SSTI Digest

Geography: Minnesota

Twin Cities' Competitiveness Assessed by Great North Alliance

Despite an economic slowdown, the Twin Cities is more competitive than it was a year ago, according to a study released by the Great North Alliance, a regional civic leadership organization. Conducted annually, the Great North Opportunity Forecast uses regional productivity and innovation to predict future competitiveness and opportunity.

Minnesota Governor Outlines Biosciences Activities

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty recently unveiled a plan to help make Minnesota a leader in biosciences. Governor Pawlenty says the state's history, expertise and economic infrastructure make it better prepared than most other states to capitalize on the bioscience industry.

Telecommunications Needs of Greater Minnesota Companies Examined

Manufacturing jobs in rural Minnesota numbered almost 120,000 in 2000, a 25 percent increase since 1990, according to a recent study by the Center for Rural Policy and Development and Minnesota Technology Inc., two agencies dedicated to helping industry in Greater Minnesota. Meanwhile, manufacturing jobs in the state's metro area increased only 1.7 percent during the same period, the study shows.

MTI Seeks Tech Transfer Specialist

Minnesota Technology, Inc. (MTI), the state's leading tech-based economic development corporation, currently is searching for a dynamic individual with top-notch skills to help bring federal technology transfer activities to Minnesota companies. The successful candidate will develop partnerships with federal labs, identify opportunities for tech transfer activities, and assist companies with the development of proposals, agreements and licenses, and implement solutions to enhance their ability to compete and grow.

MTI Says Tech an Anchor for Minnesota's Economy

Minnesota's technology sector remains a diverse, well developed and stable anchor to the state's economy, according to a new report released by Minnesota Technology, Inc. (MTI), Minnesota's tech-based economic development organization.

Can the Innovation Process Survive A Competitive Market?

In Perfectly Competitive Innovation, a March 2002 research department staff report for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine address whether current copyright, licensing and patent laws which grant monopolist rights to inventors beneficial or harmful to the innovation process. The authors suggest the latter in certain markets. 

Most modern analysis of innovation, the authors contend, is based on models assuming monopolistic competition as a prerequisite for understanding innovation and growth. Instead, Boldrin and Levine conceive a model that confers the "right of first sale" practice that was granted to entrepreneurs historically [defined loosely as before the mid-19th century]. They also argue that, contrary to prevalent opinion, idea generation and the creative effort should be viewed as sunk costs instead of as fixed costs. Models based on competitive markets can address sunk costs. 

The econometric model developed by Boldrin and Levine supports the conclusions that: 

Advocacy Group En'Visions' New Economy for Duluth, Minn.

A group of community leaders bent on revitalizing the Duluth, Minn., economy and ensuring economic opportunities for the city recently moved one step closer toward accomplishing its goals. 

The Bridge Syndicate, a non-profit with more than 300 members, recently made public its plan for economic growth, issuing A Positive Vision for Duluth's Economy

In the plan, the group's economic development task force of 20 young business owners and professionals focus on three main principles:

Conference Sponsor Profile: Minnesota Technology, Inc.

Since its founding in 1991, the nonprofit Minnesota Technology Inc. (MTI) has been Minnesota lead technology-based economic development organization. Its mission, to help existing small and medium-sized companies apply, develop and commercialize technology, is achieved through three objectives: 

$40 Million Biotech Commercialization Fund Seeded in Minnesota

One of the few new spending bills to make it through the 2001 session of the Minnesota Legislature provides $10 million in seed money for technology commercialization through a new Biomedical Innovation and Commercialization Initiative (BICI – pronounced beach-ee). The BICI appropriation is contingent upon state economic development officials securing a three-to-one private sector match.

BICI is a collaborative economic development initiative involving the State of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota and the state’s medical research institutions, companies and investors. It establishes a commercial enterprise – independent of both the university and state government – to bridge the gap between academic basic research and the commercialization of new technologies.

The explicit mission of BICI is to identify and invest in biomedical ventures that have long-term commercial development potential. It targets biomedical research at the University of Minnesota’s Academic Health Center, the area of academic basic research that has the most immediate commercial potential. Successful implementation of the BICI model could result in similar future ventures in other areas such as digital or media technology, nanotechnology or agriculture.

More information is available at: and in the February 2001 concept report on the website of Minnesota Technology, Inc.

MTI Launches $3 Million Cluster Initiative

Over the next three years, Minnesota Technology, Inc. (MTI) will invest $3 million to support the development of existing and emerging technology-focused industry clusters. The new program is designed to increase collaboration between groups of tech business and the state’s nonprofit research, federal lab, and academic research communities. By focusing on the near-term technology needs of Minnesota businesses, MTI expects the program will lead to increased technology commercialization and high tech employment by the cluster businesses.

MTI anticipates making three to five investments each year, with awards

reaching $300,000 to $500,000 for qualified cluster proposals. Cluster projects must involve a minimum of four companies and at least one outside research resource, such as a local academic partner, federal lab or private, nonprofit R&D facility.

More information on the new program can be found at

Minneapolis Collaboration Offers Approach to Addressing Digital Divide & Expanding IT Workforce

An initiative to provide computer training to local teenagers to help jumpstart their information technology careers was launched earlier this month in Minneapolis. The Community IT Learning Center is the result of a partnership involving a North Minneapolis-based youth development organization, two local technology training companies, and Microsoft. While the training is designed to help close Minnesota’s Digital Divide 12 students at a time, the center is putting in place mechanisms to increase the impact beyond each class.

Upon completing the first round of semester-long classes, students will receive A+ Certification, the first step to an IT career as hardware technicians. The training will be provided at no expense to the students, and the program will pick up the fees for the students to receive A+ Certification. Students receiving certification will receive an after-school and summer internship with a Minneapolis company and earn a minimum of $10 per hour, possibly up to $20 per hour. Students will also have the option of pursuing additional certification levels.

In exchange for the free instruction and work experience, center graduates will perform 20 hours of volunteer community service upon certification and must help mentor the next class.

The 12-student computer lab was donated to Hospitality House Boys and Girls Club (home of the Community IT Learning Center) by Mindsharp, a Twin Cities technology training company. REALskills, a technology training partnership of several companies, created the 14 week training program, while Microsoft donated the software.

More information is available at

Group Recommends Measure to Improve Minnesota Economy

Following on the Summit on Minnesota’s Economy, a 21-member group appointed by the president of the University of Minnesota has unveiled its recommendations to strengthen the state’s economy. The recommendations in Report to the People of Minnesota: Building a Knowledge Economy for Minnesota’s 21st Century are divided among five strategies:

Recommendations in the new report are divided among five strategies: