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: California

TBED People

Jill Kline has been named the State director of the Wyoming Small Business Development Center.

NSF Awards $74M for Engineering Research Centers

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced that it will award $74 million total for the creation of four interdisciplinary research and education centers as part of the third generation of NSF Engineering Research Centers. In addition to their primary focus on commercialization and education, these centers will emphasize innovation, entrepreneurship, small business collaboration, and international partnerships. For the first time, two of the ERCs will be co-funded by the Department of Energy. One, led by Arizona State University, will investigate quantum energy and sustainable solar technologies. A second at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville will develop more reliable and efficient electricity transmission networks. The other two ERCs will focus on research into urban water infrastructure and mind-machine interface at Stanford University and the University of Washington, respectively.

Incubator Round Up

Spending time at a technology or business incubator may be the key to learning about entrepreneurship. Some universities, seeking to ramp up entrepreneurship programs, are turning to incubators as real-world teachers. A recent Washington Post article points to several business schools pairing traditional education, such as courses and lectures, with less-conventional approaches, including incubators and business competitions to prepare students for opportunities outside the classroom. Recent announcements of new and emerging technology incubators from across the U.S. and Canada are included below.

Statewide Strategic Plan Outlines California's Shift to a "Production Economy"

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom hopes that by the fall, lawmakers will enact a comprehensive legislative reform of state economic development entities in order to begin implementing a plan for growth and competitiveness that builds on the diverse strengths of California's regional economies. The lieutenant governor last week presented the first statewide economic plan in more than 10 years, outlining steps to develop a new economic model that "embraces the shift from a consumption-based economy to a production economy focused on global trade."

Incubator Round Up

Recent announcements of new and emerging technology incubators range from Google's selection of Cape Town, South Africa to launch a pilot incubator supporting technology entrepreneurs that it hopes to replicate globally to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's plan to create a statewide business incubator focusing on workforce training. Select announcements from across the globe are highlighted below.

Sacramento Leads California in Cleantech Job Growth

Sacramento's Green Capital Alliance reports that the six-county region is now home to 13,000 clean technology jobs and 98 clean energy companies. In a five-year progress report on Sacramento's clean energy cluster roadmap, the group document's Sacramento's rise as one of the country's key hubs for clean energy technology development. The report provides a detailed look at the alliance's efforts to leverage regional partners over the past few years and its immediate plans to expand the region's data gathering and smart grid infrastructure. Read the progress report ...

SBA Selects 10 Regional Efforts for Cluster

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the selection of 10 regional economic development and job creation efforts through a new pilot program, Innovative Economies, that supports small business participation in regional economic clusters. SBA's funding is designed to expand the opportunities and the role small businesses play in these regional collaborations. The awardees were selected from among 173 applicants. Awards went to organizations in: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina. Read the full release

California Candidates Champion Clean Energy, Tax Cuts to Grow Jobs

California's next governor will inherit a dire budget situation and an unemployment rate that is above the national average. While the two main candidates vying for the job offer different visions for enhancing California's economy, both plans set forth policies and incentives to encourage renewable energy development and deployment and provide resources to support entrepreneurs. Jerry Brown (D) has a clean energy jobs plan that he says will produce half a million jobs in research, development, manufacturing, construction, installation, and maintenance over the next decade. His opponent, Meg Whitman (R), would enact tax cuts in targeted areas to support job growth, including increasing the R&D tax credit and eliminating the small business startup tax.

California's Green Economy Remains a National and Global Leader, According to New Report

California's green economy remains strong through the Great Recession, according to a new report — the 2010 California Green Innovation Index. The yearly report published by Next 10 provides dashboard of indicators that track changes over time. This year's report indicates that California's clean tech companies continue to attract venture capital (VC) investments, the state leads the nation in clean tech patents and green manufacturing has grown. In many parts of the green economy, the state leads the nation (e.g., energy productivity, energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, clean tech patents) and the globe (e.g., venture capital).

Race for the Renewable Energy Pay-Off: Recent State Actions

Over the past few months, several states have announced efforts aimed at reducing the nation's dependence on oil. While the importance and urgency of such efforts is perhaps magnified in the wake of one of the worst U.S. environmental disasters, the shift to a renewable energy-focused economy also brings with it the expectation of job creation, new product development, and increased revenue for states struggling in the aftermath of the Great Recession.

California Launches New Office of Economic Development

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed an executive order establishing the Governor's Office of Economic Development. The new office will offer assistance to businesses, connect entrepreneurs to state and regional organizations and encourage collaboration among research institutions and the private sector to promote emerging sectors. Read the announcement at:

TBED People

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an executive order establishing the Governor's Office of Economic Development and appointed Joel Ayala as the director of the new office.