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Gov Announces $50M Innovation Strategy for Tennessee Regional Jobs Plan

May 04, 2011

Hoping to capitalize on Tennessee's "entrepreneurial spirit," Gov. Bill Haslam today announced today a $50 million innovation strategy as part of his regional jobs plan outlined last month. Named INCITE for its focus on innovation, commercialization, investment, technology and entrepreneurship, the initiative encompasses four components, including:

  • Innovation Coordination — The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) will work with each of the nine regions to develop a strategic plan for economic development based on the region's unique assets. The governor said an innovation component will be part of each of those plans.
  • Commercialization — ECD will launch new initiatives to help move products and technologies from the research lab to the marketplace faster. The governor's budget proposal includes $10 million for the Memphis Research Consortium as part of this effort.
  • Entrepreneurship — ECD will fund new or existing business incubators in each of the state's nine regions and create a statewide incubator network to share best practices and support efforts to raise capital.
  • Co-Investment Funds — The state will target $30 million toward the creation of early stage, seed, and mezzanine capital co-investment funds. The funds will be designed to be self-sustaining and to complement existing lending programs, according to the governor's office.


The INCITE initiative is part of the governor's Jobs4TN plan announced last month, which seeks to create high-quality jobs through a regional approach to economic development. The Jobs4TN plan also will prioritize recruitment efforts on six target clusters in which the state has a competitive advantage, including advanced manufacturing and energy technologies.