policy recommendations

SSTI submits letter to CDFI Fund on equity certification

In response to a request for information, SSTI submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury’s CDFI Fund about the certification process and standards for community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Just 1.4 percent of all CDFIs and 0.2 percent of total assets are registered by the CDFI Fund as “venture capital,” which is concerning given the importance of equity for many startups. SSTI’s recommendations include launching a campaign to make more venture development organizations aware of certification’s benefits and establishing more flexible subsidiary guidelines and target market thresholds for these organizations until investment capital is better-represented in the CDFI Fund’s portfolio. Read the full letter.

Top Stories from 2016 and a Preview of 2017

This week, we take a look at the top SSTI Weekly Digest stories from 2016 and give you an idea of what to look for in the coming months.

ITIF, Brookings Urge Expansion of TBED Support

To ensure economic growth and the success of the industries of tomorrow, the U.S. government needs to expand federal support for research and improve the efficiency of the process of federally funded knowledge leading to U.S. innovation and jobs, according to a recently released study by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and the Brookings Institution’s Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking. In Localizing the economic impact of research and development: Policy proposals for the Trump administration and Congress, ITIF and Brookings suggest 50 policy proposals that the new administration and Congress can undertake to bolster tech transfer, commercialization, and innovation.

Tech Sector Affects Every Congressional District

The country’s competitive position in the global economy hinges on developing broad-based understanding and support for federal policies that will spur innovation and growth.  The policy discussions surrounding the high-tech economy should encompass all congressional districts, not just the iconic places like Silicon Valley, according to a report released this week by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). Every congressional district has some kind of technology and innovation capacity – either from long-established industries, like agriculture or manufacturing, or because developments like access to broadband have allowed innovators to create new, IT-enabled enterprises in any place they choose.  Therefore, each district has a stake in ensuring the high-tech economy’s future, the authors contend.

Vote to Get Innovation in Presidential Debates!

Critical issues for the innovation economy seemed to play a prominent role early in this presidential campaign cycle. Bernie Sanders pushed to make college debt free, Republicans  incorporated H-1B visas into their immigration stances and Hillary Clinton proposed a platform to support innovation. After one presidential and the vice-presidential debate, however, innovation, technology and education have received very limited attention. However, moderators for Sunday’s debate will be looking at the top 30 questions voted on by the public for possible inclusion in the next debate. The current top 30 suggestions indicate the public wants to hear answers to real policy questions, including a few on the economy and education. There is still time for you (and colleagues, friends, etc.) to help ensure that some of the more relevant items are selected.

Clinton Innovation Agenda Addresses TBED Priorities

The Clinton campaign released on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton’s Initiative on Technology & Innovation, a wide-ranging platform with a heavy emphasis on technology-based economic development. Most of the coverage emphasizes her proposals for universal broadband access, computer science education, and student-debt forgiveness for entrepreneurs. The plan also explicitly supports policies sought by SSTI members, including increased support for the Regional Innovation Program and using a portion of federal research budgets for commercialization capacity building grants.

CBPP Report: State Job Creation Strategies Often Misguided

State economic development policies that focus on deep income tax cuts or tax breaks to lure companies from other states ignore fundamental data points about job creation, and as a result are more likely to fail, according to a recently released report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. While alluding to the importance of encouraging entrepreneurship and firm survival more broadly, the authors also argue that public investments should be targeted at helping build a skilled workforce and improve the quality of life for residents.

FL, KY, TX, Others Use Data to Improve Postsecondary Graduates’ Chances of Finding, Keeping Well-Paying Jobs

Using data to track recent graduates in the workforce helps ensure postsecondary education institutions are preparing graduates for successful careers, according to a report recently released by the National Governors Association (NGA) – Tracking Graduates into the Workforce: Connecting Education and Labor Market Data. In this report, NGA contends that accurate, real-time information is a key element of functional labor markets. The NGA report starts with a discussion about the importance of connecting postsecondary education and training programs with labor market data to spur job creation, address the needs of industry, and stimulate economic prosperity. Through the report, NGA highlights new practices in Florida, Kentucky, and a multistate collaboration (between Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) that NGA authors believe are promising strategies to better connecting postsecondary and training programs with the needs of industry. In addition to the NGA report, the Rand Corporation released a report on how the state of Texas is using workforce information to make informed decisions to develop or expand postsecondary education programs.

Total Venture Capital Investment Rose 95% in Top 20 Startup Ecosystems from 2013-2014, New Report Shows

Total venture capital investment rose 95 percent in 20 of the world’s top startup ecosystems from 2013-2014, according to The Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking 2015 – a 160-report from Compass, formerly Startup Genome. Compass researchers also found that the global startup ecosystem landscape is maturing rapidly with non-Silicon Valley ecosystems capturing 14 percent more of the exit value pie in three years (2012-2014). In 2014, non-Silicon Valley startup ecosystems captured 59 percent of the value of all startup exits, up from approximately 45 percent in 2012. The report includes several recommendations for policymakers and investors to support or grow their region’s startup ecosystem including:

New Reports Outline Strategies to Support Female Entrepreneurs, Accelerate Economic Growth in Wisconsin, U.S.

Women as business owners may be an underutilized resource for economic development and growth in the state of Wisconsin, according to a recent study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) – Women Business Leaders Across Wisconsin, 1990-2011. The researchers found that women-owned or managed more than 80,000 Wisconsin-based businesses (nearly 19 percent of all businesses) in 2011. Those businesses employed over 550,000 workers and earned $45 billion in sales. The authors found that the number of women-owned or managed businesses more than tripled between 1990 and 2011, growing significantly during the 1990s and then stabilizing between 2000 and 2011.The study also cites research that women-led businesses are more effectively led, financially honest, have more customers, increased sales and greater profits.


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