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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.


Recent Research: Identifying peer states for technology-based economic development

While competition between states over business incentives and headquarters attraction is often derided, new research published in the Journal of Technology in Society suggests that competition in technology-based economic development is hardly a zero-sum game.

Tech Talkin’ Govs part 4: Opportunity Zones, workforce development, tech hubs, and more in governors plans to build economies

Governors are reaching into their toolkits to build tech-based economies, utilizing Opportunity Zones, tax credits, broadband infrastructure and workforce development initiatives among other things. This week, as we continue to review their state of the state addresses for TBED news, we see some governors still trying to reshape their states’ struggling economies while others are building on past successes and proposing new initiatives.

Useful Stats: NSF SBIR Success Rates by State (2008-2017)

The National Science Foundation (NSF), the fifth largest distributor of SBIR awards among federal agencies, received more than 20,000 proposals over the decade long period from 2008 to 2017, approving more than 3,600 (16.8 percent), according to an SSTI analysis of NSF data. NSF SBIR awards are the least concentrated of all federal agencies, as measured by share of awards going to firms with more than 10+ awards.

Racial wealth divide: Why being neutral is not enough

How likely would you be to leave your current job to form a startup if you had $3,600 in the bank? Would your interest increase if you had $147,000? While neither amount is enough to scale a business, the latter case obviously affords more cushion to learn the ropes or absorb the impacts of a few missed paychecks. These amounts are the median wealth for black and white households, respectively, according to a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies. While the report does not directly look to entrepreneurship as a factor — nor, notably, as a solution — the implications for regional innovation economies are clear.

Useful Stats: VC investments nearly triple in past six years; 31 states outperformed 5-year average for dollars invested in 2018

Over the six-year period from 2013 to 2018, as total venture capital investments nearly tripled, growing from $47.5 billion in 2013 to nearly $131 billion in 2014, the number of deals increased by just 13.5 percent according to new data from the NVCA-PitchBook Venture Capital Monitor. The $131 billion in total VC investments in 2018 is the largest amount since PitchBook began tracking the data in 2006 and the first year since the height of the dot-com boom that annual capital investment eclipsed $100 billion.

US Dept. of Ed rethinking higher education

A rulemaking committee, convened by the U.S. Department of Education, has begun work to rethink higher education and is considering ways to refine and streamline the accreditor recognition process and role, while also reviewing regulatory areas affecting innovation in higher education.

Student loan debt, urban wage premiums drive rural brain drain

When it comes to paying off student loan debt, rural individuals who move to metro areas fare better than those who stay, according to new research from PJ Tabit and Josh Winters of the Federal Reserve Board’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs. Using panel data from Equifax and the New York Fed, the authors explore the relationship between the student loan balances of rural millennials and where they choose to live when they begin repayment. Their analysis offers a deeper understanding of the rural brain drain phenomenon and approaches to addressing the challenge.

Tech Talkin’ Govs, part 3: Economic development, broadband, education and climate change driving governors’ innovation agendas

This week, we see broadband investment in Indiana; education initiatives that begin with pre-K and extend beyond high school in a number of states; lifelong learning approaches; apprenticeships; climate change and green energy initiatives in Nevada and Washington; and more on governors’ agendas. As governors across the country continue to deliver their state of the state addresses to their legislatures and constituents, SSTI monitors the speeches for news of innovation related initiatives.

State support for higher education grows “marginally”

From FY 2018 to FY 2019, state fiscal support for higher education grew by 1.6 percent nationwide and increased in 45 states, according to new data from the Grapevine Survey, a project of Illinois State University’s Center for the Study of Education Policy in cooperation with the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO).

Maryland Gov. proposes $56 million for Opportunity Zone programs

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s FY 2020 budget proposal includes $56.5 million in new funding to attract businesses to Opportunity Zones. Other new innovation funding would support manufacturer hiring credits and a seed fund for minority entrepreneurs. Under the governor’s proposal, TEDCO, the state’s primary innovation agency, would see its spending increase from $27 million to $45 million.

Shuttered agencies represent $38 billion in science, innovation, economic development funding

As the partial government shutdown enters its second month, the impacts across America are increasingly disruptive. The agencies that do not have a current budget were appropriated more than $38.9 billion for R&D, technology transfer, entrepreneurship, broadband, science, economic development and other activities related to regional innovation economies in FY 2018.

Concentration shaped 2018 VC industry; record number of unicorns

Based upon the finding of two reports – the 4Q Pitchbook-NVCA Venture Monitor and the MoneyTree Report –   SSTI identified three significant trends that impact the startup capital community: geographic concentration, mega-rounds/funds, and strong VC-backed exit activity.

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