SSTI Digest

Geography: Tennessee

Tech Talkin' Govs: Part IV

The fourth installment of SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs' series includes excerpts from speeches delivered in Illinois, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Rhode Island. The first three installments are available in the Jan. 11, Jan. 18 and Jan. 25 editions of the Digest. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, State of the State Address, Feb. 1, 2012 "Today, I'm announcing a $2.3 million dollar investment in '1871,' a new technology center at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago to foster and launch digital start-ups. "Today, I'm also announcing a $6 million dollar statewide competition to build ultra-high speed broadband in neighborhoods across Illinois. "Through this challenge, we want our neighborhoods to become Gigabit communities with Internet connections more than 100 times faster than today! Our goal is to build smart communities that will foster the job engines of the future." New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, State of the State Address, Jan. 31, 2012 "There are tax reductions that can spur job growth here in New Hampshire. Innovative companies create jobs and lay the foundation for a stronger future for our state. Five years ago, we put in place a research-and-development tax credit to attract companies to create the products of the future here in New Hampshire. "This year, I am proposing we double the research-and-development tax credit. This is a tax credit that works to help create jobs; the same cannot be said of the cut in the tobacco tax. "The cut in the tobacco tax was nonsensical. That money would have been better spent on our community college and university systems, for example. We should roll it back, and use the revenue to invest in our economic future." Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, State of the State Address, Jan. 31, 2012 "I believe there is tremendous opportunity for our state to grow our economy in the Knowledge District, with the 'meds and eds' leading the way. We must have the wisdom and foresight to make good decisions regarding our hospitals and our educational institutions. ... "... [W]e must be a state that provides access to capital and encourages innovation. I have heard from many Rhode Islanders who have exciting and promising ideas. But they are unable to obtain the needed resources to invest in new technologies, expand their operations, or start a new company. This is an area where we need to work together with experts and develop a plan for Rhode Island to strategically invest our state and private assets in the types of industries that will bring good jobs to our state." Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, State of the State Address, Jan. 30, 2012 "Access is critical to a successful education program. Let me speak plainly, for the last several years we have not been funding higher education's capital plans to the degrees necessary to meet growing student demand. We need more space to train students in science, technology, engineering, and math — critical subjects in which we must provide more trained graduates. "This budget will finally provide the state's funding for the long-overdue science building at MTSU, the science laboratory facilities at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, a new patient diagnostic center at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, as well as the planning money for new buildings at Nashville State Community College and Northeast State Community College, the University of Memphis, and the University of Tennessee — Chattanooga."

Tennessee Announces New Program to Support Nine Regional Business Accelerators

Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Bill Hagerty announced the state will commit up to $2.25 million for the Jobs4TN Regional Entrepreneurial Accelerators program. The grants will award up to $250,000 to a regional entrepreneurial accelerator in each of the state's nine economic development regions. The Jobs4TN Regional Entrepreneurial Accelerators were announced in June as a part of Governor Bill Haslam's INCITE plan. Read the press release...

NSF Awards $74M for Engineering Research Centers

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced that it will award $74 million total for the creation of four interdisciplinary research and education centers as part of the third generation of NSF Engineering Research Centers. In addition to their primary focus on commercialization and education, these centers will emphasize innovation, entrepreneurship, small business collaboration, and international partnerships. For the first time, two of the ERCs will be co-funded by the Department of Energy. One, led by Arizona State University, will investigate quantum energy and sustainable solar technologies. A second at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville will develop more reliable and efficient electricity transmission networks. The other two ERCs will focus on research into urban water infrastructure and mind-machine interface at Stanford University and the University of Washington, respectively.

Higher Ed Tuition Hikes Nearing Double Digits in Some States

As the cost of a college education continues to rise and good paying jobs are seemingly scarcer than ever before, many Americans are questioning the value of a college degree. A recent survey from the Pew Research Center found 57 percent of Americans believe the U.S. fails to provide good value for the money students and their families spend, and about four in ten college presidents say the system is headed in the wrong direction. At the same time, however, studies find the lifetime earnings of college graduates to be much higher than those of high school graduates. Further, students majoring in engineering, computers and mathematics can expect to make more money than any other undergraduate major.

State and Local Economic Development Centering on Regional Approaches

Much of the recent economic recovery plans coming from governors across the country have focused on growing and nurturing existing businesses through a regional approach to economic development. The idea is that by identifying and defining the unique needs of a region, policymakers and practitioners can then provide the necessary tools and resources to grow industries likely to succeed within a given region, thus improving the overall economic landscape of the state. This approach is happening both in states and at the local level.

Gov Announces $50M Innovation Strategy for Tennessee Regional Jobs Plan

Hoping to capitalize on Tennessee's "entrepreneurial spirit," Gov. Bill Haslam today announced today a $50 million innovation strategy as part of his regional jobs plan outlined last month. Named INCITE for its focus on innovation, commercialization, investment, technology and entrepreneurship, the initiative encompasses four components, including:

Incubator Round Up

Recent announcements of new and emerging technology incubators range from Google's selection of Cape Town, South Africa to launch a pilot incubator supporting technology entrepreneurs that it hopes to replicate globally to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's plan to create a statewide business incubator focusing on workforce training. Select announcements from across the globe are highlighted below.

Tennessee Gov Proposes $10M for Research Consortium

Gov. Bill Haslam is the latest governor to unveil a broad-based proposal to grow the state's economy and create jobs through investments in S&T by asking lawmakers to dedicate $10 million for a research consortium that would recruit senior scientists to advance scientific discoveries into commercial applications and spur high-growth companies. Similar TBED efforts focused on investing in university research, tech commercialization, and increasing access to capital were announced earlier this year in Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska and Virginia (see the Jan. 5, Jan. 19 and Jan. 26 issues of the Digest). The governor's budget also provides funding to continue the state's investment in biofuels and aerospace engineering and recommends new funding to recruit businesses.

TBED People and Job Opportunities: People and Organizations

Alabama then-Governor-elect Robert Bentley on January 3 named former House Speaker Seth Hammett as director of the Alabama Development Office, replacing Interim Director Linda Swann. He also appointed the president of the Birmingham-based Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, Bill Taylor, to lead efforts to grow and retain existing Alabama industries, while at the same time recruiting new businesses to the state.

TBED People

The Tennessee Biotechnology Association has changed their name to Life Science Tennessee.

Legislative Wrap-Up: Louisiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Tennessee Pass Budgets

Several states recently enacted spending plans for the upcoming fiscal year, which started July 1 for most states. In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law the LA GRAD Act, granting universities more flexibility to raise tuition in return for meeting certain performance goals. Lawmakers in Massachusetts allocated $10 million to continue the state's investment in life sciences, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell signed a jobs bill providing $8 million for green economy projects, and in Tennessee, an $80 million expansion of TNInvestco, a program that allocates tax credits to create pools of venture capital, was approved.

TBED People

Andre Pettigrew, the director of the Denver Office of Economic Development, will become the first executive director of Climate Prosperity Inc., a Washington, D.C., climate-change think tank. LaCharles Keesee, the city's deputy chief financial officer, will assume an interim role as head of the city's economic development department until a final replacement is named.