private initiatives

Huntington Bank Commits $25M for Comprehensive Economic Development Programming in Flint

As the water crisis in Flint, MI, continues to capture headlines, details on potential relief efforts are beginning to emerge. In January, President Obama granted $5 million in emergency funding to address the crisis, while the state has approved $67 million in funding since October. To provide for more immediate relief efforts, The FlintNOW Foundation, created by Flint-native Tom Gores, Chairman and CEO of Platinum Equity and the owner of the Detroit Pistons, seeks to deliver private sector support in the wake of the crisis. FlintNOW announced late last month that Ohio-based Huntington Bank would help to support the foundation’s mission for comprehensive economic development programming in the region, providing $25 million to support businesses, entrepreneurs, and residents.

As Industry Leaders Seek Innovation, Corporate Accelerators Continue To Emerge

More and more established companies are trying to keep pace with technological changes by increasing their presence in the startup community. Although some companies choose to locate divisions such as software in places like the Bay Area, others are taking a more hands-on approach. Corporate accelerators function as startup accelerators that receive significant and public support from established firms such as financial investments, privileged access to resources, official endorsements by the corporation, as well as continued organizational ties. These accelerators, which continue to emerge both in the United States and abroad, illustrate a full-fledged trend in how established firms are using the startup model to innovate within their industries.

NREL, Wells Fargo Launch $10M Cleantech Innovation Incubator, $2.3M Tech Accelerator

The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will administer two new initiatives to bring clean energy technologies to market. Lab-Corps, a $2.3 million pilot program, will build on the National Science Foundation’s iCorps model to accelerate the development of cleantech discoveries and train lab researchers. Wells Fargo launched the Innovation Incubator (IN2) program, a $10 million environmental grant for clean technology startups funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by NREL and the foundation to foster the development of early stage clean technologies for commercial buildings. Read more…

U.S. Companies Report Water Issues Impact Site Selection, Strategic Planning

In a recent Pacific Institute and Vox Global survey, about 80 percent of U.S. companies reported that water availability has become an issue for their business, particularly among firms in the South and Southwestern regions of the country. About 63 percent said water issues would affect their future location decisions, and more than half reported that they expected water scarcity to impact their growth and profitability over the next five years. This year’s Global Risks report from the World Economic Forum, ranked water concerns as the third greatest risk to the global economy, separate from and ranked above climate change and extreme weather events.  In recognition of these developments, Michigan’s University Research Corridor institutions have begun highlighting their work in the water economy.

Private Sector Input Drives Montana Business Plan

Montana’s new business plan commissioned by Gov. Steve Bullock outlines five overarching themes, described as pillars, with specific goals, objectives and tasks for diversifying the state’s economy. Encouraging innovation and supporting emerging industries is the focus of one pillar, with recommendations for strengthening the role of universities, establishing funding streams for entrepreneurs, and developing a network of statewide business mentors. The Main Street Montana Project was lead by two top business leaders in the state to ensure private sector buy-in, according to the governor.

JPMorgan Chase Launches $250M Initiative to Bridge Global Skills Gap

JPMorgan Chase & Co recently announced details of a new five-year, $250 million global initiative to address the global skills gap in high-tech industries. The New Skills at Work initiative will help generate accurate data on employer demand at the regional level, and assist workforce training groups in developing effective programs to meet those demands. Operations will focus on major U.S. and European cities, staring with Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, the San Francisco Bay area and London. The first round of grants will be announced in early 2014. Read the announcement…

Time for a Paradigm Shift in University-Industry Collaboration, According to Report

University-industry collaborations need a paradigm shift from the traditional one-way knowledge transfer model to a two-way knowledge co-creation model, according to a new report from the Big Innovation Centre (BIC) — Collaborate to Innovate. The authors propose that a shift toward a knowledge co-creation paradigm focused on holistic relationships between university and industry, specifically small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), will have more significant economic and societal impacts than the traditional one-way knowledge transfer that relies primarily on patents, licensing and startup formation. Although focused on the innovation ecosystem in the UK, the paper addresses four universally important questions on how to achieve successful university-business collaborations via a co-creation model:

Careers in Nanotech Goal of Latest Investments in NY, IL

A public-private investment of $1.5 billion to create a nanotech hub in upstate New York and a $250,000 educational investment in Illinois illustrate recent state efforts to elevate nanotechnology in workforce development. New York is putting $200 million toward the Nano Utica facility for purchasing new equipment. The initiative is being led by six global technology companies, and the facility will serve as a cleanroom and research hub for computer chip packaging and lithography development and commercialization. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn recently announced a $250,000 state investment for equipment to prepare high school students for careers in nanotechnology. The school receiving the funds also plans to incorporate nanotechnology programming within its STEM summer camp curriculum.

Google Launches Network of U.S. Tech Hub Partners

Google recently designated seven local entrepreneurial support organizations as the inaugural members of its new Tech Hub network. These organizations will receive financial support, technical content, business tools, and infrastructure upgrades, to support increasing demand from software developers and startups. Google’s announcement notes that these specific organizations were chosen because of their innovative approaches to launching businesses and their success in creating jobs in their respective communities. The first seven partners include Chicago’s 1871, Durham’s American Underground, Minneapolis’ Coco, Waterloo’s (ON) Communitech, Denver’s Galvanize, Detroit’s Grand Circus and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. Read the announcement...

Universities, Corporations Build New Collaboration Models

Since the beginning of the year, several new partnerships have been launched that are intended to support research collaboration, enhance student-employer relationships and increase overall university-industry engagement. These partnerships focus on creating a more expedited, user-friendly process for industry to partner with universities.


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