Accenture project a ‘milestone’ for Atlanta’s tech scene

Sept 20, 2017
Technology Square is mixed-use area at Fifth and Spring Street that contains Georgia Tech academic buildings, Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center, retail and offices. Accenture plans a new tech hub here that could house 800 new jobs. BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

Global consulting giant Accenture will locate a new innovation hub in Technology Square in Midtown Atlanta, a lab where the company will help their clients bring new technologies to market and “a milestone” for the region’s technology scene, state and city leaders said Wednesday.

In confirming the project, Accenture said it plans to create 800 new high-paying jobs in the city by 2020. The innovation hub, part of a planned network of 10 such facilities around the nation, will be designed so that Accenture technologists can aide their Fortune 500 clients and other major companies in designing and testing new technologies, said Jimmy Etheredge, senior managing director in the Southeast for Accenture.

Governor Deal said his office is marketing Georgia all over the world, trying to get new business and trying to get existing business to expand within the state.

The Accenture project is the latest in a string of high-profile technology jobs announcements for the city and state, and it coincides with a celebratory press conference on Tuesday in which Deal touted a record-breaking year for the state’s economic development team.

Announcements of blue chip firms like Accenture will be a big part the pitch state and city leaders expect to make in the hunt for the second Amazon North American headquarters and the promise of 50,000 corporate jobs.

Landing another major tech deal in Accenture is a further sign of vibrancy for the region’s tech scene, and a sign the Atlanta area is an emerging center of innovation, leaders say.

“It’s another major milestone for Atlanta and the state of Georgia’s drive to be first in the nation,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “We are getting stronger and stronger.”

In total, Accenture has more than 2,800 employees in multiple locations in metro Atlanta. The expansion at Tech Square more than doubles the company’s footprint there to 70,000 square feet of office space.

Etheredge said the complex, taking up a floor in the Centergy building at Tech Square, will be a place where Accenture officials will have co-working space to help their clients refine and perfect new technologies. The hub is expected to open by next summer.

“What we are going to be doing in this space is more than co-creation, literally having clients working side by side with us to build out prototypes, build out pilots that we would work with them to rapidly scale and deploy for the businesses,” he said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Accenture is a consultant to Fortune 500 companies and other major firms. The company helps others develop new technology and streamline and manage their businesses. It employs software designers and other tech grads in addition to professionals with business degrees.

The company in February announced plans to launch 10 such hubs across the country, as part of a broader $1.4 billion U.S. technology and training investment that Accenture said would create 15,000 new jobs by 2020. The company opened a similar hub in Houston and has announced another in New York.

Etheredge said jobs are expected to focus on digital development, cloud-based software and Internet security.

“With the investment and commitment around the tech sector – and the connection to Georgia Tech – it made our decision to select Atlanta a no-brainer,” he said. “It’s going to cement our reputation and Atlanta’s as a place where innovation will happen.”

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