SSTI Digest

Geography: Arkansas

State and Local Tech-based ED RoundUp

San Pablo, CA, College to Use $2.1M EDA Grant to Build Biotech Incubator

Contra Costa College has secured a $2.1 million federal grant for a biotech startup center, the Contra Costa Times reported earlier this month. A matching requirement set up by the federal Economic Development Administration, the source of the $2.1 million, means the project will receive additional funding from nearby cities. San Pablo gave all of the amount asked of it, and Richmond contributed about half the match money, the Times states. Other cities putting up brief commitments will evaluate their support on a continuing basis. The 14,000-square-foot biotech incubator will allow space for eight tenants, once construction – expected to be done by next summer – is completed.

Keys to Growth Involve Discovery, Engineering and Entrepreneurship, Report Says

A 19-year veteran of the technology-based economic development field has co-authored a guide that outlines strategies for growth in the knowledge-based economy. The Keys to Growth in the New Economy:Investing in Discovery, Engineering, and Entrepreneurship draws on the experiences of John Ahlen, who has led the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority (ASTA) since 1984. The report is co-authored by Mark Diggs, Chairman and CEO of Maryland-based Ontology Works, Inc.


Otto Loewer is leaving his position as dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas to become the founding director of the university's new Economic Development Institute.

Summer Opportunities Lure Students Toward Tech Careers

Many efforts to encourage young Americans to pursue careers in science, engineering and manufacturing took advantage of students having the summer off from regular classes. Programs range from one-week science camps to season-long internships and cooperative workstudies. To help other communities begin planning for the end of the 2003 school year, SSTI highlights a few examples from this past summer in this article.

Local TBED Round Up

Blythewood, South Carolina 

With an estimated population of 450, the community of Blythewood is soon to be home to the largest technology development project undertaken by the South Carolina Department of Commerce, according to an August 9 article in The State. The agency has identified 1,400 acres of land for creation of a research and technology park. Planners anticipate the community's proximity to Columbia, the University of South Carolina, and several large tech businesses will help attract new tech jobs to the area. 

Camden, Arkansas 

The Associated Press reports grants to Camden, totaling $3 million, from the Economic Development Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency are being used to clear and decontaminate a brownfield site to make way for a new business incubator and light industrial park. The incubator facility will be financed by a local sales tax approved by Camden voters to support economic development efforts. 

Lorain, Ohio 

Lorain County Community College is building a $6 million Engineering and Developmet Center to house facilities for software development, computer science programs and the Great Lakes Incubator for Development Enterprises, a technology business incubator. The center will place considerable attention on helping area manufacturing businesses become more technologically advanced or digitized. Manufacturing accounts for 31 percent of the county's employment base. More information is available at 

State & Local Round Up

Camden, Arkansas

The June 19, 2001 issue of The Bond Buyer reported that Camden, with a population just over 13,000, approved a one-cent sales tax to raise $6 million over four years to support downtown business revitalization efforts. Plans include construction of a business incubator and development of a 500-acre business park.


The 2002 budget passed by the state’s General Assembly includes $1 million to support the creation of a research park in Fort Leonard Wood. The Missouri Technology Investment Fund, which supports the Electronic Materials Applied Research Center, Missouri Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Innovation Centers, and Centers for Advanced Technology received an appropriation of $5,114,652. Of the total, Governor Holden vetoed a $549,000 appropriation for the SBDCs and $200,000 for a fruit and vegetable experiment station at Southwest Missouri State University. For the full economic development appropriation bill see:


Jim Pickens will be the permanent director of the Arkansas Department of Economic Development. Mr. Pickens has served as interim director since February 2.

Upcoming Conferences of Note

The following is a sampling of the more than 60 events included in the SSTI Calendar of Events webpage:

State & Local Tech-Based ED Round Up


The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that Fayetteville city officals are looking at alternative locations to create the Arkansas Research and Technology Park since a wetlands has grown to consume 80 of the 289 acres originally purchased for the park in 1994. A possible front-runner site, according to the paper, is an area that would closely link the park to the University of Arkansas Engineering Research Center, the Genesis Technology Incubator, and the High Density Electronics Center. State, federal, and private funding sources currently are being investigated for the technology cluster-based economic development project.


The Georgia Research Alliance is leading the state's effort to transform Atlanta into a nationally recognized center for cancer research and treatment. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reports the state legislature approved $44 million this year for construction of the first of three centers of excellence connected to universities and research hospitals. Plans call for spending up to $400 million of tobacco settlement funds to leverage $600 million in private investment toward the goal. The strategic plan for a Georgia Cancer Coalition to coordinate the effort and hire a Coalition director should be completed this summer. More information is available at

Bipartisan Efforts Deliver New Tech Programs, Acts for Arkansas

A wide range of research and tech-based economic development bills were approved by the Arkansas legislature, which ended its legislative session in mid-April. With proposals and support coming both from Republican Governor Huckabee and the heavily Democratic legislature, Arkansas is the latest state to demonstrate broad bipartisan support for investing in science and technology.

Bills addressed areas as varied as venture capital, life sciences research, creation of a chief information officer, and implementation of the state’s geographic information system. Highlights of the legislative session include:

Incubators: Proven Tools for Tech-based Economic Development

The headlines of many tech and business publications scream of massive Internet incubator layoffs, closures, and restructuring. The rapid rise and fall of these organizations has left some local tech-based economic development practitioners wondering if encouraging the growth of incubator facilities is a worthwhile strategy to pursue. Closer scrutiny of the incubator phenomenon of the last few years, however, reveals many communities and states are increasing their investments in facilities to encourage technology start-ups at the same time for-profit incubators are closing. 

Whether it is called a technology incubator, business accelerator, or innovation center, the real difference seems to lie in the orientation or goals of the entity: is it intended to make money for its private investors or is it organized as a not-for-profit to encourage local technology business growth? The dire headlines and talk of incubator crashes all refer to for-profit accelerators formed in the past two years to cash in on the dot-com craze. When the craze crashed, so did many of these get-rich-quick entities. 

On the other hand, the number of non-profit technology incubators -- those with a true economic development emphasis -- continues to explode. A daily sweep of newspapers around the country reveals at least one story each day related to creating or expanding another nonprofit incubator. A few recent examples illustrate the point: 

Little Rock, Arkansas: Arkansas Bioventures an incubator project of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences received $1.5 million from the Economic Development Administration to support the construction of a 20,000 sq. ft. facility to encourage the growth of medical technology and biotechnology businesses. 

Macon, Georgia: the 12-year-old Allied Enterprise Center is expanding its programs to help existing businesses outside the incubator, to launch smaller companies to address some of their manufacturing needs. 

New Albany, Indiana: the city is in the early stages of finding capital to convert the former Grand Theater into a high tech business incubator. 

Norman, Oklahoma: In April, the Norman Economic Development Coalition will open eTec – the Emerging Technology Entrepreneurial Center to support business growth and commercialization of technology coming out of the University of Oklahoma. 

Rural Utah: Governor Mike Leavitt has requested $250,000 to support the creation of high-technology incubators in rural areas around the state. 

Richmond, Virginia: Capital One Bank gave the Southside Community Development and Housing Corporation a grant of $225,000 to create a 10,000 sq. ft business incubator and entrepreneurial training center. 

Huntington, West Virginia: a $5 million technology incubator is proposed to anchor the city’s new 95-acre technology park. City officials are looking to use federal funds to support the center’s construction. 

Madison, Wisconsin: The nonprofit Genesis Development Corp. is securing funds to turn a small shopping center on the south end of town into a technology incubator. The city has committed $655,000 of its federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to the project. 

In addition to federal funding from sources like the Economic Development Administration and CDBG, local tech-based economic development practitioners looking to create or strengthen a tech incubator program may wish to check out any of the incubator titles in the SSTI bookstore and to contact the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA). Based in Athens, Ohio, NBIA is a member-based organization dedicated to strengthening local business incubation efforts around the country. A wealth of information and resources are available at their annual conference, training institutes, and website: 

State S&T Round Up


The Ways & Means Committee of the Arizona House of Representatives has passed a bill to eliminate $250 million in sales tax exemptions for a number of products and services, including telecommunications equipment and solar devices. If the bill passes, proceeds would be used to raise teachers' salaries.