What is TBED?

What is Technology-based Economic Development?

Over the last several years, the U.S. economy has been undergoing a dramatic transformation as the nation moves to an economy driven by technology and innovation—through the creation of new industries and the application of technology in traditional industries. Competing in a global economy, regions must have an economic base composed of firms that constantly innovate and maximize the use of technology in the workplace. Technology-based economic development, or TBED, is the approach used to help create a climate where this economic base can thrive.

What is Required for a Technology-based Economy?

Based on the experience of tech-based economies like Silicon Valley, Research Triangle, and Route 128, the following elements are required for a tech-based economy:

  • A research base that generates new knowledge;
  • Mechanisms for transferring knowledge to the marketplace;
  • An entrepreneurial culture;
  • Sources of risk capital; and,
  • A technically skilled workforce.

What Approaches Can Be Employed to Develop These Elements?

Research Capacity. Initiatives that strengthen the capacity to conduct research in universities, federal labs, or the private sector include: centers of excellence, university-industry partnerships, and initiatives to expand research facilities, recruit eminent scholars, or increase research funding through R&D tax credits.

Commercializing Research. Initiatives that promote the conversion of research into technologies and products with high commercial potential include proof-of-concept funds and centers, entrepreneurs-in-residence to assess commercial potential and develop commercialization strategies, and pilot-scale production and scalability testing. 

Promoting Entrepreneurship. Enriching the skills and ability of entrepreneurs, increasing capacity of entrepreneurs to successfully grow and start companies, and improving the environment for entrepreneurial development can be delivered through many forms, including: venture development organizations, mentorship programs, and accelerators and incubators.

Increasing Access to Capital. The availability of capital to support startup and emerging companies is critical. Regions can address needs for capital through angel investor tax credits, investing in technology companies, using public funds to leverage private investment funds, and help companies access capital sources.

Technically Skilled Workforce. Approaches that regions can take to ensure the availability of a technically skilled workforce include encouraging more students to enter STEM fields, STEM internship programs and providing technical training for workers in existing companies.