SSTI Digest

Geography: Illinois

IL Unveils New Private, Nonprofit Partnership to Support Economic Competitiveness

At his State of the State address last week, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced that Illinois’ principal economic development organization, the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, as well as some of the state’s business leaders will collaborate to organize a newly formed private, nonprofit organization exclusively focused on increasing Illinois’ competitiveness for job creation and investment. A key recommendation of the governor's bipartisan transition committee last year, the Illinois Business and Economic Development Corporation (ILBEDC) is modeled from other successful state and local economic development organizations and will focus on sales, marketing and customer service.

IL, NM Invest in Venture Funds to Bolster Capital Access for Startups

This week, leaders in Illinois and New Mexico announced new investments to help seed and early stage technology startups access equity capital. The Illinois Treasurer will launch the Illinois Growth and Innovation Fund, which would invest $220 million over the next three years in 15-20 funds across the state. No more than 15 percent of the money will be placed with any particular fund. The state’s investment will target emerging tech companies, beginning later this quarter. New Mexico plans to launch a $40 million fund-of-funds, dubbed the Catalyst Fund. The state will target micro-funds in New Mexico, which must be able to match the state’s investment. The State Investment Council hopes the effort will double the amount of seed and early stage funding available in the state, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Delta Regional Authority Forms 35-Member Public-Private Research, Innovation Consortium

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) announced the establishment of a consortium for research and innovation that is intended to have a long-term positive economic impact on the region. The 35-member consortium will be comprised of universities and other private and public institutions in eight states – Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. DRA selected Arkansas State University to lead the consortium and bring together university research officers and local economic development leadership to support the commercialization efforts and economic impacts of research universities in the DRA's footprint. Founding members of the consortium include Delta State University, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, Southeast Missouri State University, University of Memphis and University of Tennessee at Martin. Read the announcement…

Intrastate Crowdfunding Moves Forward in Five States

Even after equity crowdfunding reached a milestone earlier this month with new Securities Exchange Commission proposed rule changes, state legislatures across the country continue to pass intrastate crowdfunding bills. In April, governors from Arizona (HB 2591) and Colorado (HB 1246) signed bills that will allow startups and other businesses in their respective states to raise capital via equity crowdfunding exemptions. Arizona and Colorado joined Massachusetts (Read more in the SSTI Digest) as states that have passed exemptions since the start of the year. The next state most likely to pass crowdfunding legislation is Minnesota – once they are able to finalize compromise between lawmakers and state regulators. In March, new legislation (HB 3429) was officially filed by Illinois State Rep. Carol Senate. The North Carolina state legislature once again is attempting to pass intrastate crowdfunding legislation. 

Federal Labs Launch Pilot Program for Accelerator Research Stewardship

The Illinois Accelerator Research Center (IARC) is a new research facility for scientists and engineers from Fermilab, Argonne, and Illinois universities to work alongside industrial partners to develop breakthroughs in accelerator science and apply them to areas such as computing, health, industry, and homeland security. Using electromagnetic fields to propel charged particles at high speeds and to contain them in well-defined beams, accelerator technology allows for the investigation of many aspects of particle physics and application in a variety of industries. As an economic development tool, the IARC intends to attract private industry partners to create new high-tech jobs, while simultaneously providing state-of-the-art training and education to researchers and practitioners. The facility also provides Fermilab with an increased opportunity to pursue future proposed particle accelerators, placing Illinois in a position to become a world leader in accelerator research, development, and industrialization, according to the IARC website.

CT, IL, NH, TX Budget Proposals Support STEM, Workforce, Research

This week, governors in Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, and Texas revealed their budget proposals, with commonalities around STEM education, workforce development, and university research initiatives. Governors in two states, New Hampshire and Texas, made growth in the innovation economy a specific priority area of their proposed budgets.

Tech Talkin' Govs: More Governors Use Addresses to Promote Higher Ed Investments

SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series has returned as governors across the country formally convene 2015 legislative sessions. The series highlights new and expanded TBED proposals from governors' State of the State, Budget and Inaugural addresses.

$20M Innovation Fund, Gov’s $1M Investment Highlight Chicago Innovation Exchange Grand Opening

With Gov. Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Sen. Mark Kirk, and University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer in attendance, the Chicago Innovation Exchange (CIE), a new startup incubator in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, had its grand opening last Thursday. The CIE is comprised of 32,000 square feet divided among three buildings across the city’s South Side: the central hub, with incubation and event space, the “CIE Skydeck” an 11th floor conference space, and a third location, set to open in 2015, with fabrication and prototyping lab space and equipment such as 3-D printers, mini-mills, and laser cutters. At the event, Gov. Quinn announced that the state would invest $1 million into the new center to support infrastructure and build-out of the space.  

Chicago Launches Effort to Train, Employ 1,000 Manufacturing Workers

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a coalition of Chicago organizations and private businesses have announced plans to place at least 1,000 workers in manufacturing jobs. The mayor’s 2015 budget proposal, presented this week, includes $200,000 for the effort, with another $750,000 in funds and in-kind contributions from partners. Recent growth in the region’s manufacturing sector has created an urgent need for workers with specific training and apprenticeships, according to the mayor’s announcement. Existing training programs would be leveraged to train participating workers and six local organizations have been tapped to aid in jobs placements. Learn more…

ISTC Maps Strategy to Expand IL University-Industry Partnerships for Economic Prosperity

Building stronger connections between universities and businesses in key industries could help generate new jobs, startups and technologies, according to an S&T roadmap released by the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC). ISTC notes that the division between the state’s research universities and companies has limited Illinois’ competitiveness, despite its high overall level of innovative activity. In order to address the issue, the group recommends focusing on six high potential areas, as well as expanding statewide efforts to create university-industry partnerships, such as the Illinois Corporate-Startup Challenge.

Chicago, Detroit Win Competition for Newest Manufacturing Hubs

The latest Department of Defense-led manufacturing innovation institutes will support cutting-edge research and product development in lightweight and modern metals and digital manufacturing and design. A consortium of 73 companies, nonprofits and universities will help launch the Chicago-based institute. The Detroit-area based consortium involves 60 partners. Earlier this year, North Carolina was selected as the location for the first institute with a focus on next generation power electronics. The president also announced a $70 million Department of Energy-sponsored competition for advanced composites manufacturing – the first of four new competitions to be launched this year. Read the announcement…

Highly Educated Workers Gravitate To, Between New York, Los Angeles and Chicago

Los Angeles County (CA), New York County (NY) and Cook County (IL) topped the list of places where people older than 25 with graduate or professional degrees moved to between 2007 and 2011, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s County-to-County Migration Flows Tables. Middlesex County (MA) and Fairfax County (VA) also ranked among the top destinations for highly educated transplants. The Census report provides data on domestic migration at the county level, including data on income and educational attainment. The report reveals that large flows of educated workers move both into and between these top counties. Read the Census report…