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AR, ID make innovation investments

April 27, 2017

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.


Appropriations bills approved by the Arkansas legislature and signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson includes funding for:

  • The transfer of $2 million to the Arkansas Acceleration Fund for the Arkansas business technology accelerator program, which was created earlier this year to provide funding for accelerators (see the Digest coverage of the legislation for more information);
  • $2 million for a Small Business Innovative Research Matching Grant program signed into law earlier this year that will match up to 50 percent of federal grant funds, up to a cap of $50,000 for Phase One SBIR awards and up to $100,000 for Phase Two SBIR awards;
  • $8.43 million for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Division of Science and Technology, an increase of just under $150,000 from last fiscal year; the funding includes $5 million for Innovate Arkansas;
  • $257,182 for the Arkansas Manufacturing Extension Network, the same as last fiscal year, the state’s MEP center; and,
  • $14.24 million from tobacco settlement funds for the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, an agricultural and medical research consortium dedicated to improving the health of Arkansans.



Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed several appropriation bills that impact the state innovation economy-focused initiatives, including:

  • $165,400 for TechHelp Idaho, the state’s MEP center, a 0.6 percent decrease from FY 2017;
  • $610,000, a 1.3 percent increase from FY 2017, for Small Business Development Centers;
  • $6.6 million for the Idaho STEM Action Center to support new STEM related opportunities for students and educators; and,
  • Two new cyber-security focused research facilities were authorized to be built in Idaho Falls; the Cybercore and the Collaborative Computing Center would be financed and owned by the state but paid for by the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) through lease payments.
Arkansas, Idahostate budget, state budgets