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Innovation Crescent organization forms board

LAWRENCEVILLE -- The Innovation Crescent, a 13-county region from Atlanta to Athens containing more than 95 percent of Georgia's life science assets, became its own organization Monday, with the 13 communities and organizations signing legal documentation to form the Innovation Crescent Regional Partnership LLC.

The new organization will function as an economic development entity, focusing its efforts on job growth and wealth creation of the life sciences industry within its borders, according to a news release.

"The goal of any economic development organization is to focus on business development and retention, which is what we have been doing for the last two years of the cluster's identifiable existence," Innovation Crescent Regional Partnership Board Chairman and founding member Nick Masino said. "We hope that we can support the state's efforts in the attraction of this industry with a renewed focus on cluster marketing and strategic planning via this newly formed organization of economic developers."

The new organization formed a board the day it signed the operating agreement, the news release states. Board members include Masino, the Gwinnett Chamber's vice president of economic development, and Linda Moore with the Barrow Economic Development Council.

The Innovation Crescent was one of seven initial regions identified by the Governor's Office of Workforce Development as a "cluster region," meaning that a vast majority of assets and work force development programs were already in place to support industry with a given focus.

In the Crescent's case, the area from Atlanta to Athens held more than 95 percent of the state's assets in life science -- everything from colleges and universities with programs designed around this industry to corporations and companies like Merial, Ciba Vision, Kimberly-Clarke and more, the news release states. Launching a brand and marketing strategy in 2008, the partnership continued to operate under a cloak of collaboration between communities until it could formalize.

"A strong work force is at the top of every bioscience company's list and is one of Georgia's biggest assets," said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. "The Innovation Crescent is a prime example of the way our public and private partners collaborate to ensure Georgia's workers are trained and ready to help these companies thrive in our state."