SSTI Digest

Geography: Illinois

Illinois Tech Index Launched

Last week, NASDAQ saw the debut of the Illinois Tech Index (symbol: ILTI), currently recognized as the only technology index in the U.S. tracking publicly traded technology companies within an individual state. Based on 61 firms with their headquarters in Illinois, the Illinois Tech Index is derived from the aggregate value of the firms’ total shares outstanding. When the index officially started on Monday, May 19, the base value of the ILTI was 1000.00. As of Wednesday’s close of markets, the Index finished at 969.20.
The AeA and the Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization (iBio) identified within certain industries the Illinois companies eligible for inclusion. The composition of the index will be updated on a semiannual basis. Besides highlighting the state’s leading tech companies, the mission of the Illinois Tech Index is to increase the state’s venture capital and technology investment activity, attract technology talent and jobs, and support entrepreneurial growth.
Longtime readers of the SSTI Weekly Digest may remember attempts to tie distinct groups of technology companies to the market. The “Baldrige Index,” for example, was last covered in the Feb. 28, 1997 issue of the Digest. This fictitious index was composed of the publicly traded winners of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards. In that year, the collection of five wholly owned award winners outperformed the S&P 500 by a ratio of 3.5 to 1. NIST’s comparison of the winners of Baldrige Awards to the S&P 500 took place from 1994 until 2004.
Additional information about the Illinois Tech Index can be found at:

Recent Research: Measuring the Effectiveness of State R&D Tax Credits

Two weeks ago, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter vetoed legislation to repeal state R&D income tax credits for Idaho companies. Among his reasons for the veto, Gov. Otter claimed removing the credits would put Idaho at a competitive disadvantage because surrounding states over similar incentives. Was he right?

People & TBED Organizations

The Beaver County (Pa.) CO-OP announced it will change its name to StartingGate. The incubator will continue to assist entrepreneurs and new business start-ups and help expand existing businesses.

People & TBED Organizations

Publisher's Note: SSTI notes with much sadness the March 5 passing of Indiana State Sen. David Ford, following a battle with pancreatic cancer. David was a good friend not only of SSTI's, but also of the tech-based economic development community across the nation. In addition to being a tireless and cheerful advocate for investing in science and technology, he was also a gentleman in the true sense of the word, and we miss him greatly.

Illinois Governor Proposes Own Economic Stimulus Plan, Yet Cuts Funding for TBED Programs

Gov. Rod Blagojevich unveiled a $25 billion capital plan supporting, in small part, several energy and technology projects, while at the same time eliminating funding in his fiscal year 2009 operating budget for several TBED-related programs within the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).


The bulk of the spending for the governor’s Illinois Works proposal would be spent on road and bridge construction ($14.4 billion), with $1.1 billion earmarked for both higher education and energy and technology projects. Gov. Blagojevich said during his Budget Address that the plan – which requires $11 billion in new state funds – would be funded primarily through a brief sale of the state lottery, which is expected to generate $10-12 billion. Of that amount, $7 billion would be used to fund the capital plan, and the state would issue bonds for another $3.8 billion, according to the governor’s office. The proposal invests in new and existing programs within DCEO, including:

People & TBED Organizations

Lisa Porter was named the first director of the new Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity. Porter, NASA's associate administrator of the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, said she will leave the agency in February.

Illinois Boosts TBED Strategy with New Entrepreneurship Initiatives

With rumors of recession building, several of the nation’s governors are announcing new TBED-focused initiatives in 2008 – many of which will be presented to lawmakers for funding in the coming months. In Illinois, Gov. Rod Blagojevich unveiled two new initiatives encouraging entrepreneurship to grow high-technology businesses throughout the state.


Both initiatives focus on supporting new and serial entrepreneurs with developing and commercializing technologies. The Entrepreneurship in Residence Program (EIR) provides mentorship by pairing experienced entrepreneurs with young entrepreneurs to help them start new businesses. The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC) will administer the program through a grant totaling $860,000 awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The CEC will select qualified entrepreneurs to enroll in the EIR program who, in turn, will identify promising technologies and match them with young entrepreneurs. The goal is to help them start a business and move toward a first round of financing. Each EIR-approved business is eligible to receive up to $80,000 for prototype development, technology assessments, intellectual property protection and market assessments.  


The second initiative, called the IL-Celerate Program, will guide young entrepreneurs as they develop technology companies through a 12-week process that ends with the completion of a prototype-stage product or service. The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) will initially sponsor five seed-stage companies through the process, awarding grants of up to $15,000. IL-Celerate participants also receive incubation services such as office space, furniture, Internet access, phone service, and conference facilities in ITA’s 26,000-square-foot technology community center, TechNexus. Total funding for the program is $120,000.


Elsewhere in the country, states have announced similar initiatives supporting entrepreneurship as part of an overall TBED strategy. Hoping to garner support from lawmakers in the coming legislative session, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty unveiled a $70 million rural entrepreneurship initiative to facilitate new business development through networks, seed funding and tax exemptions (see the Oct. 3, 2007 issue of the Digest).


In Ohio, the TechLift initiative was created earlier this year through the state’s Third Frontier Program to provide direct services to entrepreneurs in five signature technologies throughout the northeast region, including advanced materials, biosciences, electronics, information and communication technologies, and advanced energy (see the Oct. 10, 2007 issue of the Digest).


More information on the Entrepreneur in Residence and IL-Celerate programs are available at:


Jeff Coney was named Northwestern University's first director of economic development.

Illinois Governor Proposes $100M to Improve Capital Access

In his recent combined State of the State and budget address on March 7, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich proposed the formation of the Illinois Community Assets Fund (ICAF), a $100 million venture designed to increase access to capital and financing to economically distressed communities and populations that have had inadequate access to mainstream capital markets within the state. The assets of ICAF would be contained within the State Treasury, and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) would administer the fund. All $100 million would be distributed within a three-year period.


The ICAF would consist of the following four programs:

Fed Considers Connection between Universities, Economic Growth

It won’t come to any surprise to Digest readers that there’s a connection between universities and economic prosperity. In addition to educating students and advancing science and technological innovation, the localized economic impact of institutions, alone, provides a buffer to economic swings for many mid-sized and smaller cities and college towns. How best to incorporate universities into regional tech-based economic development strategies without compromising core missions is an art not every community has mastered. The issue has captured the attention of the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has long championed rural economic growth through entrepreneurship and innovation, witnessed most readily through the Main Street Economist.

Exciting Opportunities Available on SSTI’s Job Corner

Did your New Year's resolutions involve making a career change? If so and you've yet to fulfill that resolution, visit the SSTI Job Corner at

In addition to the new opportunities described below, the SSTI Job Corner has openings for these positions:

Job Corner: Illinois Technology Development Alliance Seeks President

The Illinois Technology Development Alliance (ITDA) is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation providing entrepreneur training, commercialization, and technology transition services for government, major research institutions, and corporations. ITDA is looking for a president who will work closely with the organization's board to establish a work plan and priorities to fulfill the mission of the ITDA and will have operating responsibility for the successful implementation of the plan. He or she also will serve as a key public leader in the state and region advocating for the technology sector. The presidents position requires a leader with exceptional experience and capability. More information on this opportunity is available through the SSTI Job Corner at

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