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University Pre-Accelerators the New Hot Trend, But What Are They?

February 04, 2016

Over the last few months, a number of universities across the country have launched pre-accelerator programs – a new trend that has emerged in university-led efforts to support entrepreneurial growth among faculty and students. This week, the Digest examines this growing trend and attempts to provide insight into two important questions about pre-accelerators:

Tech Companies Raised $225M on Rewards-Based Crowdfunding Platforms in 2015, Report Finds

February 04, 2016

Technology companies raised $225 million globally on rewards-based crowdfunding sites in 2015, according to a new report from the UK-based Crowdfunding Centre. In State of the Crowdfunding Nation, the Crowdfunding Centre reported that reward-based crowdfunding sites helped raise over $1.5 billion worldwide between the calendar years of 2014 and 2015. Global rewards-based crowdfunding campaigns raised $823.5 in 2015 million (a 20 percent increase over 2014) from nearly 10.2 million backers.

Useful Stats: Venture Capital Dollars and Deals by State, 2010-2015

February 04, 2016

Last year, the venture capital investment hit a 15-year high, with total dollars topping every year since 2000. A slow fourth quarter brought the remarkable trajectory of the year back down to earth, but with a total of $11.3 billion invested, 2015 became the second highest year on record since PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) began the Moneytree Report in 1995. Much of this growth was due to larger deals, and, in fact, the total number of deals was down from the previous year.

White House Rolls Out Plans to Connect Young Americans With High-Skill Jobs

February 04, 2016

The White House recently released a preview of its plans to build a stronger pipeline between K-12 education and high-skill employment. The President’s Computer Science for All Initiative would boost investment in states, districts and teacher training to improve computer science (CS) education for K-12 students. The three-year, $4 billion plan would also call on multiple federal agencies to focus investments on improving CS skills.

SBA Issues Proposed Rules for Impact SBICs

February 04, 2016

In the February 3 Federal Digest, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued proposed rules affecting Impact Small Business Investment Corporations (SBICs) and is accepting comments. In addition to codifying the existing, temporary guidelines, the proposal would add new investment certifications, change the expedited processing benefit for reduced fees and replace the branding penalty for non-compliant SBICs with the threat of imposed default.

Council on Competitiveness Report Makes Recommendations for National Skills Agenda

February 04, 2016

As long-term trends continue to impact the U.S. economy and its recovery from the Great Recession, more must be done to develop diversely skilled and adaptable workers, according to a new report by the U.S. Council on Competitiveness. In addition to describing the radical changes facing the landscape for America’s workforce, WORK: Thriving in a Turbulent, Technological and Transformed Global Economy provides numerous recommendations on how to best respond to these challenges.

IL Unveils New Private, Nonprofit Partnership to Support Economic Competitiveness

February 04, 2016

At his State of the State address last week, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced that Illinois’ principal economic development organization, the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, as well as some of the state’s business leaders will collaborate to organize a newly formed private, nonprofit organization exclusively focused on increasing Illinois’ competitiveness for job creation and investment.