Ms. Fernandes said.
During a quarterly seminar June 2, the development authority invited local diplomats and bi-national chamber leaders to the “Invest Atlanta International Open House.” The goal was to teach them how to do business with the city and enable them to share the information with inbound business delegations, Ms. Fernandes said.
“It just made sense. This was one of the communities that we have not yet reached, and we needed to,” she told GlobalAtlanta.
Leaders from the local government offices of Japan, Taiwan and the Canadian province of Quebec were on hand, as were chamber and incubator officials with ties to France, Israel, the Netherlands and other countries. The Metro Atlanta Chamber and CIFAL Atlanta also were represented.
The event was “good followup” to several trade missions in which the development authority has participated in the past year, Ms. Fernandes said.
In the past year, the authority has promoted Atlanta’s aerospace industry in Dubai, life sciences initiatives in India, and high-tech enterprises in Israel. Last November, it took control of the Atlanta Advisory Council on International Relations. Formerly operating under the Atlanta City Council, the council brings together the many international organizations working separately to attract tourists and companies.
It has 19 member organizations, including the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, Georgia Council for International Visitors, CIFAL Atlanta, Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission, universities, community advocacy groups and others.