SSTI Digest

Geography: Nevada

17 Governors Sign Accord to Promote Clean Energy, Economic Prosperity

A bipartisan group of 17 governors signed the Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future – a joint commitment to support the deployment of renewable, cleaner and more efficient energy technologies and other solutions to make the U.S. economy more productive and resilient as well as spur job creation in member states. The multi-state effort will work to implement clean energy policies and initiatives in four areas: clean energy, clean transportation choices, a modern electrical grid, and plan for a new energy future. Although the accord doesn’t provide specific efforts, senior advisors to participating governors are expected to convene shortly to discuss initial steps to pursue their shared priorities and commitments according to

States Seek Slice of Growing Unmanned Aircraft Industry

As the Federal Aviation Administration continues to propose regulations around the fledging unmanned aircraft system (UAS) industry in order to ensure that it integrates into the current system as well as possible, states are beginning to act in order to improve their own competitiveness. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 directed the FAA to establish a test sites program for the UAS, taking into account geographic and climatic diversity, location of ground infrastructure, and research needs in choosing the sites. In December 2013, the FAA announced the selection of six public entities in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas, and Virginia for test sites, all of which became operational in 2014. With test site operations allowed to continue until February 2017 under current law, state agencies, in conjunction with universities and the private sector, are attempting to take advantage of the industry’s vast potential: more than 100,000 jobs created through the year 2025, with an expected economic impact of $82 billion, according to a report by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

Nevada Reestablishes Office of Science, Innovation, and Technology

As part of Nevada’s efforts to better prepare its workers to compete in the state’s technology industries, Gov. Brian Sandoval announced the reestablishment of the state’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology, naming Brian Mitchell its program director. The office, which Sandoval says is inspired by the workforce development programs he saw in Germany during his recent European trade mission, will coordinate efforts between K-12 schools and universities to improve STEM education and ensure that the state’s workforce meets industry needs.

STEM Education, Skilled Workforce Programs Popular Among State Budget Proposals

This week, governor’s in eight states released their budget proposals. Balanced budgets and fiscal austerity were undoubtedly emphasized by the governors, yet funding for STEM education and workforce development initiatives were increasingly popular.

Battle Born VC Program Launches in Nevada with Assistance from U.S. Treasury

The Nevada Office of Economic Development, with guidance and funding from the U.S. Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), has launched the Battle Born Venture Program. “Battle Born” is a state venture capital program that makes equity and equity-like investments in early stage, high-growth Nevada businesses. The fund will invest in a wide range of sectors that represent the economic base of the state, and returns on investment will be recycled back into the fund.  The Nevada program is the newest venture capital program established by the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the SSBCI with the intent of enhancing local capital infrastructure. As of this year, the U.S. Treasury has approved 47 state-run venture capital programs across 30 states. Read the announcement…

Nevada Legislature Approves $10M for Tech Commercialization Fund

Nevada legislators recently approved $10 million in funding for the state's Knowledge Fund, a technology development and commercialization support program first introduced in 2011. The fund, modeled on Utah's USTAR program, received no allocation for its first two years due to a lack of state funds, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal (also see the July 20, 2011 and January 23, 2013 issues of the Digest). Knowledge Fund dollars may be used to support research teams at Nevada state universities and the Desert Research Institute, to launch a technology outreach program to connect researchers with entrepreneurs, to build new research facilities and to fund technology commercialization activities. Read the bill...

Budget RoundUp: States Seek Modest investments for S&T

Governors in several states recently unveiled spending proposals for the upcoming fiscal year or biennium. While fiscal conditions in most states remain fragile, new or continuing investments focused on science, technology and innovation were introduced as pro-growth measures to aid in states' recovery efforts. With the exception of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's ambitious economic development plan (see the Jan. 9 issue of the Digest), most of the proposals were on the modest side. They include funding for a life sciences partnership in Indiana, more money for tax credits in Maryland, and additional funds in Nevada and South Dakota for research and commercialization.

Tech Talkin' Govs: Part II

The second installment of SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series includes excerpts from speeches delivered in Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. Our first installment was in the Jan. 9 Digest.

EDA Awards $3M to Three Cities for Economic Development Planning

The Department of Commerce announced the winners of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Challenge, the Economic Development Administration-led competition seeking to help cities and regions develop a comprehensive economic development strategy. Greensboro, North Carolina, Hartford, Connecticut, and Las Vegas, Nevada each were awarded $1 million to assist in the refinement and implementation of their respective plans. This year's competition follows on the success of a 2011 pilot program, which made awards to six cities, and a Presidential Executive Order signed in March establishing the White House Council on Strong Cites, Strong Communities.

Nevada Designates Ten Regional Economic Development Partners

This week, the Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development announced the ten organizations that will serve as local partners in state economic development initiatives. The new Regional Development Authorities (RDA) will lead regional economic development efforts by linking partners in their respective communities. Gov. Brian Sandoval introduced the RDA concept in his State Plan for Excellence in Economic Development earlier this year (see the Feb. 8 issue).

TBED Priorities Outlined in Nevada Plan

In response to an economic development study calling on the state to diversify its operating system, support regionalism and invest in innovation, Nevada's newly established Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) released a plan of action to align resources and establish partnerships for meeting those goals over the next three years. The statewide plan builds on legislation passed last session to unify economic development efforts through a regional approach and private sector engagement. To this end, lawmakers allocated funds for GOED and the governor appointed an executive director, elevating the position to cabinet-level. During the first half of 2012, GOED will work to establish its organizational structure and designate Regional Development Authorities (RDAs) tasked with developing plans for their regions. RDAs can be local government organizations, private organizations, or a combination of the two. The RDAs will serve as the central point of contact for economic development within the regions focusing their efforts on creation and retention of new businesses, expansion of existing companies, and attracting companies from outside the state. The plan outlines programs and projects the RDAs are expected to engage in, which include: Driving sector and cluster advancement to create jobs; Working with community colleges and state agencies to meet workforce needs; Cooperating with research institutions to increase innovation and technology transfer; Fostering regional incubation of startups; and, Increasing exports and foreign direct investments. The $10 million Catalyst Fund approved last year will allocate grants and loans during the next 18 months in the form of to help businesses create, expand or relocate in Nevada, according to the plan. The Nevada plan also prioritizes technology-based economic development (TBED) through a statewide innovation and commercialization strategy, increased collaboration with universities and research institutions, and efforts to build an entrepreneurial support structure. The state immediately will hire a technology commercialization director to identify existing R&D capacities and develop a formal TBED plan with help from the research institutions to be completed by September 2012. Benchmarks include increasing licensing of intellectual property, number of startups and research funding. During 2012, GOED will allocate initial funding for some TBED initiatives while developing a strategy for generating private and public support for the Knowledge Fund, created last year to spur research and commercialization (see the July 20, 2011 issue of the Digest). Initial investments include matching funds for industry-sponsored research; matching funds to assist the Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization in winning a federal Economic Development Administration Grant; and, helping small businesses win SBIR/STTR grants. The plan also calls for working with industry to develop sector acceleration plans, expanding global engagement, and increasing opportunities through education and workforce development. Moving Nevada Forward: A Plan for Excellence in Economic Development 2012-2014 is available at:

Nevada Economic Development Agenda Seeks to Capitalize on Clusters, Regionalism

To leverage the state's opportunities, Nevada needs to upgrade its diffuse economic development system to empower its regions more fully and set a statewide platform for new growth, finds a report commissioned by the state. Building on legislation passed earlier this year to reorganize and elevate the importance of the state's economic development activities, the report calls on the state to unify its operating system for 21st century economic development, support smart sector strategies in the regions, and set a platform for higher-value growth through innovation and global engagement. Seven major industries poised for economic growth also are identified, including clean energy and aerospace and defense.