SSTI Digest

Geography: Pennsylvania

White House Showcases Potential of Maker Movement to Boost Local Manufacturing

Last week the White House hosted a Google Hangout on the American Maker Movement and highlighted some dynamic programs that are turning the Maker Movement into a legitimate economic development tool for regions across the country.

Lawmakers Move to Support Workforce Training, Strengthen Industry Clusters

At the close of many recent legislative sessions, states across the country moved to strengthen their high-tech workforce while supporting industry cluster development.

Pennsylvania To Invest $100M in Tech Startups

According to the Philadelphia Business Journal, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has signed off on the creation of a new program, InnovatePA, which will auction off $100 million in tax credits to generate state revenue that will be invested in the funding of tech and biotech startups.

States Position Themselves to Compete in Domestic Drone Industry

While public debate rages over the role of surveillance in our society, one particularly infamous government surveillance technology, drones, is being prepared for private sector deployment in the U.S. Drone-related technologies are predicted to revolutionize commerce in the U.S., with industry projections valuing their initial deployment as an $82 billion boost to the national economy. In preparation for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rollout of drone-use regulations in 2015, entrepreneurs, multinational corporations and state governments are scrambling to be in a competitive position to benefit.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners Generating Returns to the State and Community

Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP), Pennsylvania's tech-based economic development program, released a joint study by the independent Pennsylvania Economy League and KLIOS Consulting, which determined the economic impact of the organization between 2007-2011. These numbers aggregate the impact of the four regional Ben Franklin Technology Partners. In total, the activities of the organizations have resulted in 7,485 new jobs in client firms and an additional 12,715 indirect jobs as a result of these clients' activities, for a total of 20,200 jobs. The activities of BFTP increased the Gross State Product by $6.6 billion. The client companies directly returned $358 million in additional state taxes and a further $144 million in state taxes was received from related client services. In total, $502 million in state tax revenue was received, which represents a 3.6:1 tax return to the state on $137.7 million in state investments during the five year period.

Creating Shared Value through Locally Focused Venture Capital Funds

In the January 2011 edition of the Harvard Business Review, Michael Porter and Mark Kramer called for a redesign of the existing business model and their role within society. Instead of simply embracing corporate responsibility and corporate giving, businesses should work to create shared value within their community by helping to support local clusters and institutions to address societal needs and issues. In the face of great uncertainty for the overall venture capital industry, it seems that some corporations might be heeding their advice. Over the last few years, there has been a rapid rise in the number of corporate-backed venture capital funds with long-term acquisition and absorption as the driving force. However, the lack of early stage capital in regions across the country also may be ushering in an era of public-private partnerships to create industry-led, locally focused venture capital funds.

Freestanding Entrepreneurship Schools, Creative Courses Illustrate Evolving Role of Universities

Recent research on the evolving role of universities finds the emergence of an entrepreneurial society has contributed to a broader and more fundamental role for universities — that is to provide thinking, leadership and activity to enhance entrepreneurship capital. University-based entrepreneurship programs and initiatives seem to have gained steam following the recession with federal support for programs to enhance entrepreneurial efforts in states and regions and increased interest from students and out-of-work individuals. Freestanding entrepreneurship schools and creative programming to encourage risk taking are two recent examples of the evolving role of universities in the knowledge-driven economy.

More Funding for Higher Ed Sought in FL, OH, PA and TX Tied to Performance

Upbeat revenue forecasts and shared economic principles have Republican governors in four states requesting more funds for higher education tied to performance metrics or workforce outcomes. Recent budget proposals introduced in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas focus on competing for talent and jobs through efforts to encourage STEM learning and teaching and incentivizing outcomes such as graduating more students in high-demand fields, conducting research and more. College affordability is addressed through measures that would freeze tuition or cap increases.

$20M Awarded to 10 Public-Private Regional Partnerships Geared towards Advanced Manufacturing Initiatives

The Obama administration announced winners of the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge on Tuesday. The challenge — publicized earlier this year — is one of the key initiatives of the interagency Taskforce for the Advancement of Regional Innovation Clusters and is sponsored by a partnership between the U.S. Department of Commerce, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Departments of Energy and Labor, and the Small Business Administration. Winners include programs in AZ, CA, MI, OK, TN, NY, PA, and a WA and OR bi-state partnership, each receiving approximately $2 million in grants. See the complete list of challenge winners and their reward amounts here. This is the third in a series of multiagency Jobs and Innovation Accelerator challenges administered since 2011. Learn more...

OH, PA, WV Collaboration to Host Pilot Manufacturing Innovation Institute

On Thursday, the Obama administration announced it had selected the TechBelt region, encompassing northeast Ohio, western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia, to host the pilot institute of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The new National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) will operate as a partnership of more than 60 companies, research universities, community colleges and nonprofit organizations from the region. As the pilot effort of NNMI, the partnership will receive $30 million in initial federal funding, with another $40 million from regional partners. The institute will be housed at Youngstown Business Incubator in Youngstown, OH.

PA Higher Ed Modernization Act to Boost University Role in Regional Development

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett has signed off on a series of bills intended to give state-owned universities more flexibility in working with regional businesses and creating new advanced degree programs. The bills are collectively known as the Higher Education Modernization Act and apply specifically to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), which is the nation's tenth largest state university system, incorporating Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned institutions. Under the new legislation, PASSHE universities would be allowed to create new applied doctoral programs to meet the needs of Pennsylvania businesses. Also, faculty, staff and students would be allowed to enter into agreements with businesses, enabling them to participate in entrepreneurial activities, internships and mentoring programs. Read the announcement...

TBED People & Orgs

Richard Bendis has been named the first president and CEO of BioHealth Innovation, Inc. a regional private-public partnership focusing on commercializing market-relevant biohealth innovations and increasing access to early stage funding in Central Maryland.