• Join your peers at SSTI's 2024 Annual Conference!

    Join us December 10-12 in Arizona to connect with and learn from your peers working around the country to strengthen their regional innovation economies. Visit ssticonference.org for more information and to register today.

  • Become an SSTI Member

    As the most comprehensive resource available for those involved in technology-based economic development, SSTI offers the services that are needed to help build tech-based economies.  Learn more about membership...

  • Subscribe to the SSTI Weekly Digest

    Each week, the SSTI Weekly Digest delivers the latest breaking news and expert analysis of critical issues affecting the tech-based economic development community. Subscribe today!

VA Gov Wants Additional $10M for Entrepreneurship, Workforce Measures

January 16, 2013

Through a combination of new funding in the current budget and legislative measures aimed at coordinating state efforts and measuring progress, Gov. Bob McDonnell hopes to showcase Virginia as the premier destination for entrepreneurs to start or relocate a business. New funding, to the tune of nearly $10 million, would be used to establish a regional accelerator grant program, cybersecurity accelerator, and career pathways development program, among others.

Building on the last year's science and technology investments (see the June 20, 2012 issue of the Digest), the governor hopes his agenda will add new tools and resources to encourage startup growth and more closely align education and job creation.

The additional funding requested by Gov. McDonnell is part of the amendments to the current 2012-14 budget and is targeted toward the following initiatives:

  • $2.5 million for a cybersecurity accelerator created by the Center for Innovative Technology. The CIT accelerator would focus solely on cybersecurity company creation and initially produce up to 20 new companies per year.
  • $1.75 million for State and Regional Pathways Development, including funding for the Virginia Community College system to award 15 regional career pathway grants to support sector strategies in the areas of manufacturing, IT, life sciences, energy and logistics, and lifelong career pathways development statewide.
  • $500,000 to establish a pilot program to help entrepreneurs grow sustainable startups. Grant funding would be provided to organizations that support entrepreneurial networks through business planning, technical assistance, mentoring, and access to capital.

Legislative measures are focused on measuring outcomes and preparing workers to succeed in Virginia's economy. SB 1181 authorizes the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority and CIT to create a system for measuring areas most worthy of economic development resources and institutional focus in furtherance of the state's R&D strategic roadmap. Included in governor's budget amendments is $50,000 to support the effort. Another measure (SB 1120) calls for developing a marketing campaign to attract and recognize entrepreneurs, small businesses and emerging industry sectors.

Other measures address the state's workforce challenges, including SB 1177, which expands the Virginia Workforce Council's scope to more broadly address the entire spectrum of workforce development. The goal is to advise the governor on policies relevant to increasing alignment and resource sharing between education and workforce programs to improve the pipeline in targeted industry sectors. Additional measures include creating a data system to provide for education and workforce policy outcomes (SB 1069), establishing a Career Pathways System Advisory Council (SB 1188), and establishing a high school to work partnerships program (SB 1248).

The jobs and workforce agenda complements the governor's education reform plan announced in December. Those measures include $31 million in higher education budget amendments — some of which is targeted toward helping universities graduate more students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health care (STEM-H) subjects, and incentive funding ($808,000 total) to attract, recruit, and retain high-quality teachers for these subjects in middle- and high schools.

Read the governor's press release: http://www.governor.virginia.gov/news/viewRelease.cfm?id=1608.

Virginiastate budget, higher ed, entrepreneurship, accelerators