SSTI Digest

The latest reporting and analysis on breakthroughs in technology-based economic development research and issues that matter most to you. To receive the SSTI Weekly Digest via email, sign up here.


EDA makes $3 billion available for regional economies

Today, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced funding opportunities for the $3 billion Congress provided the agency in the American Rescue Plan Act. Funds are available through six distinct challenges, with separate goals and application processes/deadlines for each.

House committee approves $50 million for Build to Scale, $275 million for MEP and more

The House Committee on Appropriations advanced an FY 2022 funding bill that provides for substantial increases to many science and innovation programs.

Innovation Advocacy Council chair testifies on SBA programs and job creation

Last week, SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council chair Ben Johnson (also of BioSTL) testified before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Small Business about the role that innovation plays in job creation and how the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Regional Innovation Clusters (RIC) and Growth Accelerators Fund Competition (GAFC) support these efforts.

Useful Stats: SBIR/STTR application success rates decreased from 2019 to 2020 at NASA

A helpful metrics used by organizations dedicated to supporting technology startups and bolstering local innovation economies is the success rate of companies applying to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Understanding how successful local companies are at submitting quality applications and winning SBIR/STTR awards can better assist in designing outreach, education, technical assistance, mentorship, and other entrepreneurial support programs.

Former NIST innovator nominated Commerce Undersecretary for Standards and Technology

President Joe Biden nominated Laurie Locascio, Ph.D., to lead the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) within the U.S. Department of Commerce and serve as Undersecretary for Standards and Technology.

Arkansas’s economic recovery strategy has wider applicability

Whether or not your state embraced strict measures in an attempt to reduce virus spread, the current pandemic has created the need for reflection and revision of how each of us go about our lives. The same opportunity has arisen for the public and private sectors to rethink how they engage in many core functions.

Census Bureau seeks comment on Business Enterprise Research & Development survey

When planning and evaluating programs and policies in local and regional innovation economies, a key measure is the amount of private business research and development (R&D) activity taking place, typically found in the Business Enterprise Research & Development Survey (BERD). The Census Bureau, in cooperation with the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), is seeking public comment on planned updates to the BERD survey.

Useful Stats: High-propensity business applications by state, 2006-2020

Recession can drive increases in entrepreneurship as laid off workers look for other opportunities and start their own businesses. Increases in business startup activity throughout the 2020 recession were greater than any time in the 15 years prior. This edition of Useful Stats examines data from the Census Bureau’s Business Formation Statistics (BFS) series covering business initiation activity as indicated by applications for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).

Recent Research: VDOs should pick investment partners with exit-tinted glasses

Forthcoming research suggests venture development organizations, that is, those publicly-supported nonprofits that combine risk financing with expert technical assistance to grow local innovation-based startups, should give careful consideration to the exit histories of the venture capitalists they partner with to move the VDO’s portfolio firms through seed and series A investment rounds.

Entrepreneurship has declined while student loan debt has increased, Kauffman reports

Nearly 1 in 6 adults carrying outstanding student loan debt (1 in 3 among 18 to 29 year olds), with both the number of borrowers and the debt amount increasing in recent decades. Meanwhile, the share of new entrepreneurs aged 20 to 34 declined from 34 percent to 27 between 1996 and 2019, and a new issue brief from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation notes that among individuals who start businesses, higher levels of student loan debt are negatively related to business income and employment. Noting that the debt can directly affect an individual’s overall personal financial resources, and indirectly affect ability to start a business, the brief extends some considerations for decision makers who seek to respond to those challenges.

Want better industry and tech strategies? We need better data collection, ITIF says

The federal government has not developed strategic economic intelligence to understand the competitive position of its traded sectors, and the time is now for a more advanced technology strategy and that will require a better data collection system. That is one of the key takeaways of a recent report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). The report identifies three key areas with major statistical gaps and calls on Congress to fund modernization and expansion of federal statistical agency IT systems.

House committee backs new manufacturing office, increases for FAST and clusters

The House Committee on Appropriations advanced its first FY 2022 funding bills this week. Included in the financial services bill was $10 million for each of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s three main innovation programs: Regional Innovation Clusters, Federal and State Technology Partnership (FAST), and Growth Accelerators Fund Competition.

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