SSTI Digest

Geography: Illinois

Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine Release Innovation Indices

While many state programs provide periodic reports on their activities and impacts, a few states provide regular data on their innovation economy as a whole. These reports can be useful in assessing a state's overall approach to TBED and in finding new areas for strategic intervention. Recently, groups in Massachusetts, Maine and Illinois separately released innovation indices that provide quantitative guides to their state's progress in fostering innovation. Massachusetts The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative's John Adams Innovation Institute has released its 2011 Index of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy, an annual review of the Commonwealth's high-tech economy through 25 indicators. Each year, the index tracks Massachusetts' progress in these indicators, along with comparisons to other U.S. states and national economies. In addition to Massachusetts, the 2011 edition provides indicator data for comparison from seven leading technology states, including California, Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Highlights from the 25 indicators include Industry cluster employment and wages, patenting activity, R&D performed, business formation, funding for R&D, and talent flow and attraction. Massachusetts' innovation once again ranks impressively next to its benchmark state and national economies, though the report notes that several indicators have had a downward trend over the past few years. The state leads the U.S. in per capita venture capital and SBIR awards, but that lead has shrunk since 2000. Employment in the state increasingly has become concentrated in key innovation sectors, and maintained its high rate of entrepreneurship activity throughout the recession. Massachusetts must now find ways to better fund higher education and get its students interested in STEM fields. Download the report... Maine Maine's Department of Community and Economic Development has released three reports examining the state's R&D and innovation economy performance in 2011. The first, Maine's Innovation Index 2012, tracks 24 indicators measuring Maine's progress toward building an innovation-driven economy. The state's performance is compared to U.S trends and to the New England region as a whole. Maine continues to improve in R&D performance, patenting, math and science skills of its eighth graders, and science and engineering enrollments and degrees. The second publication, a comprehensive R&D evaluation, tracks innovation inputs and outputs and progress toward the goals of the state's 2010 S&T plan. The report finds that although Maine's technology investment levels have not met the goals set out in the plan, they have brought substantial increases in research capacity and infrastructure, as well as new companies. Recommendations include providing more targeted supported for strategic industries, linking capital programs to advisory services and supporting retraining for existing workers. A third report evaluates the growing importance of middle-skill jobs, jobs that require some post-high school training, but not a four-year degree. The report finds that 30 percent of all Maine jobs fall in this category and that many of the job opportunities that open for workers in the coming years will require some type of post-secondary certification or training. Download the reports... Illinois Several groups in Illinois, including the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, World Business Chicago and the Illinois Innovation Network, are taking a different approach to innovation tracking by releasing monthly updates that feature select indicators. Since September 2011, the Illinois Innovation Index has highlighted a number of key innovation metrics, including venture capital investment, entrepreneur optimism, and R&D funding for industry and universities. This month's issue uses the Chicago MSA's patent output to gauge the region's innovation trajectory. Using patent data since 2006, the issue shows a decrease in activity in multiplex communications, but increases in financial and data processing and continued strength in advanced manufacturing.

Chicago Economic Plan Emphasizes Advanced Manufacturing

his week Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel released the first draft of a long-term plan for the city's economic growth and job creation. The plan provides ten over-arching strategies to guide Chicago's economic development efforts, the first of which is a focus on advanced manufacturing. The plan also calls on the city to support entrepreneurship and innovation in emerging technology sectors. Read the full announcement...

Tech Talkin' Govs: Part IV

The fourth installment of SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs' series includes excerpts from speeches delivered in Illinois, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Rhode Island. The first three installments are available in the Jan. 11, Jan. 18 and Jan. 25 editions of the Digest. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, State of the State Address, Feb. 1, 2012 "Today, I'm announcing a $2.3 million dollar investment in '1871,' a new technology center at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago to foster and launch digital start-ups. "Today, I'm also announcing a $6 million dollar statewide competition to build ultra-high speed broadband in neighborhoods across Illinois. "Through this challenge, we want our neighborhoods to become Gigabit communities with Internet connections more than 100 times faster than today! Our goal is to build smart communities that will foster the job engines of the future." New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, State of the State Address, Jan. 31, 2012 "There are tax reductions that can spur job growth here in New Hampshire. Innovative companies create jobs and lay the foundation for a stronger future for our state. Five years ago, we put in place a research-and-development tax credit to attract companies to create the products of the future here in New Hampshire. "This year, I am proposing we double the research-and-development tax credit. This is a tax credit that works to help create jobs; the same cannot be said of the cut in the tobacco tax. "The cut in the tobacco tax was nonsensical. That money would have been better spent on our community college and university systems, for example. We should roll it back, and use the revenue to invest in our economic future." Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, State of the State Address, Jan. 31, 2012 "I believe there is tremendous opportunity for our state to grow our economy in the Knowledge District, with the 'meds and eds' leading the way. We must have the wisdom and foresight to make good decisions regarding our hospitals and our educational institutions. ... "... [W]e must be a state that provides access to capital and encourages innovation. I have heard from many Rhode Islanders who have exciting and promising ideas. But they are unable to obtain the needed resources to invest in new technologies, expand their operations, or start a new company. This is an area where we need to work together with experts and develop a plan for Rhode Island to strategically invest our state and private assets in the types of industries that will bring good jobs to our state." Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, State of the State Address, Jan. 30, 2012 "Access is critical to a successful education program. Let me speak plainly, for the last several years we have not been funding higher education's capital plans to the degrees necessary to meet growing student demand. We need more space to train students in science, technology, engineering, and math — critical subjects in which we must provide more trained graduates. "This budget will finally provide the state's funding for the long-overdue science building at MTSU, the science laboratory facilities at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, a new patient diagnostic center at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, as well as the planning money for new buildings at Nashville State Community College and Northeast State Community College, the University of Memphis, and the University of Tennessee — Chattanooga."

Seven States Selected to Identify, Implement Strategies for Enhancing Manufacturing

A newly established policy academy providing guidance and technical assistance will help seven states improve their environment for innovation and align state R&D investments, workforce development and education systems with current and future needs of advanced manufacturing industries. The policy academy will help each state develop a plan or overcome barriers for putting a plan into action through a highly interactive team-based process that includes input from NGA, MEP, EDA, SSTI, private sector consultants, and research organizations. Participating states include Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania. Ideas and strategies resulting from the academy's work will serve as models for all states. NIST, MEP and EDA are providing funding, leadership and technical assistance to the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. Learn more...

IL Launches $78M Small Business and Startup Initiative

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently released details about Advantage Illinois, an initiative that will provide financing and assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Initial funding for the initiative will be provided by the federal government through the U.S. Treasury's State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will administer the program, will use the $78 million in federal funding to spur private lending to small- and medium-sized businesses.

Mayors Unveil Initiatives to Improve Cities' Competitiveness

From undertaking a joint regional initiative to improve two cities' competitiveness in advanced manufacturing to launching an effort for engaging venture capital companies and bringing in top university students to showcase area opportunities, mayors in Lexington and Louisville, Boston and Chicago recognize the value in promoting their cities as top destinations for growing tech-based economies. While each of the three recent announcements detailed below target different sectors of the innovation economy, they share the same mission of making their region more desirable for startups.

Pair of IL Bills Boost Investment in Tech-based Firms, Support Student Entrepreneurs

Gov. Pat Quinn this week signed into law two bills in support of tech-based companies and student entrepreneurs. SB 107 builds on the state's Technology Development Account, which allows the state to invest up to 1 percent of its investment portfolio in venture capital firms that in turn invest in technology-based businesses. The new law increases the amount to 2 percent. Companies may use the funding for R&D, marketing new products and workforce expansion. Another bill signed by Gov. Quinn creates the Higher Education Technology Entrepreneur Center Act. This allows the board of trustees at the state's public universities and community colleges to establish a technology entrepreneur center. The centers will offer mentors, workshops, a structured course of work study to bring an innovation from concept to market, and provide contacts with potential private-sector investors.

TBED People & Orgs

Pamela Goldberg has been appointed as the executive director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. Currently, Goldberg serves as director of entrepreneurial leadership at Tufts University.

Illinois Unveils High-Tech Entrepreneur Network

Gov. Pat Quinn and the Illinois Innovation Council launched a new initiative to facilitate business and research collaboration and to provide services to the state's high-tech entrepreneurs. The Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) will be connected to Startup Illinois, the first Startup Region to be introduced by the national Startup America Partnership. Read the announcement...

TBED People

Karel Schubert has been appointed executive director of the Bioscience Association of West Virginia. Schubert most recently founded and is the chief executive officer of BioSynectics, a St. Louis-based bioscience firm.

Job Corner

The Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority, a semi-autonomous Hawaii State agency that developed and manages a globally unique and innovative technology incubation and commercial park in Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawaii, currently is seeking an Executive Director. The Executive Director will lead and execute NELHA's mission to develop new and diversified drivers for the Hawaii economy by providing resources, facilities and services for energy technology and ocean science research, education and commercialization activities.

Tech Talkin' Govs, Part VI

The sixth installment of SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series includes excerpts from speeches delivered in Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, New Jersey and North Carolina. The first five installments are available in the Jan. 5, Jan. 12, Jan. 19, Jan. 26 and Feb. 9 issues of the Digest.