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Time to Seize the Moment? Will States and Regions Lead U.S. into Next Economy?

September 09, 2009

This week's Digest covers two new independent reports that separately assess two critical aspects to how well nations are prepared for the economic recovery: competitiveness and educational attainment. The news, obvious in our choice of headlines, may suggest the past year - actually several years - has not been kind to the United States relative to other nations. Reading the articles one will see, however, that it isn't time that is working against the U.S. but rather our progress on several indicators of preparedness for a future based on innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. The reports show other nations are succeeding in laying a more solid foundation for their future than the U.S. is preparing for itself.

At this moment, every aspect of the U.S. economy is in a period of transformation. And nearly every aspect of getting out of the current mess is related to one or more of the fundamental principles of tech- based economic development (TBED).

That's pretty impressive. But it also is pretty daunting. Congress is hardly focused on the issue at all. Meanwhile, the resources available to handle state and regional transformation are growing scarcer. As a result, the public/private programs, policies and investment decisions being made to support TBED never have been as critical as they are at this moment.

Even so, the rules for TBED's fundamentals are in flux - capital access, university engagement, entrepreneurship assistance, research funding priorities, commercialization paths, you name it. If your state, regional, university, nonprofit or federal approach to promoting economic growth isn't evolving, you're writing its own obituary.

The future course of regional innovation and economic development resides among a small group - those public and private leaders, like the innovative companies and researchers they support, who see the tremendous opportunities that exist in this very particular moment. Fortunately, we can number most of the members of this small group among the Digest readership.

Visionary leaders of the TBED community need a forum to discuss how to turn the current realities into opportunities for innovation. SSTI's 13th Annual Conference provides that forum. We will seize the moment. Join us on Oct 22-23, 2009.

SSTI's annual conferences already are unique events for the economic development field because they attract the top thinkers and doers from every critical element of the TBED community - state, regional, university, nonprofit, private industry, and federal decision makers and practitioners. The circumstances leading the TBED community to SSTI's 13th Annual Conference make this year's forum that much more important.

Early registration ends Sep 29. More information, including the full conference program, a downloadable PDF and a secure online registration form is available at: http://ssticonference.org.