St. Louis Launches $100M Initiative to Strengthen Innovation Ecosystem

Business, civic, and political leaders in St. Louis are coming together to raise $100 million in private funds over the next five years to support the Regional Entrepreneurial Initiative, a new effort aimed at helping emerging regional businesses grow and thrive. The project was launched with funding from the federal government and will draw on several ongoing fundraising initiatives in the community. About 80 percent of the funds will be used to provide capital support for startup businesses, with the remaining 20 percent directed toward entrepreneurial support and mentoring, according to the St. Louis Beacon.

Seattle, Atlanta Launch New Initiatives to Support Startups

New nonprofit initiatives have been re-defined in Seattle and Atlanta to support their cities' startup communities. Startup Seattle and Startup Atlanta will work to serve, support, and link the regional innovation systems and startup ventures in their respective cities. Both entities previously were developed by and for the local entrepreneurial communities to support new companies but are restructuring as independent organizations.

Communities Reshape Unused Sites, Buildings to Spur Tech Growth

London's Mayor Boris Johnson has announced an initiative to transform Olympic Park into a creative and digital business hub for the city. According to an article from, the proposed redevelopment promises to boost the United Kingdom's (UK) GDP by $450 million ($692.5 million US) and create more than 6,500 new jobs. In partnership with the London Legacy Development Corporation, the city will make major investments in the areas surrounding the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, including the construction of three feature buildings:

Brookings: The Geography of U.S. Patenting Activity, Economic Growth

Invention is a driver of economic growth. That is the assertion of Brookings latest report on U.S. patenting and its effect on the country's economic prosperity entitled Patenting Prosperity: Invention and Economic Performance in the United States and its Metropolitan Areas. The U.S.'s innovative capacity and activity has increased steadily, but other nations are catching up and the U.S. must identify the implications of this fact to remain competitive. Authors Jonathan Rothwell, José Lobo, Deborah Strumsky, and Mark Muro compiled USPTO patent information from 1975 to 2012 detailing the quality of the patent, the metropolitan area of residence of the inventor, the industrial orientation of the patent and other relevant material. They found that high rates of patenting coincide with greater productivity, lower unemployment and the creation of publicly traded companies within U.S. Statistical Metropolitan Areas. The correlation is strong enough that the authors claim the effect of patents on growth is roughly equal to that of having a highly educated workforce.

Three Bold Proposals to Revive U.S. Manufacturing Base Unveiled

The Brookings Institute, in partnership with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), released three bold policy proposals intended to bolster the competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing and advanced industries sector by improving innovation, workforce, and higher education connections. Each proposal paper provides a compelling argument for the federal government to make a strategic investment that will help to renew the national, state and local manufacturing bases to address poor U.S. economic performance since the Great Recession including sagging gross domestic product (less than 2 percent annually growth), skyrocketing numbers of individuals living in/near poverty and wage stagnation. Proposals include 20 U.S. manufacturing universities, a network of advanced industries innovation HUBs and a competition for states and a Race to the Shop competition.

Investment in Broadband Infrastructure Drives Economic Growth, Competitiveness

While Washington remains in political gridlock and the national economy continues sluggish growth, one key trend for political and economic success is apparent: U.S. metro regions experiencing high economic growth have invested federal, state, and private funds in high-speed broadband access.

EDA Awards $3M to Three Cities for Economic Development Planning

The Department of Commerce announced the winners of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Challenge, the Economic Development Administration-led competition seeking to help cities and regions develop a comprehensive economic development strategy. Greensboro, North Carolina, Hartford, Connecticut, and Las Vegas, Nevada each were awarded $1 million to assist in the refinement and implementation of their respective plans. This year's competition follows on the success of a 2011 pilot program, which made awards to six cities, and a Presidential Executive Order signed in March establishing the White House Council on Strong Cites, Strong Communities.

Obama Administration Announced New i6 Challenge Winners

The Obama administration announced the winners of the third round of the i6 Challenge, a national competition to support proof of concept centers at universities and research consortiums across the country. Approximately $7 million will be awarded to support seven proof of concept centers — based in California, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Virginia and Wisconsin — that will establish regional networks of experts to support innovators and researchers, expand access to capital and connect mentors/advisors to entrepreneurs and small businesses. Read the press release...

Large Metros Dominate U.S. Manufacturing Landscape, Brookings Finds

A large majority of U.S. manufacturing jobs are located in large metropolitan areas, according to a new paper from the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program. In 2010, about 79.5 percent of manufacturing employment was centered in large metros and in central metropolitan counties. Over the past two years, however, there has been a slight shift in manufacturing activity back towards non-metro areas, as U.S. manufacturing has experienced a small resurgence. On the whole, the move towards metropolitan areas since 1980 has been healthy for the national economy, since it has allowed different cities to develop specialized industry clusters, according to the report.

State Tax Revenues Rise to Pre-Recession Levels, but Local Governments See Decline

A steady increase in personal income and sales taxes has helped state tax revenue in most states to surpass previous peak levels seen at the start of the recession. All regions of the country saw gains in the fourth quarter of 2011, with the exception of the Far West. The Plains had the largest gain, at 12.5 percent, followed by the Great Lakes states at 8.9 percent. However, tax collections for local governments are not faring as well mostly due to the lagged impact of falling housing prices on property tax collections. Findings are from a recent Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government report that looks at the impact of taxes on state revenue and highlights trends affecting state revenue changes.


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