Two Long-standing TBED Organizations Joined to "Innovate Washington"

May 25, 2011

Created as the successor to two longstanding and accomplished tech-based economic development organizations — the Washington Technology Center (WTC) and the Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute (SIRTI) — Innovate Washington will serve as the state's primary agency responding to tech transfer needs and strengthening university-industry partnerships. Innovate Washington also will coordinate the state's clean energy initiatives.

Although both organizations have similar missions, WTC focuses on statewide efforts while SIRTI's mission is centered on growing the innovation-based economy in the Eastern Washington region. By combining the two through a public-private partnership model, the services will be expanded to include entrepreneurial support, access to capital, and sector/cluster initiatives and coordination for the entire state. Specifically, Innovate Washington will:

  • Facilitate research supportive of state industries and provide mechanisms for collaboration between tech-based industries and higher education institutions;
  • Help businesses secure research funds and develop and integrate technology into new products;
  • Offer technology transfer and commercialization training opportunities;
  • Operate a Small Business Innovation Research assistance program to help in the procurement of awards;
  • Work with the Centers of Excellence to develop methods to identify businesses within a targeted industry that will benefit from Innovate Washington services; and,
  • Manage the Investing in Innovation program (formerly the Investing in Innovation Grants program) to make loans and grants.

Pinpointing the clean energy sector as a critical area to building an innovation-based economy, Innovate Washington will build on and implement recommendations from the Clean Energy Leadership Council and serve as the lead entity for coordinating clean energy initiatives.

The group also will develop a five-year business plan by Dec. 1, 2012, which includes plans for operating additional facilities in Vancouver, the Tri-Cities, and Bellingham. Pending approval by Gov. Chris Gregoire, SB 5764, which passed the legislature this week during special session, will take effect Aug. 1. No new appropriations are included in the bill for the agency. Read the final bill report.

Washingtonstate tbed, entrepreneurship, sbir, commercialization, clusters