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The latest reporting and analysis on breakthroughs in technology-based economic development research and issues that matter most to you. To receive the SSTI Weekly Digest via email, sign up here.


Unicorn with initial round of government-sponsored funding goes public

Benson Hill, a unicorn (a startup valued over $1 billion) that closed its deal to become a public company last week, was able to leverage several sources of public capital to accelerate its early success. The St. Louis-based agricultural technology company uses machine learning and genome editing to facilitate the production of sustainable and healthy crops.

First antiviral pill for COVID-19 developed through Emory University’s approach to bringing solutions to market

The news that a drug has been developed that appears to significantly reduce the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19, understandably garnered international attention. While most of the coverage centered on Merck, dig a bit deeper and one learns that Emory University researchers developed molnupiravir which Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics have licensed.

Useful Stats: Top industries by state for net establishment and job creation, 2005-2019

Understanding the industry-level dynamics of business and job creation can help pinpoint which industries in regional economies may be hotspots for innovation activity. This edition of Useful Stats builds on previous SSTI analysis of business and job creation by state and examines data from the Census Bureau’s recently updated Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS) on net establishment and job creation in 2019 at the state and industry levels. The data serves as a useful baseline of where the economy stood prior to the pandemic’s start in 2020. While the national data shows that five industries experienced net establishment losses in 2019, industry trends at the state level vary widely with some states seeing losses across many industries while others experienced losses in only a few. There were also similar national- and state-level trends in net job creation in 2019. This analysis also provides additional context by examining the long-term state trends in these metrics from 2005 to 2019.

Feds seek input on manufacturing policy, scientific data

The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) has released a new request for information (RFI) related to a national strategic plan for advanced manufacturing, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are seeking information on how the scientific community uses public data tools. Both RFIs provide an opportunity for the tech-based economic development field to shape the future of federal innovation policy. 

ARC strategic plan provides roadmap to accelerate economic growth

A new strategic plan for the Appalachian region reaffirms the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) primary investment goals emphasizing economic development. It benefits from insights gathered from more than 1,800 stakeholders and is built on multistate and regional collaboration.

$36.5 million awarded to 50 recipients for Build to Scale program

The U.S. Economic Development Administration today announced the 50 organizations that will share in grants totaling $36.5 million to support programs that fuel innovation and tech-based economic development as part of the Build to Scale program. The 2021 awardees will leverage an additional $40 million in matching funds from a variety of private and public sector sources. SSTI has been a proponent of the Build to Scale program, which had not received any federal appropriations prior to the creation of SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council.

Manufacturing Week celebrates 10 years highlighting industry

This week marks the 10th anniversary celebration of National Manufacturing Week. National Manufacturing Week celebrates the role of the manufacturing sector within the United States. With roughly 12.1 million employees, the manufacturing sector is the fifth largest employer relative to other industries, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Innovative manufacturing studied in Illinois, lessons for all

Implementing innovative policies is necessary for driving the manufacturing industry forward in Illinois, according to a recent report from the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC). Nearly 600,000 Illinoisans are employed directly in manufacturing, and the manufacturing industry accounts for 12 percent of Illinois’s annual GDP. The findings of the state report, however, are adaptable and can be utilized across the United States in regions that seek to encourage innovation in manufacturing and promote job growth in an increasingly competitive globalized economy.

Injection of economic recovery assistance drives Q1 2021 personal income growth

Pew Charitable Trusts recently published data demonstrating that Q1 2021 experienced the largest year-over-year personal income growth rate since 1948. All states recorded increases in total personal income, and 27 experienced their strongest year-over-year growth on record.

Recent Research: Website diversity shown to attract more prospective entrepreneurs

A recent research study suggests that diverse identity representation of website spokespeople increases the likelihood of attracting a higher proportion of prospective entrepreneurs.

EDA announces University Center Competition winners

The EDA University Center Economic Development Program Competition recently announced $2.5 million in grants awarded to 25 colleges and universities in the Chicago and Philadelphia EDA regions to leverage assets, promote innovation and strengthen regional economies. The goal of these awards is “to boost innovation, create good-paying jobs and ensure American competitiveness in the global economy” while funding research as well as innovation economy development services.

Useful Stats: Establishment formations and job creation by state, 1978-2019

Higher levels of business creation can be linked to the presence of innovation in a state through entrepreneurial activity and transitioning to new industries, and this edition of Useful Stats examines data from the Census Bureau’s recently updated Business Dynamics Statistics (BDS) on net establishment formation and the job creation stemming from those establishments in 2019. While figures vary widely among the states, most saw growth in both net establishment creation and net job creation in 2019; this data is prior to the onset of the pandemic in early 2020.

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