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.


Geography: Arkansas

Universities launch incubators, accelerators and funds in 2019

Universities frequently play an integral role in providing activities, research, and products that positively affect or support local, regional, state and national economic development or strategic goals.  In higher-education’s efforts to align its participation in innovation and entrepreneurship systems, universities’ incubators, accelerators and fund programs are essential in assisting their faculty, staff, or students in the services and support needed to create startups, bring products to market, or provide critically needed funding.

$24M Foundation gift to U. Arkansas transforms commercialization, economic development

Late last year, the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation announced a $23.7 million investment to strengthen technology-based economic development efforts at the University of Arkansas.

Tech Talkin’ Govs part 4: Opportunity Zones, workforce development, tech hubs, and more in governors plans to build economies

Governors are reaching into their toolkits to build tech-based economies, utilizing Opportunity Zones, tax credits, broadband infrastructure and workforce development initiatives among other things. This week, as we continue to review their state of the state addresses for TBED news, we see some governors still trying to reshape their states’ struggling economies while others are building on past successes and proposing new initiatives.

States’ fiscal picture improves with growing economy

The ability of states to deliver the services promised to its residents relies on their fiscal soundness. With most states beginning their fiscal year in July, SSTI has reviewed the current fiscal standing for each state and here presents a snapshot of our findings.

Most states ended their fiscal year with a surplus and continue to recover from the Great Recession, with a growing economy and job gains. However, they face continuing demands on their budgets, with expanded Medicaid payments and the growing opioid crisis confronting nearly every state. Such decisions affect the state’s ability to fund innovation efforts, from the amount of support available for higher education and STEM programs, to funding for entrepreneurship, and forging public private partnerships to strengthen innovation programming that the private sector cannot fully support.

Our analysis found that some states that rely on the energy sector to fund their spending priorities continue to struggle, while others are already factoring in anticipated revenues as a result of new Supreme Court rulings involving gaming and online sales tax collections.

Recent reports highlight new findings on educational attainment

Three recent news items shed important light on educational attainment and economic well-being and one promising approach to increasing educational attainment among lower income people. While the Pew Research Center finds the share of college-educated young adults in the U.S. workforce is higher than ever before, the Economist reports that the “return on investment” in getting a college degree is leveling off.

Tech Talkin’ Govs 2018, part 6: AR, CT, ME, WY look to boost economies

SSTI’s Tech Talkin’ Govs feature continues as governors across the country are wrapping up their state of the state addresses. We review each speech for comments relevant to the innovation economy, and bring you their words directly from their addresses.

In this latest installment of Tech Talkin’ Govs, Arkansas is celebrating its low unemployment while Maine says it will focus on a commercialization bond and grow the workforce in part through a student debt relief program. Connecticut wants new goals for clean energy and Wyoming’s focus on economic diversification continues with the governor there calling for full funding for the ENDOW initiative.

States of Innovation 2017: Free tuition moving into more state toolboxes

This week we continue our series on state legislation pertaining to the innovation economy that has been enacted this year around the country. This second installment of the States of Innovation 2017 series deals with free tuition.

A number of states took action to increase the education and skills of their workforce by implementing free or greatly reduced tuition programs at either community colleges or state colleges. The move to increase access to higher education while not new, took up increased urgency this year. With Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Tennessee all taking action this past year, Maine and North Carolina were among others considering other options but as of today’s publication not moving the proposals forward.

AR, ID make innovation investments

As the state budgeting process comes to a close, SSTI will report over the coming weeks on actions taken by state legislatures to invest in economic growth through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. Up this week is a look at commitments that legislatures in Arkansas and Idaho have made including funds for a new accelerator program, Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers, and more than $14 million for a biosciences research institute.

State grants, partnerships focus on workforce needs in several states

Noting a growing need for additional education to meet workforce needs, several states have announced programs focusing on education and workforce needs, channeling state funding to grants that will focus on aligning learning opportunities with business and industry needs, or creating new initiatives in the private sector. Reaching a higher educational attainment among a greater percentage of the workforce by 2025 is also a goal set by several of the states.

Arkansas targets science, tech growth

Arkansas has new tools targeting growth in the state’s innovation and technology sector after Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed legislation creating a $2 million accelerator grant program for startups and establishing a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) matching funds program. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) Division of Science and Technology will administer the programs and seek corporate sponsors to provide matching funds to create accelerator events throughout the state.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, Part I: AR, AZ, CT, IA, ID, IN, KS, ND, SD, VT, WI - workforce, education top concerns

SSTI again presents its latest round of Tech Talkin’ Govs, where governors’ comments about TBED issues are excerpted from their state of the state and inaugural addresses. Today’s roundup includes STEM spending and workforce development in Idaho, education in Arizona, manufacturing in Connecticut and a nod to technological change in North Dakota, inaugural addresses from new governors in Vermont and Indiana, and more reports from governors who gave their addresses on the 10th. Next week the Digest will continue with Part II of Tech Talkin’ Govs featuring news from the next round of addresses.

Economic and Education Ballot Measures Get Mixed Results

Bond issues supporting higher education goals got mixed results in Tuesday’s election. A bond issue in Rhode Island to be used for the renovation and construction of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Engineering buildings was a winner in this year’s election, receiving 59.3 percent approval. The bond issue that would have created the Montana Biomedical Research Authority was not as lucky, with 56.9 percent of voters there rejecting the measure.

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