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Depending on Definitions, Canada’s Tech Sector Bigger Than Anticipated

July 28, 2016

A recently released report finds evidence that Canada’s tech sector – when properly defined – plays an important role in the nation’s economy. In The State of Canada’s Tech Sector, authors Creig Lamb and Matthew Seddon develop a definition of the tech sector based on those industries employing an oversized share of technology occupations. Ultimately, they suggest that the sector is responsible for $117 billion (88.9 billion USD) in economic output, roughly on par with finance and insurance and construction as a percent of total GDP (7.1 percent).

Recent Research: The Role of Gender in Higher Ed STEM Retention, Ideas to Address Gap

July 28, 2016

Sixty percent of students drop out or transfer from science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and more than 50 percent of students pursuing STEM in community colleges never graduate, according to new research from researchers at the University of Missouri (UM) and other partner institutions.

White House: Student Loan-Debt Helps U.S. Economy

July 28, 2016

A new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers provides a broad overview of student loan-debt in the United States and yields some potentially surprising conclusions: while the $1.3 trillion in total student-loan debt in the U.S. may seem like a staggering amount, the authors of Investing in Higher Education: Benefits, Challenges, and the State of Student Loan Debt contend that this is helping, not hurting the nation’s economy. The authors posit that college is best viewed as an investment that typically yields a high return, even with the high upfront costs.

New Delta Regional Authority Initiative Targets Student Entrepreneurs at HBCUs

July 28, 2016

In an effort to advance entrepreneurship among their student bodies and grow their regional entrepreneurship ecosystems, six historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) will receive up to $24,000 in support services as part of a new program from the Delta Regional Authority. Funds from the HBCU Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Initiative will primarily be used for universities to work with partners to identify entrepreneurial resources within the regional system, categorize strengths and weaknesses, and to strategically build around opportunities. Additionally, the selected schools will each host a two-day technical assistance and rapid acceleration workshop that seeks to teach student entrepreneurs about the types of skills and resources needed to launch and scale businesses. Student entrepreneurs will then pitch their ideas for a chance to be selected to present at Founders Weekend, where finalists will receive mentorship with successful minority entrepreneurs, business model development, and other services.

Recent Research: The Effectiveness of R&D Tax Credits

July 28, 2016

When the U.S. government made their R&D tax credit permanent in December 2015, it made a long-term commitment to using incentives to entice private firms to invest in research and development, joining many countries around the world. Although most studies find that R&D tax incentives promote R&D, there is little consensus on the extent of this effect. A recent firm-level analysis from the United Kingdom finds some of the strongest evidence to date on the effectiveness of R&D tax credits in incentivizing innovation. At the same time, however, other studies suggest other elements of a national economy such as education and infrastructure may be more important.

PWC MoneyTree: VC Industry Hits 10th Consecutive Quarter of $10B+ Invested in Q2 2016

July 28, 2016

For the 10th consecutive quarter, the venture capital (VC) industry invested $10 billion in a single quarter after investing $15.3 billion in Q2 2016, according to the MoneyTree™ Report from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).

Federally Supported Partnerships Focus on Mapping Vital Skills for Manufacturing, Other Industries

July 28, 2016

Over the last several months, there has been a flurry of activity in government-supported efforts focused on addressing the skills gap faced by manufacturing firms and other key S&T industries. The intent of these programs is to develop industry-led partnership that align workforce development efforts with the needs of specific local industries to unlock a region’s economic prosperity.  In July, two new initiatives were announced that may help provide a data-driven guide for these efforts in the future.