Cherokee bests national average for innovation

For the second consecutive year, Cherokee County has been identified as having an Innovation Economy. Cherokee is one of the five Georgia counties to have bested the national average on the Innovation Index, according to a report released by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, and Oconee counties were the other four recognized. The average is taken from the Innovation Index which is based on data compiled and sponsored in part by the U.S. Commerce Department.

According to the State of the Industry: Technology in Georgia TAG report, “Cherokee’s innovation economy is powered by an educated workforce with nearly 38% holding bachelor’s degrees or higher.” Human capital, economic dynamic, productivity & employment, and economic well-being were the four components used in calculating the community’s innovation capacity. “Our skilled workforce is a constant strength in attracting new companies to Cherokee,” said Marshall Day, Cherokee Office of Economic Development (COED) Chairman. In the recent Opportunity Cherokee strategic planning process, five target sectors were identified as having high growth potential in the county, these include Advanced Manufacturing, Commercial Developers, Film & Media, Corporate Operations and Information Technology. “Having a primed talent pool for these companies is an invaluable asset as we move forward in our goal of being an attractive location for the tech community.”

It was also noted that the growth in the young adult population in the county is significantly higher than the national average. “Cherokee continues to see a strong millennial population,” said Misti Martin, COED President. “We encourage the millennial workforce to explore the opportunities in our county, to put down roots and grow.” Twenty-six percent of Cherokee’s population are millennials. This notable generation makes up the majority of the current workforce in the U.S. and by 2025 is projected to make up 75% of the workforce. The entrepreneurial mindset of the millennial is also an advantage to Cherokee. “Entrepreneurs introduce new technology, encourage innovation, and bring new businesses which stimulates the economy through job creation,” said Martin.

Cherokee County is positioned to be a promising location for the technology community. The TAG report confirms the findings of the Opportunity Cherokee plan, and validates the goals set in place by the new strategic blueprint.

Click here to view the TAG report.