//Cagle, Golden Honored at Valdosta Small Business Breakfast

Cagle, Golden Honored at Valdosta Small Business Breakfast

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more moneyValdosta, GA- Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Senator Tim Golden were honored Thursday as the Valdosta-Lowndes Chamber’s 2013 “Champions of Business” during the Small Business Breakfast at the Rainwater Conference Center in Valdosta. The event was co-sponsored by CooperCraft Communications and Georgia Power.

 Golden spoke briefly about his efforts to help south Ga. and Cagle spoke at length about his high hopes and goals for small businesses in Ga.Both played leading roles in Governor Nathan Deal signing House Bill 318, which allowed for the creation of the $100 million Invest Georgia Fund in April.

 The fund was created to help “Georgia–grown” small businesses, preferably those that are technology-based, compete nationally through venture capital investments. Over the past few years, many profitable technology companies left Ga. for better investment opportunities. For example, SolidFire, a storage company based in Ga., left for Boulder, Colo. after securing $11 million in venture capital funds.

The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), estimated venture capital investing fell by 31% in Ga., 21% higher than the national decline of 10% in 2012. Cagle and Golden hope that the fund will deter companies from leaving the state of Ga.

 “This is not a fund just to give money to any [business] in the community,” Cagle said during a brief meeting after the breakfast at Azalea Health with CEO, Baha Zeidan and others including Sen. Golden, VSU President William McKinney, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Interim President Shawn Utley and Mayor John Gayle. “This is a fund to help businesses with strong plans to take the next step in Georgia, like Azalea Health, and grow in their own environment.”

 Cagle also discussed how it is essential for south Ga. to retain companies in order to create jobs for graduates of VSU and WGTC and make south Ga. a destination for commerce. 

“We have to make more commercial hubs outside of just Atlanta in Georgia,” said Cagle. “I believe south Georgia has the resources to do it.”