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Final FY 2018 budget increases Regional Innovation, MEP, NSF

With final passage and signage pending at the time of publication, the federal budget for FY 2018 provides relatively strong support for innovation economies. The Regional Innovation Strategies program is funded at $21 million, MEP at $140 million and the National Science Foundation at $7.8 billion, increases for all organizations. Other notable innovation programs receiving at least level funding are SBA’s cluster and accelerator programs, DOE’s ARPA-E, NASA science and the National Institutes of Health.

Recent Research: Exploring where the workers have gone

An earlier SSTI analysis detailed the Bureau of Labor Statistics labor force participation projections, revealing a continuing downward trend in the number of workers despite a growing population. Additional research papers released in February from economists at the University of Maryland as well as the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank explores the reasons behind the trend, finding that trade and robots have had a significant impact, and suggests that some prime-age workers may not be coming back.

DOE considering competition to address water issues

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry is calling on Americans’ competitive spirit to help solve critical water issues. Perry led a roundtable discussion last week on the use of federal prizes and challenges to drive innovation in dealing with water issues such as alternative water supplies, reducing water treatment costs, greater efficiency in usage, and advancing market-based solutions that incentivize innovation and cooperation.

Useful Stats: Business R&D Intensity by State (2010-2015)

Across the country, companies reported nearly $300 billion in self-funded and self-performed domestic R&D in 2015, according to recent data from the National Science Foundation’s Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS), with nearly one-third of this total ($95.0 billion) coming from California. Businesses in Wyoming, Washington D.C., and Utah reported the greatest increase in self-funded and self-performed R&D from 2010 to 2015.

Wyoming legislature passes bills promoting innovation, economic diversification

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead has approved legislation that will help promote economic diversification through innovation in a state that has relied heavily on a relatively small number of resource-based industries. Mead recently signed multiple pieces of legislation that comprise ENDOW (Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming), a 20-year initiative focused on diversifying and growing the state’s economy. Notable bills include Senate File 118, which will establish a dedicated organization to support Wyoming’s entrepreneurs and provide funds to innovative startups, and Senate File 119, which will establish a dedicated fund for workforce training in economic sectors considered a priority for the state.

SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council, Congress take to SXSW

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) was one of several legislators who participated in SXSW, including on a panel that also featured Ben Johnson of BioSTL representing SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council. Moran promoted the Startup Act — his legislation that SSTI has helped inform — saying the goal of the bill’s improvements to the Regional Innovation Strategies program is to, “Increase the opportunity… to get dollars to organizations across the country that promote entrepreneurship and innovation to bring this opportunity to every American.”

A deeper dive into company valuations: the case of female-founders

Valuations of venture backed companies and the number of unicorns are rising based on the leading nationwide surveys, but closer examination of the data reveals not all startups are seeing the effect. The median valuation for female-founded companies, for example, was lower in 2017 (approximately $11 million) than it was in 2007 (approximately $15 million), according to research from PitchBook’s Dana Olson. In comparison, the median valuation for male-founded startups has increased by approximately $8 million between 2007 (approximately $21 million) and 2017 (approximately $29 million). Olson also found that, across all industries, a much higher percentage of VC-backed, male-founded companies (35 percent) received at least one round of follow-on funding than female-founded companies (2 percent). With regard to exits, male-founded startups are acquired more than 11 percent of the time, while less than 0.5 percent of female-founded startups ever reach the same milestone. Male-founded companies also have a higher rate of IPO (nearly 1.7 percent) than female-founded startups (less than 1 percent).