SSTI Digest

Geography: Minnesota

States Pass Innovation-Focused Legislation

Investments and policy to support innovation-focused agendas have flourished with the close of the 2014 legislative sessions in several states. Crowdfunding legislation, incentives for attracting talent, higher education affordability, punishing patent trolls, and encouraging greater accountability are some of the areas where lawmakers focused their efforts.

New Commercialization Efforts Launched by Universities, Industry Partners

University-focused initiatives that help bring new technologies and products to market help drive regional economic development and encourage an entrepreneurial culture on campuses. To create stronger connections with the private sector, eliminate barriers between universities and the innovation community, and better support industry needs, some higher education institutions are honing in on entrepreneurship and commercialization activities.

State and Municipal Investments Seek To Overcome U.S. Broadband Setbacks

Recent court decisions regarding high-speed Internet competition and net neutrality have put U.S. broadband competitiveness on uncertain terrain. Despite two decades of publically supported high-speed data infrastructure efforts, many rural areas still lack access and even densely populated areas remain underserved.  New statewide efforts in Kentucky, Minnesota and Iowa have been announced to improve broadband services and boost economic competitiveness. In addition, Google has announced that it will expand its ultra-fast fiber services to nine more cities across the country.

States Take Action to Capitalize on Angel Capital Recovery

Angel capital has long played a vital role in state and regional innovation economies, but recent trends in investment capital have pushed angel investment to the fore. As the supply of seed stage venture capital declines in many parts of the country, angels have stepped in to bridge early stage funding gaps for technology startups. The proliferation of angel investors and groups over the last few years has outpaced the recovery of the venture capital industry since early 2009, according to data from the PricewaterhouseCoopers/National Venture Capital Association Moneytree Survey and the University of New Hampshire Center for Venture Research. In the midst of these changes, many states have stepped up their efforts to attract and incentivize angel investment. Recent initiatives in Minnesota, Florida, Kentucky and West Virginia seek to book seed and early stage capital by working with angel investors.

Universities in MN, WA Post Impressive Gains in Spinoffs

A recent report by the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) dubbed American universities the “unsung heroes in the economic recovery.” Through licensing and startup activity, universities and other groups earned more than $2.6 billion total income from royalties and other sources in FY12 alone, according to the report highlights. Research universities often garner more attention for their role in product and company development. Such is the case at the University of Washington and University of Minnesota, where officials posted a record number of spinoffs from university technology over the past year.

MN, ND, NE, RI Sponsor Internship Programs to Build Relationships Between Employers, Students

During this year’s legislative sessions, several states looked toward creating, providing support for or redesigning programs that help incentivize businesses to hire and mentor student interns. In an effort to spur rural internships, Minnesota lawmakers approved a new tax credit program to support internships for students in greater Minnesota. In North Dakota, lawmakers committed $1.5 million to their Operation Intern program, while Nebraska lawmakers updated their Intern Nebraska grant program to provide students with a high-quality internship experience. Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed a bill that will allow high school students (16 years and older) to engage in pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship and internship experiences during school hours in approved manufacturing career and technical programs.

AZ, NJ, WI Increase Capital for Entrepreneurship, MN's Angel Tax Credit Closed for 2013

Over the last week, several states have announced/passed new programs focused on increasing the capital available to spur small business growth and innovation. Officials from New Jersey announced the state's new angel tax credit will take effect July 1. In Arizona and Wisconsin two bills await gubernatorial approval that would rework the Arizona R&D tax credit program and establish a $75 million venture capital fund in Wisconsin. Meanwhile, the Minnesota state legislature did not approve an additional $5 million for its popular Small Business Investment Tax Credit.

Looming Revenue Shortfalls Latest Challenge for Many States

Amid the economic uncertainty surrounding fiscal cliff negotiations, and what it means for states, some governors are erring on the side of caution when it comes to funding recommendations for the upcoming year. At the same time, several state budget officers are projecting significant revenue shortfalls in the current fiscal year or biennium as a result of lower than expected tax collections.

Voters Reject Tax Increases, Back Bonds for Higher Ed

While election night's main focus was on the presidential race, the importance of ballot measures for states and metros is growing as public services and budgets are being severely trimmed. A recent article in The New Republic reports on a new trend where states are embracing ballot measures as a potential source of dedicated funds for targeted investments in regional economic growth and development.

New Federal, University Agreements Established to Encourage Industry-Sponsored Research

Innovative companies involved in commercializing research with universities and federal agencies often cite complicated contracts and uncertainty surrounding the process as a barrier to bringing more technologies to the marketplace. In an effort to remove some of those hurdles, two new initiatives recently were announced from the University of Minnesota (UM) and the Department of Energy (DOE).

Legislative Wrap-Up II: MA, MN, NJ Dedicate Funds for S&T

Recent legislative actions supporting technology-based economic development include level funding for the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, funding to support programs of the Minnesota Science and Technology Authority and the expansion of two state programs in support of technology and life sciences companies in New Jersey.

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.