Georgia Department of Economic Development

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Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD)
Georgia USA logo.jpg
Agency overview
JurisdictionGeorgia (United States)
Headquarters75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 1200, Atlanta, Georgia
Agency executive
  • Pat Wilson, Commissioner
Parent agencyState of Georgia

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is a department of the State of Georgia (United States). The department plans, manages and mobilizes state resources to attract new business investment to Georgia, drive the expansion of existing industry and small business, locate new markets for Georgia products, inspire tourists to visit Georgia and promote the state as a top destination for arts events and film, music and digital entertainment projects.


Originally named the Georgia Department of Commerce,[1] the agency was established by law in 1949. Governor Herman Talmadge appointed the first five-member board[2] under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated sections 50-7-1 through 50-7-41.[3] George C. Gaines served as the first commissioner.[2]


Pat Wilson was appointed Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) by Governor Nathan Deal[4] in November 2016.[5] As Commissioner, he leads the state agency responsible for creating jobs and investment in Georgia through business recruitment and expansion, international trade and tourism, as well as the arts, film and music industries.[5] Christopher M. Carr served as Commissioner from November, 2013 until his appointment as state Attorney General in November, 2016.

Key Resources

  • Encouraging the expansion of existing industry and small business
  • Developing new domestic and international markets
  • Recruiting new business to locate in the state
  • Identifying key markets in Georgia for companies specific needs
  • Attracting tourists to Georgia
  • Promoting the state as a location for film, video, music, digital entertainment projects
  • Promoting the state as a top destination for artists and arts events
  • Planning and mobilizing state resources for economic development

Agency Organization

The Georgia Department of Economic Development is divided into seven distinct divisions: Global Commerce; International Trade; Workforce; the Georgia Centers of Innovation; Tourism; Film, Music & Digital Entertainment and the Georgia Council for the Arts. These seven divisions are supported by an Administration division and a Marketing and Communications division. Learn more about the department at

Global Commerce Division

The Georgia Department of Economic Development Global Commerce Division assists businesses with an interest in growing or locating in the state by coordinating a variety of services that include site location, employee training, market research and export assistance and consultation. In FY2012, assistance from the Global Commerce division led to 403 announced projects and nearly $6B in investment.

Entrepreneur & Small Business Development

With 97% of all Georgia businesses classified as small businesses, GDEcD supports this sector through several approaches such as direct company relationships, resource awareness, B-2-B opportunities and local-level business development.[6]

International Trade Division

The Georgia Department of Economic Development International Trade Division works closely with companies in Georgia that are looking for global markets and with international firms looking to either locate to the United States or secure American business partners.[7]

GDEcD has international representation in 11 markets including Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Germany, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Israel and the United Kingdom.[8]

Centers of Innovation

The Centers of Innovation (COI) is a program designed to accelerate the growth of technology-based companies.

The COI program is composed of six centers: agribusiness, aerospace, energy, life sciences, logistics and manufacturing. Located in Atlanta, Augusta, Gainesville, Savannah, Tifton and Eastman.

Tangible services include access to university-level research and development, product commercialization, industry-specific business counsel, matching research grants for qualified companies, networking opportunities and connecting clients to potential investor networks.[9]

Georgia Allies

Formed in 1997 as a partnership between state government and private corporations.[10]

Tourism Division

The Georgia Department of Economic Development Tourism Division helps individual visitors and groups discover Georgia's vacation options and helps them to plan their stay. Through its network of regional and international representatives, it also assists the state's communities and attractions in drawing potential travelers to their areas.[11]

The state’s tourism industry employs more than 400,000 people[12] creating a total economic impact of more than $52 billion annually.[11]

Specific Services

  • Promote Georgia as a travel destination
  • Providing of advice on research, public relations, group tour sales, advertising, product development and other tourism industry related topics
  • Development of the state's consumer tourism website.
  • Responsible for the state’s official Travel Guide, Georgia Golf Guide, Calendar of Events, Kids Guide and African American Heritage Guide
  • Operation of international offices, building relationships with outbound tour operators, generating media coverage and producing international travel guides
  • Promotion of tourism assets to the 13 million annual visitors traveling through the state’s 11 Visitor Information Centers[11]

Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Division

Formed in 1973, the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office develops and promotes the state's feature film, television, commercial, music video, recorded music and digital media industries.

Statewide resources and infrastructure information along with an extensive location library provide every assistance for production companies both inside and outside Georgia. The office coordinates and supports the filming needs of companies with other state agencies and local governments.[13]

In FY2012, a $879.8 million total investment was placed into the Georgia entertainment industry creating a $3.1 billion economic impact, a 29% increase over the previous fiscal year.[12]

Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act

On May 12, 2008, Governor Sonny Perdue signed into law the Georgia Entertainment Industry Investment Act, increasing the state tax credit for qualified production and post-production expenditures by as much as 30%. It is available to both traditional motion picture projects such as feature films, television series, commercials and music videos, as well as new industries such as game development and animation.[14]

Film and television

During FY2012, GDEcD led more than 100 feature films and television series, movies, specials, pilots and episodes produced in Georgia, ranking the state number one in the Southeast and among the top five states in the nation for film and TV productions.[12]

Throughout the years, the Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Division has helped secure Georgia as the location of choice for over 700 film and television productions.[15]

Some of the most notable films shot in Georgia include:[15]


The GDEcD Film, Music & Entertainment Division oversees statewide efforts in Georgia' music industry.[16]

The current estimated economic impact of the music industry in Georgia is approaching $2 billion annually. The industry is responsible for maintaining 9,500 jobs and generating $54.3 million in tax revenues.[17]

Major recording artists and producers with Georgia ties:[17]

Digital Entertainment

The Music & Entertainment Digital Entertainment branch houses emerging media industries such as game development, animation and interactive entertainment.

Currently, more than 30 video game businesses operate in the state.[19] Georgia’s video game workforce is benefited by 15 of the state’s colleges and universities offering video game development courses or curriculums, including some graduate degree programs.[20]


  1. ^ "Georgia Code Research Tool". State of Georgia. <>.
  2. ^ a b "Georgia Department of Economic Development". State of Georgia. <,2086,26110704_0_26114573,00.html>.
  3. ^ "Georgia Department of Economic Development". State of Georgia. <,2197,668180,00.html>.
  4. ^ "Deal nominates new head for Economic Development". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  5. ^ a b "Commissioner Chris Carr". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  6. ^ "Small Business Resource Directory". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  7. ^ "International Trade". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  8. ^ "International Trade Representatives". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  9. ^ "Georgia Centers of Innovation". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  10. ^ "Georgia Allies". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  11. ^ a b c "Tourism". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  12. ^ a b c Georgia Department of Economic Development, 2012 Annual Report. Atlanta: 2012. <>.
  13. ^ "Entertainment". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  14. ^ "Production Incentives". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  15. ^ a b "Most Popular Titles With Location Matching 'Georgia, USA'". IMDb. <,%20USA>.
  16. ^ Rushton, Michael and Marcus X. Thomas. The Economics of the Commercial Music Industry in Atlanta and the State of Georgia. Atlanta: Fiscal Research Center, 2005.
  17. ^ a b "Music Industry in Georgia". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  18. ^ Lorenz, Taylor. Who is Lil Tay?. The Atlantic, 2018.<>.
  19. ^ "Game & Digital Media Companies". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
  20. ^ "Gaming Assets in Georgia". Georgia Department of Economic Development. <>.
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