New semiconductor manufacturer comes to Columbus after effort by local pro-tech group

A semiconductor manufacturer is bringing its headquarters to Columbus as a result of a local alliance dedicated to growing the industry in the region.

Micromize, composed of a team of MIT graduates, is a semiconductor manufacturer that specializes in energy-efficient electronics for wearables and mobile devices. The company chose Columbus for its inaugural manufacturing facility, according to a news release.

By establishing its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Columbus, Micromize plans to take advantage of the semiconductor packaging expertise at Georgia Tech, the release said. The facility is expected to bring 20 to 25 jobs to Columbus.

The move is a result of an alliance led by the United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley. The alliance is officially named Chattahoochee Hub for Innovation and Production of Semiconductors, or more commonly known as CHIPS4CHIPS (C4C).

C4C mobilized public and private leaders in Georgia and Alabama to support the growth of the domestic semiconductor industry, including research universities, historically Black colleges and universities, community colleges and technical colleges to fill the workforce pipeline.

Growing the semiconductor industry in the United States has become a national priority as outsourcing manufacturing caused semiconductor and hardware education to stagnate, according to a report published by the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2020, the U.S. had 12% of the global production capacity, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This is down from 37% in 1990.

In response, Congress passed the CHIPS Act in 2022, which allocated $39 billion in government funding for domestic semiconductor manufacturing facilities, research and development and workforce programs.

Increasing chip manufacturing in the United States is good for both national security and consumers, Deborah Kidder, dean of the Turner College of Business, told the Ledger-Enquirer.

“This industry is critical to basically everything we do,” Kidder said. “You have chips in everything — even a toothbrush.”

The decision to locate in Columbus was driven by several factors, Prashant Patil, founder and CEO of Micromize, said in the release.

Columbus’ proximity to a port and airport provides efficient shipping, he said. C4C’s workforce development efforts and the presence of Fort Moore was also a benefit in providing a skilled workforce, Patil said.

“Additionally, Columbus offers an appealing climate with abundant outdoor activities, making it an ideal place for both work and leisure,” he said in the release.

Bringing Micromize to Columbus was a collaborative effort between C4C, Georgia Tech, and Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) to harness innovations in semiconductor packaging at Georgia Tech’s Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology (IEN).

The collaboration with Micromize is a significant milestone for C4C, Ben Moser, president of and CEO of United Way and chair of C4C, said in the release.

“This announcement marks the first of what we believe will be many to come,” Moser said in the release. “And we are thankful that Micromize recognizes the potential of our region for this industry.”