Today we had the honor of having the Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed, visit the Village and speak with 260+ entrepreneurs at our weekly lunch gathering– Startup Chowdown. No matter your party affiliation, this was an incredible opportunity to meet with a leader and visionary. Honestly? He was authentic, demonstrated a knowledge of tech startups, clearly loves Atlanta, and showed a sincere interest in taking our city to the next level. As he put it, “Tech space is where we want to play big! I want to be the best version of ourselves, not an imitation of someone else.”
When Mayor Reed first arrived, he met with the Village team and was given a personal tour by our Founder David Cummings and Managing Director Johnson Cook. The Village is undergoing an $8.5 million renovation and Mayor Reed got one of the first behind the scenes look at our future community space. Following the tour, he stopped by our event space for pizza with 260+ entrepreneurs. Mayor Reed spoke for about 10 minutes and answered several questions. Here are some direct takeaways:
- Speaking to our community- “You all represent the health and vitality of Atlanta. Because of people like you, our city is being recognized”
- In regards to retaining talent in Atlanta- “We’re dead serious about retaining 75% of our STEM graduate students. That is our goal.”
- On leveraging his Silicon Valley connections- “We believe if we begin to seed some of your businesses, we have a chance at keeping you here.”
- On inviting feedback- “If you give us your time, talent, and expertise you will be pleasantly stunned with the ideas that we will make happen.”
After Startup Chowdown, Mayor Reed joined several Village Verified startup founders including Rigor, Rivaly, BluMenlo, Sherpadesk, Voxa, Clickscape, and Salesloft for an intimate discussion. Great dialogue, feedback, and suggestions were shared and we were all impressed with Mayor Reed’s heart and intent for Atlanta and our national tech presence.
It was a great day at the Village and we were honored for the visit. A big thank you to Mayor Kasim Reed for his time and efforts. We can’t wait to have you back!