Atlanta Gets Down to Business- 5 reasons why Atlanta is the best choice

Atlanta Gets Down to Business- 5 reasons why Atlanta is the best choice

When renowned real estate brokerage Home Bay released a report in April of 2024 naming Atlanta as the best city in the nation for startups, it came as a surprise to no one. For the last number of years, the city and its surrounding areas have been recognized for fostering a booming pro-business environment that attracts and supports businesses of all types and sizes, from major Fortune 500 corporations to small locally owned mom-and-pop shops. That welcoming business-centric atmosphere gives companies access to the resources they need not only to survive, but also thrive in today’s challenging economy. Here, we look at the top five reasons that make metro Atlanta a leading destination for both new and established businesses year after year.

The Diverse Industries

Cities are often known for nurturing specific industries. For instance, San ­Francisco is synonymous with tech, New York City is a financial mecca and Detroit is a hub for automobile manufacturing. What sets Atlanta apart, however, is that it is home to all of these industries and more. In fact, the city boasts a diverse roster of industries that continues to grow. According to the Metro Atlanta Chamber, key industries in Atlanta today include supply chain and advanced manufacturing, life sciences and healthcare (Atlanta is home to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), cleantech (including electric vehicle production and battery manufacturing and recycling), fintech (with more than 200 financial technology companies across the city) and an array of creative industries (namely film production, with Atlanta being called the Hollywood of the South). What’s more, Forbes Magazine even recognized Atlanta as an elite technology town and predicted that it would become one of the world’s most popular tech meccas in the near future. With so many industries entrenched in the local economy, companies can rest assured that Atlanta has exactly what they need to grow and succeed. That’s certainly why the city boasts 19 Fortune 500 companies, 16 Fortune 1000 companies and more than 200 Inc. 5000 headquarters.


The Geographic Location

Atlanta’s geographic location is another asset that allows businesses to flourish when they locate here. The city’s strategic location in the southeast positions it as a transportation gateway to the rest of the country, and its accompanying infrastructure allows companies to make the most of the metro area’s fantastic location. To start, Atlanta is home to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta ­International Airport, the world’s busiest airport (with more than 110 million passengers each year) and the home base of Delta Air Lines. The location of the airport, as well as its size and impressive activity, gives businesses direct access to markets across the country and the globe. In fact, upwards of 80 percent of the United States’ population can be reached within a two-hour flight. And it’s not just passengers who move through the airport daily; according to the Metro Atlanta Chamber, more than 650,000 metric tons of cargo is moved through the airport annually. Additionally, metro Atlanta’s access to a sophisticated highway system, which also leads to key railroad hubs and ports along the East Coast, expands the business opportunities of companies that choose Atlanta as their home base; coastal port facilities in locations like ­Savannah and Brunswick undoubtedly give businesses an ideal distribution point for the shipping and receiving of domestic and international goods, while the State of Georgia’s 4,600 miles of railroad keep cargo moving quickly and efficiently to locations across the nation.

The Talent Pool

According to the Metro Atlanta ­Chamber’s 2023 Talent Supply Report, the State of Georgia created more than 280,000 jobs between 2019 and 2023—more than twice the national job production rate. Fortunately, the large talent pool in Atlanta gives companies access to the workforce that is needed to fill the jobs being created rapidly throughout the area. And because there are so many educated and skilled potential employees within the metro area, including the more than 300,000 students who currently attend metro Atlanta’s highly acclaimed two- and four-year colleges and universities to prepare for the job market, the length of time it takes to find the right fit for open positions is shortened exponentially. Having employees in place helps reduce recruitment costs in the long run and shorten the amount of time needed to introduce new products and services to the market. And as APD Urban Planning notes, 77 percent of college graduates in metro Atlanta decide to stay and pursue their professions with companies located in the area; only New York outpaces ­Atlanta in this arena. What’s more, Georgia is dedicated to training the entirety of its workforce within the state and has been recognized for its leading workforce development programs. In fact, Georgia is home to the top workforce training program in the country, Georgia Quick Start, which has trained more than one million employees since its inception four decades ago.


The Business Incentives

Tax credits often are a driving factor for companies considering a relocation or an expansion. In recent years, one of the tax credits that received the most attention was the Georgia Film, Television and Digital Entertainment Tax Credit, which allows a 20 percent tax credit for companies that spend $500,000 or more on production or post-production work done in Georgia. Yet, there are myriad additional credits which companies can take advantage of depending on their individual situations. For instance, Job Tax Credits (JTC) eliminate a company’s corporate income tax liability if it creates new jobs in Georgia, while Quality Jobs Tax Credits (QJTC) can provide benefits to companies that create and maintain new jobs that pay at least 110 percent of the county’s average wage. There also is a tax credit dedicated to organizations that perform research and development (R&D) activities in the state, as well as an Opportunity Zone Tax Credit, which, according to Invest Atlanta, gives qualified businesses a $3,500-per-employee credit against state corporate income taxes for five years if they locate in a less-developed census tract. The State of Georgia also has an investment tax credit available for existing manufacturing and telecommunications companies. Additional tax exemptions, grants and loans also are available for a wide range of qualifying businesses.

The Corporate Innovation

Some of the biggest and most acclaimed companies in the world not only are headquartered in metro Atlanta, but they also have developed corporate innovation centers that are changing the way business is done around the world. According to Startup Atlanta, there currently are more than 40 corporate innovation centers in and around the metro area, including such facilities as the Emory Healthcare Innovation Hub, Deloitte iLabs, the Georgia-Pacific Innovation Institute, the Honeywell Industrial Cyber Security Lab, AT&T’s Atlanta Drive Studio, the Chick-fil-A Technology Center and the Stanley Black & Decker Digital Accelerator, among many others. Combined with a host of metro Atlanta incubators, makerspaces and accelerators, such as Atlanta Tech Village, the ­Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and Comcast NBCUniversal The Farm, these facilities—many of which are located within Georgia Tech’s “Tech Square”—have made Atlanta’s corporate innovation ecosystem second to none. With technology being at the forefront of today’s business environment, research and development are key to businesses being able to take the lead as industries evolve and change. Atlanta has made itself a hotbed of innovation activity, attracting more entrepreneurs, startups and technology leaders on a regular basis. This area of business growth is expected to continue and will keep shining a spotlight on Atlanta’s ability to welcome and support the companies that will help direct the country into the future.