SSTI Digest

Geography: Mississippi

Funding for TBED Programs Cut in Mississippi Governor’s Budget Proposal

Calling for shared sacrifice among all state agencies, Gov. Haley Barbour outlined his FY11 budget recommendations reducing most agencies by 12 percent below the FY10 appropriation, excluding the Mississippi Development Authority, which would be cut only 5 percent because of its role in job creation. Tech-based economic development programs funded by the Authority are zeroed out in the governor’s proposal, however.

TBED People and Organizations

The newly-created Clean Energy Leadership Council, convened by the Washington governor's office and a state-wide public-private clean energy alliance, held its first meeting. The council will deliver a clean energy strategy and recommendations by December 1, 2010.

Tech Talkin' Govs, Part II

The second installment of the Tech Talkin' Govs series includes highlights from state of the state, budget and inaugural addresses delivered by the governors of Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oregon and Vermont. 


In the "TBED People and Organizations" column of the Dec. 10 Digest, Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry was incorrectly identified as the new chairman for the Southern Growth Policies Board.  Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour serves as chairman for the organization and will host the 2009 annual meeting June 7-9 in Biloxi, MS. More information is available at: SSTI apologizes for the error.

SSTI Job Corner

The University of Missouri System is seeking applicants for the position of intellectual property attorney. This position assists the General Council in many areas, including managing the legal aspects associated with licensing activities, working with General Counsel to manage the enforcement of the University’s intellectual property and contract rights, providing guidance and advice regarding technology investment activities; serving as liaison for intellectual property matters between the University and industry, advising administration on matters of potential scientific misconduct and compliance with federal and state regulations, providing guidance with respect to the procurement, development, negotiation and licensing of the intellectual property portfolio and assisting in the development of intellectual property educational programs. A law degree and five to seven years experience in corporate and intellectual property law is required. A bachelor’s degree in science or engineering and intellectual property and patent law, technology transfer and/or licensing experience is preferred. 

Lott Center, SSTI Announce Dr. Edward Feser as Winner of the Lott Center Excellence in Technology Based Economic Development Research Award

The Trent Lott National Center of Excellence for Economic Development & Entrepreneurship is pleased to announce its inaugural Excellence in Technology Based Economic Development Research award will be made to Dr. Edward Feser on Oct. 19, 2007, at the SSTI 11th Annual Conference in Baltimore.


The Lott Center award recognizes outstanding research contributions to Technology Based Economic Development (TBED) which help economic development practitioners and policymakers grow their regions economies through the recruitment, expansion and start-up of high tech enterprises.


Dr. Feser’s research has reshaped the way in which TBED practitioners and policymakers take action and offers new pathways for future action. Areas of specialization include industry clustering, industry cluster analysis methods, agglomeration economies and industrial productivity, migration and regional economic distress, regional influences on process technology adoption in manufacturing, and the improvement of data and spatial-analytical techniques for local development practice. Currently, he is studying economic development policymaking processes and the role that universities can play in assisting states and regions undertake strategic economic development planning.


Dr. Feser is professor and interim head of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC). He taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for seven years prior to coming to UIUC in 2004. In 2003, he served as assistant secretary of the North Carolina Department of Commerce, where he acted as chief economist and senior policy advisor to the Secretary and directed the reorganization and expansion of the agency's Division of Policy, Research and Strategic Planning. He continues to work closely with state and local governments on issues related to his research and acts regularly as a consultant to the corporate sector, government, nonprofit development agencies, and economic development planning firms.


The Trent Lott National Center of Excellence for Economic Development & Entrepreneurship is operated by the University of Southern Mississippi. The Lott Center promotes global research on innovation based economic development, provides innovation based economic development education across the U.S., implements innovation programs in South Mississippi and infuses entrepreneurship within the university.


SSTI is a national nonprofit organization that leads, supports and strengthens efforts to improve state and regional economies through science, technology, and innovation.

Mississippi Rolls Out Five New Capital-attracting Funds

One of the most vexing problems facing states, outside of a few well known success stories, is a persistent lack of attention from the venture capital industry. In 2006, almost 60 percent of venture capital investment was concentrated in California and Massachusetts. The other 48 states have had to devise their own strategies to compete with Silicon Valley, Route 128 and each other to gain the attention of potential investors. Mississippi, for example, attracted only two venture investment deals and only $8 million in VC investment last year, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ annual MoneyTree Survey. The lack of access to capital was stifling the state’s economy, especially its high-tech industries, Momentum Mississippi concluded in a study last year.

To help remedy Mississippi's situation, the state legislature recently approved a package authorizing five new state funds to support early-stage high-tech companies and to build an in-state market for private equity investment. The funds will be administered by the Mississippi Technology Alliance (MTA), a nonprofit organization that works closely with the state to provide services to investors and entrepreneurs. Gov. Haley Barbour’s budget request for fiscal year 2008 proposes a $4 million initial allocation for the funds, which will be disbursed to MTA by the Mississippi Development Authority, as needed.


The state will dedicate almost half of the funding to one of the funds to assist start-up, seed and early-stage Mississippi-based businesses. To be eligible, the companies must have a business plan, reach a collaborative agreement with a state institution of higher education or community college, and secure a match from an accredited investor. The fund will provide loans for up to $100,000 per year in qualified expenses, for a total of $200,000. Interest on loans will be forgiven if the funds are repaid within three years.


The four remaining programs are similar in design but address specific situations or needs, such as: early-stage businesses without outside investment; university technology spinoffs; and early- and late-stage high-tech firms in rural areas.


In addition to providing capital to small businesses and an incentive for outside investment, Gov. Barbour says the new programs will stimulate collaborative research between the state’s research institutions and businesses, accelerate the rate of new business formation, and encourage promising high-tech industries.


House Bill 1724 is available at:

Mississippi Governor Wants $4M More for TBED Initiatives

Momentum Mississippi, the state’s public-private economic development strategy first funded with $28 million last summer, could see an additional $4 million for new TBED initiatives if the state legislature passes Gov. Haley Barbour’s recommendation during its next session. Gov. Barbour announced his plans during the annual board meeting of Momentum Mississippi, which was attended by more than 75 industrial, academic and civic leaders.


TBED topics dominated the first half of the group’s board meeting, outlining the need for increased public support to seed three grant programs intended to support university-industry research, technology commercialization and innovation grant programs. The programs, collectively called the Mississippi Technology Commercialization Fund, include:


Gov. Haley Barbour has named Gray Swoope as the new executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority. Swoope replaces outgoing executive director Leland Speed, who will serve through the end of December.


Randy Goldsmith, is the new president and CEO of the Mississippi Technology Alliance. Goldsmith formerly was Assistant Vice President for Technology Transfer and Economic Development at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.

SSTI Job Corner: University Seeks Assistant Professor in Regional Economic and Workforce Development

The Department of Economic and Workforce Development at the University of Southern Mississippi is seeking someone to fill a tenure-track assistant professor position. Specialization in regional workforce development is preferred; however, other areas of specialization, such as disaster recovery, entrepreneurship, rural development, technology transfer, or low-income communities, will be strongly considered. The candidate will teach and mentor students in the department’s on-campus and executive format masters and doctoral programs and take a leading part in the growth and development of these programs. A doctorate degree is required. A full job description is available through the SSTI Job Corner at

MTA Launches Tech Network for Post-Katrina Mississippi

Information, telecommunications and electricity provide the basic building blocks for all tech-based economic development - regardless of industry sector, research field or location. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the technology infrastructure for many of the state's emerging tech-firms has been dismantled. How do you restore efforts to build a tech-based economy when the fundamentals are destroyed overnight?