SSTI Digest

Geography: Tennessee

Tennessee Unveils New Economy Strategy

Earlier this week, Governor Don Sundquist and the Tennessee Technology Development Corp. (TTDC) released the New Economy Strategy, a broad plan to improve the state's economic viability through science and technology. The strategy encompasses many new initiatives to complement TTDC's existing portfolio of tech-based economic development efforts.

Using six focus groups across the state, the planning process drew input from more than 175 people involved in research, economic development, science, and technology.

Specific recommendations are organized to address five objectives:

Community College Scholarship Program Aids Tennessee Students

Tennessee's Sullivan County took a big step toward reducing the presence of a brain drain when it approved a scholarship program for its high school graduates.

Officials in Sullivan County, a community of about 144,000 that neighbors Virginia, established the Educate and Grow scholarship program in May 2001. The program was approved first by the Kingsport (Tenn.) Board of Mayor and Aldermen and, with no dissenting votes, the Sullivan County Commissioners gave way to a $300,000-per-year plan for the program.

Under the program's terms, up to 168 students may receive full tuition assistance on a per-year basis to attend Northeast State Technical Community College, and every student in Sullivan County's six high schools and homeschoolers is eligible for the $1,600 in tuition money. Recipients must take at least 12 hours of classes a semester, maintain a C-average, enter college within 15 months of graduating high school, and complete a 60-hour degree at Northeast State within three calendar years.

Northeast State, which offers two-year associate degrees in 45 fields, reportedly has experienced success in attracting graduates via the Educate and Grow program. This past fall, 103 students enrolled in the program, and an above-average 72 returned for the spring semester, according to the Kingsport Times-News. In November 2001, the program was lauded by members of Kingsport's Economic Development Partnership for showing progress and gaining national attention.

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Gov. Don Sundquist has named Tony Grande to be the new Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD). Mr. Grande formerly was ECD Deputy Commissioner as well as its Assistant Commissioner of Tennessee business services and director of manufacturing services.

Rural Business Incubation Focus of ARC Event

The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the National Business Incubation Association are sponsoring a conference Oct. 21–23 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to focus on the importance of business incubation to rural economic development and to share best practices by successful incubators across the nation. 

More than 75 business incubators in Appalachia are helping rural communities create new companies, find innovative ways to take products to new markets, and increase the odds for new business success. The conference will seek to encourage the creation of more business incubators in the Appalachian Region. 

More than 20 experts in rural business incubation and development finance will address the conference, including sessions on revenue generation strategies; marketing the incubator; employee and entrepreneurial training; incubator goals, mission, and outcomes; incubator systems; product development; marketing support for tenants; financing business growth; and others. 

The registration fee is $95. For conference registration information, visit: or contact Wilma Dantzler at 202-884-7751. 


Lee Martin has stepped down as executive director from TennesSeed. Tom Rogers, CEO of Tech 2020, has agreed to serve as interim director of TennesSeed for a six-month period.



Senators Bill Frist (R- TN) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced legislation to nearly double civilian and pre-competitive research over the next 11 years. S. 296, titled the Federal Research Investment Act , was cosponsored by 18 other Democrats and Republicans. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation for consideration.


Technology 2020, a public-private partnership, is seeking a Director of New Business Development. Technology 2020is supported by a number of large corporate "technology partners" in the Knoxville/Oak Ridge Area of east Tennessee. Technology 2020's primary objective is to leverage talent and reputation of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and grow new technology businesses that will create new jobs and help diversify the economy of the region. Oak Ridge is the nation's largest multi-disciplinary laboratory and is a primary source for technology commercialization.


On June 25, Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) introduced a new bill, the Federal Research Investment Act (S. 2217). The purpose of the bill is to provide for the continuation of federal research investment in a fiscally sustainable way.

Tennessee Creates New Organization to Lead S&T Efforts

The State of Tennessee has created a private, not-for-profit corporation--- the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation---to stimulate economic development through Tennessee's science and technology resources.


Bill Eads, the Tennessee governor's science and technology advisor, has announced his retirement.