Technology Association Of Georgia, Georgia Research Alliance Announce Innovative Business Launch Competition

$100,000 Award To Be Awarded To The Winner

Georgia’s technology entrepreneurs have
the opportunity to earn $100,000, mentoring from successful technology
entrepreneurs and a host of business services in a new contest announced today
by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and the Georgia Research
Alliance (GRA).

The GRA/TAG Business Launch Competition, which will focus on the
information security and IP/communications convergence industries, is open to
the public in Georgia and will conclude May 18, 2006 at Georgia Public
Broadcasting. In addition to the $100,000 cash award, the winner will receive
$100,000 in services from a wide range of Georgia professional services firms.

"Georgia has a proud history of innovation, so it is fitting that we take
a unique competitive approach to find our most innovative ideas and develop
them into new businesses," Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue said. "We are
building on Georgia’s strong reputation for developing technology companies."

The competition is a public/private collaboration between GRA and TAG.
"This contest blends the private sector strengths of TAG with the public
sector connections of GRA to create a unique opportunity," said C. Michael
Cassidy, president and CEO of GRA, which is providing the award funds.
"Finding and supporting new technology start-ups in Georgia – especially those
that might slip through the cracks – is critical to the mission of GRA."

"We think this will be a very exciting contest that will bring forward
some of the most innovative thinking by high-tech entrepreneurs in the state,"
said Tino Mantella, president of TAG, which will provide much of the
operational infrastructure for the competition.

TAG and GRA launched a Web site today
( that provides
applications and outlines other specific information needed to enter the
contest. Preliminary entries are due March 15, 2006 with final entries due on
April 12, 2006. The prize winner must agree to launch a company and stay in
Georgia. If the company moves out of state within three years, the $100,000
award must be repaid with eight percent interest.

According to Sid Elliott, who is BellSouth Corp.’s executive in residence
at GRA and the lead organizer of the event, information security and
IP/communications convergence are two of Georgia’s high tech strategic
clusters. Information security involves the privacy and accuracy of
electronic information that has become so important in our economy and
society. IP/communications convergence involves combining voice, data and
video services, which is a critical area for the communications industry.
"Information security and IP/communications convergence are two areas where
Georgia has some real strengths and where we have an opportunity to do even
more," said Elliott.

Technology Leaders Will Mentor Candidates and Judge Plans

One of the unique features of the competition is that entrants will be
offered the opportunity to have a mentor help them refine their plan prior to
final submission and then guide them through the business launch process.
Several successful high-tech entrepreneurs have agreed to join the mentoring
group. The judges for the contest will include well-known technology
executives, entrepreneurs and investors. In addition to the panel of judges,
a group of local technology investors will attend the May 18 event.

The judges for the event are: Dallas Clement, senior vice president, Cox
Communications; Tom Crotty, general partner, Battery Ventures; Mike Eckert,
CEO, Pathfire; Marc Fleury, founder and CEO, JBoss; Tom Noonan, president and
CEO, Internet Security Systems; and Bill Smith, chief technology officer,
BellSouth Corp.

"We’re especially pleased that some of the best known technology
executives and entrepreneurs in the state share our view of the importance of
this opportunity," said Elliott.

In addition to Elliott, Mantella and Cassidy, the competition has a
stellar board of advisors from Georgia’s high tech community including Don
Addington, CEO, Seagull Software; Tony Antoniades, general manager, Advanced
Technology Development Center; Marc Fleury, founder and CEO of JBoss; William
Marks, North American managing director of technology, GCI Group; Sig Mosley,
investor, Imlay Investments; Fred Sturgis, investor, H.I.G. Ventures; and
Martin Tilson, attorney and partner, Kilpatrick Stockton, LLP.

About TAG

The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) is a non-profit organization
whose mission is to support its members by generating opportunities for
personal, professional and business growth. By forging strategic alliances,
TAG serves as a primary catalyst to foster a rich environment for economic
development in Georgia’s technology community.

Founded in 1999 through the merger of the Business & Technology Alliance
(B&TA), the Southeastern Software Association (SSA) and Women in Technology
(WIT), TAG is one of the largest state technology associations in the nation.
TAG is made up of several thousand members representing technology leaders
from over 1500 Georgia-based companies, affiliated technology and business
organizations. For more information on TAG, visit, email
[email protected] or call (404) 817-3333.

About GRA

A model public-private partnership between Georgia universities, business
and state government, the Georgia Research Alliance helps build Georgia’s
technology-rich economy in three major ways: through attracting Eminent
Scholars to Georgia’s research universities; through improving laboratories
and equipment at these research universities; and through converting research
into products, services and jobs that drive the economy. To learn more about
GRA, visit

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