State of Washington Commits $5M to New $25M Investment Fund

The state of Washington's Governor Chris Gregoire announced the state will contribute $5 million to the W Fund, a new $25 million investment fund intended to spin more startups out of research labs at the University of Washington, Washington State University and other state research institutions. Administered by the Washington State Department of Commerce, key growth sectors targeted by the W Fund include biotech and clean tech. The fund intends to start considering investments in early 2012. Read the Governor's press release...

Universities Commit to Initiatives that Foster Innovation and Entrepreneurship

With increasing pressures from state and local policymakers to show a return on investment, universities and colleges across the country are stepping up their efforts to transform innovative ideas into ready-for-market products and develop a new generation of entrepreneurs that will spur regional and state economic growth. Recently, several universities announced new initiatives to foster innovation and build entrepreneurial capacity including: Auburn breaking ground on a new $28.8 million science center; Harvard's Innovation Lab opening its doors; and, The LaunchPad Ohio announcement at four universities in Northeast Ohio.

Report Calls for a Collaborative Infrastructure of Technology Transfer in SE Wisconsin

In Technology Transfer in Southeast Wisconsin, a new report from the Public Policy Forum, researchers call for a "full-fledged collaborative infrastructure" that is adept at transferring technologies developed at the region's research institutions to entrepreneurs that will use them to create businesses and jobs in the region. The report does tout some efforts to develop a collaborative infrastructure for the knowledge economy including the recently established Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin (CTSI) — a collaborative dedicated to using research to inform and improve medical practice that includes the region's prominent research and academic institutions. However, according to the report, "many more dollars are spent on research and development than are recouped in licensing royalties or equity positions in new companies" in southeastern Wisconsin. To remedy this problem, the report provides three models that could enhance regional collaboration in technology transfer and potentially augment the effectiveness of existing efforts:

Florida Introduces Loan Program for University Spinouts

Florida's Institute for Commercialization of Public Research has launched a new loan program for early stage and life science companies developing technologies out of the state's universities and research institutions. The Seed Capital Accelerator Program will match private investment in university spinouts through loans of $50,000 to $300,000. The program is intended to help attract the attention of angel and venture firms to promising university research.

White House Directs Federal Agencies To Speed Commercialization

The Obama administration recently announced two directives to accelerate the commercialization of research and provide small businesses with streamlined access to federal resources. In his announcement, President Obama tied the directives to his administration's recent jobs push, and noted the need to bypass Congress in order to quickly implement the changes.

New England Clean Energy Foundation Announced New Clean Tech Initiative

The New England Clean Energy Foundation (NECEF), in partnership with the Connecticut Clean Energy Finance & Investment Authority, announced a new initiative to spur innovation and research in clean technology across New England. According to the Boston Business Journal, The New England i6 Green Program leverages a $1.25 million i6 Challenge award from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration and an additional $1.65 million raised by over 40 partner organizations (e.g., state agencies and nonprofit organizations) to fund a consortium aimed at addressing the region's gaps in the current clean energy innovation ecosystem through a combination of capacity- and network-building. NECEF's i6 program initially will be tasked with two responsibilities:

Incubator Round Up

Spending time at a technology or business incubator may be the key to learning about entrepreneurship. Some universities, seeking to ramp up entrepreneurship programs, are turning to incubators as real-world teachers. A recent Washington Post article points to several business schools pairing traditional education, such as courses and lectures, with less-conventional approaches, including incubators and business competitions to prepare students for opportunities outside the classroom. Recent announcements of new and emerging technology incubators from across the U.S. and Canada are included below.

Michigan Orgs Awarded $25M to Support Entrepreneurs

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) recently announced the recipients of $25 million in awards from Michigan's 21st Century Jobs Fund. Each of the eight organizations receiving the awards will use the funding to support Michigan entrepreneurs and technology commercialization. The largest single allotment, $10.8 million, will benefit Ann Arbor SPARK, which plans to replenish its Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund with the award. Other recipient organizations will be offering capital and business assistance around the state.

New NSF Program Promises to Boost Commercialization of Academic Research

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, a public-private partnership, intends to connect NSF-funded scientific research with a project team, made up of professionals from the technological, entrepreneurial and business communities, to help transition NSF-funded scientific and engineering discoveries at institutions of higher education into commercial technologies, products and processes. I-Corps grants will provide financial support to project teams in determining the commercialization potential of the technologies developed through previous or current NSF awards. Each I-Corps team will include a principal investigator, an entrepreneurial lead and an I-Corps mentor. The outcome of each I-Corps funded project will be:

Legislative Wrap-Up: Support for TBED Initiatives in DE, ME, NV, NC, TX

Lawmakers in several states wrapped up their 2011 sessions in time for the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1 for most states, allocating funds and passing bills in support of tech-based economic development. Read more...


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