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$5M Investment Breathes Life into Tennessee TBED Program

April 23, 2008

A strong research base, a climate where entrepreneurs can thrive, access to risk capital, and a network of partner organizations have long been considered by policymakers and practitioners the formula for success and sustainability in technology-based economy. The Tennessee Technology Development Corporation (TTDC) unveiled its new strategic plan last week, leveraging these resources to build the state’s economic development portfolio by strengthening the science and technology sectors.
The new plan is TTDC’s solution to creating and implementing an innovation-based competitiveness agenda with a statewide scope – a task handed down by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development this year with a $5 million investment.
The strategic plan calls for the creation of four new boards, each comprised of members of the TTDC board of directors and individuals recognized as experts in scientific research, entrepreneurship, and capital formation in rural and urban communities. They include:

  • Tennessee Strategic Research Board – This board is charged with growing Tennessee’s research base by facilitating sponsored research between private sector companies and universities working to increase the flow of innovation from laboratories to the private sector.
  • Tennessee Entrepreneurship Network – This network will create a statewide network of entrepreneurship support systems, which will seek to foster technology-based entrepreneurship and make training, mentoring and other resources more accessible to aspiring entrepreneurs.
  • Tennessee Capital Formation Board – This board will work to increase the supply and accessibility of risk capital investment for Tennessee’s technology-based businesses.
  • Tennessee TBED Stakeholder Relations Board – This board will leverage and align the resources and activities of existing TBED programs already working in urban and rural communities.

In March, TTDC also launched a new Phase 0 program to provide Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) assistance to high-tech and biotech companies throughout the state. The Phase 0 program is funded with an initial $100,000 and provides up to $4,000 in funding for qualified businesses that need assistance applying for the federal SBIR/STTR grants. The money is to improve the quality and competitiveness of Phase I proposals. TTDC hopes to remove the barriers for emerging companies applying for the grants who are often held back by lack of financial resources and industry connections.
A press release outlining TTDC’s strategic plan is available at: http://www.tntechnology.org/

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