June 13, 2024

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The Best State for New Businesses to Flourish in is… Georgia?

6 min read

Aerial of Midtown Atlanta Skyline

Here are some reasons why Georgia is more than just a little attractive as a landing spot even for billion-dollar businesses

Drone Aerial of Midtown Atlanta Skyline

 

Written by Chief Investigative Reporter Kurt Dillon

Over the last decade, Atlanta, Georgia has emerged as a hotspot for business and has garnered an impressive reputation as the birthplace of over a dozen billion-dollar companies, including MailChimp and Calendly.

As a result, the state has gained significant popularity for business expansion and company relocations. With its lower-than-average cost of living, Georgia has also been a popular relocation choice for workers moving in from other regions in the US.

But is Georgia the right state for your business?

If you’re considering relocating your company to the US or opening a new office, here are some reasons why doing business in Georgia may be a good idea.

Keep reading to find out why billion-dollar companies are thriving in the state, why Georgia earns its nickname of ‘The Peach State’, and why Atlanta has also been referred to as ‘Transaction Alley’.


Business incentives in Georgia

The business climate is generally favorable for companies looking to set up or relocate to Georgia. It is not without reason that Atlanta, Georgia is the 3rd most common city in the US for Fortune 500 companies, sitting behind Houston and New York City respectively. Mega organizations including Home Depot, United Parcel Service (UPS), Coca-Cola, and Delta Air Lines all call the state of Georgia their home.

Tax rates in Georgia

With reasonable top-end personal and corporate income tax rates of 5.75%, the latter of which was reduced in 2019 from 6%, the state is still able to attract multinational organizations even with neighboring states Tennessee and Florida offering more attractive tax brackets. However, the state does offer a ‘job tax credit’ meaning that qualifying businesses have the opportunity to reduce or eliminate their corporate tax liability.

The state has a ‘no throwback rule’ which means that sales made elsewhere won’t be taxed. As a result, the tax levied by the state is only calculated for sales made within Georgia.

Business support in Georgia

Extra support is also available in Georgia for companies in specific industries. For example, Atlanta’s booming tech scene is supported by innovation centers such as Atlanta Tech Village which offers support for local start-ups.


Workforce development in Georgia

Strong university pipeline in Georgia

With the 8th largest population in the US, the state of Georgia has a labor force of 5.3 million.

There is a strong university-to-workforce pipeline with colleges within a 250-mile radius of Atlanta producing 200,000 new graduates every year. In addition to producing talent within the state, Georgia is a magnet for workers out of state.

High migration rates

The ‘Peach State’ ranked 7th out of the 50 states for net domestic migration between 2020 and 2021 and further increased its state population by 1.2% in 2022. The latest research carried out by the US Census Bureau demonstrated an upward trend of US citizens migrating to states in the southeast of the country. In fact, 5 of the top 7 states for total net domestic migration were located in this region.

Tech development in Georgia

Georgia’s commitment to workforce development, particularly in the area of tech, is demonstrated through programs like Georgia Quick Start, a free resource for companies looking to develop technology. The Georgia Board of Education has made changes to its curriculum to promote the growth of tech skills which is complemented by the Georgia FinTech Academy.

With a median age younger than the US average, a youthful, educated workforce is an appealing aspect that makes Georgia a good state to do business in.


Logistics and infrastructure in Georgia

Reach global and US markets with ease in Georgia

Georgia offers an attractive location for businesses expanding to or within the US. Not only is it convenient to serve the ever more popular south-east United States, but world-class ports and airports mean that global markets can be reached with ease.

Domestically, companies in Georgia can access 80% of the US market within a two-hour flight time or two-day drive. For this reason alone, it is little wonder that UPS is headquartered in Atlanta.

With regards to international commerce, the Port of Savannah is one of the fastest-growing in the US, with the recent completion of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project enabling the accommodation of larger ships lowering costs per container. The state has two international airports; one in Atlanta, and one in Savannah, accumulatively offering direct flights to over 50 countries.

A workable time zone when operating globally

Georgia is within Eastern Standard Time (EST) which means that there is a crossover in working hours if companies also have offices in the UK and Europe.

The state’s infrastructure is credited as one of the best in the country and is the fourth largest logistics hub in the US.


What are the main industries in Georgia?

Georgia has a range of booming industries, most notably agriculture. It did not earn the nickname of ‘The Peach State’ for nothing, with agribusiness accounting for $72 billion annually to the state economy, with 1 in 7 Georgia residents involved in agriculture or a related field.

Manufacturing and the Food Industry in Georgia

Georgia outpaces the rest of the US in 10-year GDP growth in the manufacturing of machinery, electrical equipment, and fabricated metals. However, it is food processing that remains the top manufacturing sector in Georgia, catalyzed by the state’s dominant industry of agriculture.

Manufacturers in Georgia account for 9.85% of the total output in the state, employing 8.54% of the workforce. Food processing certainly plays its role in this output, accounting for over 430,000 jobs in the state. This high level of employment is only bested nationally by California, Texas, and the neighbouring states of North Carolina and Tennessee.

 Between 2018-2022, 35 food processing businesses either expanded or moved new operations to the state, helping create over 7000 new jobs in the process.

Gainesville, Atlanta, and South Georgia all maintain high levels of employment for these workers.

Tech industry in Georgia

We’ve previously discussed why Atlanta, Georgia is one of the fastest-growing tech hubs in the United States, and with the state’s highly reliable power infrastructure, availability of talent, and sales tax exemptions for qualified High Tech Data Center investments, it makes sense why tech companies would want to set up shop in Georgia.

Fintech and cybersecurity are important sectors in the industry. To answer a question posed in the opening paragraphs of this blog, Atlanta earns the nickname ‘Transaction Alley’ as it processes around 70% of all transactions in the US involving debit, credit or prepaid cards.

Georgia is becoming a hub for Cybersecurity

Over 150 companies in Metro Atlanta specialize in cybersecurity and this number only looks set to grow in the future with a local Atlanta non-profit organization receiving $5.4 million from the US Department of Labor which will be used to train local students in web development and cybersecurity.

Meanwhile, 12 colleges in Georgia have received the National Center of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity certification from the NSA. This figure places the state in the top 10 across the US for institutions receiving the NSA’s special recognition for cybersecurity excellence.

Life Sciences industry in Georgia

Georgia is a leading health and life science center, not only in the US, but the entire globe, home to a large number of bioscience companies, and the world-famous Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There are over 34,000 workers in Life Science Occupations, 20% of which are employed by the CDC. The research and development segment is leading this thriving industry.

The state’s employment figure is predicted to increase by 10% in the next decade, exceeding the average growth of the industry nationally. Major growth is expected in job areas such as biochemists and animal scientists.

Since 2015, employment growth in the life sciences industry has outpaced Georgia’s overall private sector growth. The continued demand for the growing industry looks set to be met with the supply of talent streaming from the state’s strong university and college performance.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, regardless of what field your business is in, there’s a pretty good chance Georgia would be a great landing spot for you and your business as well.

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