Economic Development

NYC Economic Development Corp Announces Winner of NYC Next Idea Competition

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced that the winner of this year’s NYC Next Idea competition is Senvol.

NYC Next Idea winners

NYC Next Idea winners (photo – NYCEDC)

Senvol LLC is a Philadelphia-based startup which makes use of a proprietary algorithm to help manufacturers determine which components and parts can be more cost-effectively made using 3D printing instead of traditional methods.

As the winner of the NYC Next Idea competition, Senvol is receiving $35,000, along with office space and business services to help them launch their innovative venture in New York City.

To be specific, they are getting office space free of rent for six months at the Columbia Startup Lab, and pro bono services from JustWorks, GLG Share, and intellectual property law specialist Michael J. Kasdan from the law firm of Wiggin and Dana LLP.

The competition was designed by NYCDEC and Columbia University’s Engineering School, and Senvol ended up being chosen as the winner out of 242 teams from 51 countries.

NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball said the record participation in the competition this year demonstrates that recent graduates and students from all over the world are seeking opportunities to bring their entrepreneurial spirit to New York City.

A stringent evaluation process narrowed the 242 participating teams down to six finalists. The final selection of Senvol as the winner was based on 10-minute pitches made by each team and a Q&A before a panel of five judges and a packed audience of investors, government officials and entrepreneurs at the AppNexus headquarters.

Senvol Co-founders Annie Wang and Zach Simkin, both MBA candidates at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, said that NYC was an incredible place to be for a start-up because of the unparalleled access to capital, talent, companies and customers. They added that NYC has the strongest 3D printing community in the world, and there is no other place they would rather be.

AirCare Labs, which came in second place, has developed a telehealth platform that allow medical professionals to remotely monitor and interact with patients using apps on tablets or phones. They are also getting six months of rent-free office space at Columbia Startup Lab.

The other four finalists were:-

- Edenworks, which has developed a sustainable closed-loop agricultural technique for urban farming;

- NCY Breathe, which has developed a wireless pollution sensor;

- NINU, which is a digital pregnancy companion; and

- Magazino, which provides automated storage solutions and is looking to create a global database that will show how best to handle goods robotically.

NYC Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen said the talent exhibited by each of the participants in the competition proves that New York City is, and will remain, a center of innovation and entrepreneurship in the global economy.

Greater Portland Economic Development Organization Joins Global Cities FDI Pilot Program

Greater Portland Inc (GPI), the regional partnership that leads Greater Portland economic development efforts, announced that it is joining a pilot program for creating and implementing plans for attracting foreign direct investment.

Greater Portland

Greater Portland (photo –

The pilot program is a part of the Global Cities Initiative, which is a joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.

The Great Portland economic development team will be joining representatives from Seattle, San Diego, San Antonio, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Columbus, OH.

All these teams are in Seattle now to participate in the pilot program’s first working session to discuss the process for developing a plan to attract FDI.

Brookings chose these six metropolitan areas through an extensive process under which applicants including Greater Portland were evaluated for their readiness and commitment to pursue FDI through mergers and acquisitions, greenfield expansions and other such foreign investments from sovereign wealth funds, equity joint funds, etc.

Brad McDearman, Brookings fellow and director of metro trade and investment, said they selected metro areas committed to attracting and leveraging FDI as part of a comprehensive global trade and investment strategy.

McDearman added that the six metros chosen for this round will serve as strong role models for other regions, and represent a growing group of leaders who understand the need for embracing the global market in order to be competitive in the 21st century economy.

Sean Robbins, president and chief executive officer of Greater Portland Inc, said they see their partnership in the Global Cities Initiative as an important asset to the region’s economic sustainability. Robbins said that alongside exports, FDI is a key building block for growing a modern economy and creating family-wage jobs at home.

As one of the participants in the pilot program, Greater Portland will be required to come up with an FDI market assessment and plan, and an implementation plan and policy memo.

Greater Portland’s team in this effort will be jointly led by Derrick Olsen, vice president of Regional Strategy and Coordination, Greater Portland Inc, and by Michael Gurton, the Portland Development Commission’s International Business Development Officer.

Other team members participating in the pilot as Greater Portland representatives include Amanda Lowthian and Karen Goddin from Business Oregon; City of Hillsboro economic development officials Sarah Garrison and Mark Clemons; Jonathan Fink, vice president for Research and Strategic Partnerships at Portland State University; and Kellie Holloway Jarman, an international trade specialist at the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Portland.

Massachusetts Governor Announces $100M Economic Development Package

Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick announced a $100 million economic development package for the state which includes middle skills job training, investments in the state’s 26 Gateway Cities, and enhanced incentives for creating jobs.

Sec. Greg Bialecki kicks off MA Economic Development Summit

Sec. Greg Bialecki kicks off MA Economic Development Summit (photo –

The Governor’s bill, called An Act to Promote Growth and Opportunity, calls for a multi-year $100 million investment through a combination of general fund and capital budget expenditures.

Massachusetts Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki said this legislation is the next step towards ensuring the Commonwealth’s long-term prosperity.

Bialecki added that the initiatives the bill is helping implement will extend economic opportunity to every resident of the Commonwealth and will continue to accelerate the thriving innovation economy.

The Governor’s plan includes recapitalization of the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, the state’s working capital lender to small businesses. The plan also creates a Transformative Development Fund at MassDevelopment to make equity investments and provide funding for collaborative workspaces in Gateway Cities.

The bill seeks to expand the Housing Development Incentive Program which promotes market-rate housing in Gateway Cities. The State will contribute to the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund which helps redevelop old manufacturing properties in economically-distressed areas and put them into productive use.

The plan proposes an expansion of the Infrastructure Investment Inventive program (I-Cubed) which provides innovative financing for infrastructure projects that may be expected to leverage significant investments.

There’s also a proposal to get rid of the cap on the number of liquor licenses that local licensing authorities can issue.

Job creation related proposals include extending eligibility for state incentives to innovative companies that create jobs, regardless of the investment amount. The proposal also calls for extending the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative’s internship and mentoring program which offers companies tech companies grants for hiring interns.

Other proposals in the plan include recapitalizing the state’s public venture capital investment agency MassVentures, and modifying the R&D tax credit program to offer larger credit to companies whose R&D investments are rising.

The Governor made the announcement about this $100 million package at the second annual Massachusetts Economic Development Summit, attended by nearly 300 government, academic and business leaders.

The summit was convened for discussing the implementation of the state’s economic development plan called “Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century.” This plan has 55 action steps that describe how business, academia and government can collaborate to make Massachusetts more competitive and successful.

Pew Launches Economic Development Incentives Initiative With Seven States

The Pew Charitable Trusts announced that it is launching an economic development incentives initiative under which it will collect and analyze performance data about the business incentive programs of seven states.

Pew economic development incentives initiative

Pew economic development incentives initiative (photo –

The aim of the 18-month “Business Incentive Initiative” is to identify best practices and create national standards that all states can follow for gathering and reporting data on economic development incentives .

Pew says on the initiative’s webpage that accurate data on incentive programs could greatly improve the ability of decision-makers to craft policies that deliver the strongest results at the lowest possible cost, and the data could also help fulfill public demand for more accountability and transparency.

The seven participating states are Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Virginia.

Pew, in partnership with the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness, will be coordinating with teams of economic development practitioners and policymakers from these seven states.

Together, they will work on the following:-

- Identifying effective ways of managing and assessing economic development incentive practices and policies;

- Improving data collection and reporting on incentive investments; and

- Developing best practices and national standards that can be used by states to gather and report data on incentives.

Indiana applied in Feb 2014 to be considered as a part of the effort. Multiple state agencies will be involved, including the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Department of Revenue, and the State Budget Agency.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said that Indiana remains committed to delivering both a business-friendly climate for job creators and a high level of transparency for Hoosier taxpayers.

The Governor said that by participating in this study and evaluating the way the state conducts business, they will be able to ensure that Indiana continues to maintain a competitive edge and provide the top-notch, open and accountable service that Hoosiers deserve.

Jeff Chapman, who is managing The Pew Charitable Trusts economic development incentives project, said that Pew’s partnership with Indiana on this project will enhance the quality of information available to determine which tax incentives work and which ones are not working, and how these programs can be improved.

Georgia Moves Office of Workforce Development Into Economic Development Dept

The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) is now the new home of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development, where it will be repositioned as a new Workforce Division.

Georgia Office of Workforce Development joins Economic Development Dept

Georgia Office of Workforce Development joins Economic Development Dept (photo –

The move ensures that workforce development efforts in Georgia will be aligned with economic realities and the needs of businesses looking to succeed in the state.

Georgia Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr said he was excited that the Office of Workforce Development was now part of GDEcD, and added that the knowledgeable staff and resources will only enhance GDEcD’s portfolio.

Commissioner Carr added that by aligning these entities, the state gains an enhanced ability to attract new business and ensure that existing industry continues to thrive in a business-friendly climate.

Ben Hames, Deputy Commissioner, Workforce Division, GDEcD, said this move to a streamlined structure highlights Gov. Deal’s understanding that workforce issues are paramount to economic development in Georgia.

This structuring came about as a result of the Governor’s High Demand Career Initiative (HDCI) created earlier this year. It brings the GDEcD together with key business leaders in the state, the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and the University System of Georgia (USG).

Putting the GDEcD and leaders from the industry and educational system together at one table creates a clear picture of what businesses in the state need, pairs them with existing assets, and allows for collective action to tackle the gaps one by one.

Since the GDEcD was coordinating this initiative, it made sense for the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development to be rolled into GDEcD so that their combined resources could be focused and aligned on implementing the initiative.

The new Workforce Division moving into GDEcD will now take the lead on the HDCI initiative to ensure that Georgia’s economic development infrastructure is able to meet the workforce needs of businesses in the state.

Gov. Nathan Deal will be kicking off the HDCI initiative with a series of meetings scheduled to take place over the next two months in Atlanta, Statesboro and Dalton. The Governor will be personally attending each of these three meetings designed to allow USG and TCSG to hear directly from companies in Georgia on their specific workforce needs.

New Mexico Economic Development Dept Deployed $5.4M in SSBCI Funding

The U.S. Department of Treasury has published a report that provides a summary of states’ progress in assisting small businesses with the help of federal funding under the Treasury‚Äôs State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI).

SSBCI report

SSBCI report

According to the report, the New Mexico Economic Development Department and New Mexico Finance Authority have deployed $5,412,974 in SSBCI funding to provide loans for small businesses.

New Mexico utilizes SSBCI funds for attracting private lending and investments into small businesses, and this is often done in partnership with local financial institutions.

NM Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela said these funds are a great resource to drive growth for New Mexico’s small businesses, and added that they invite small business owners to take part in this opportunity which helps leverage their assets and expand.

The SSBCI funded loans provided to small businesses in the state since 2011 have helped attract another $7 million in private investment and created 151 new jobs.

The State of New Mexico was awarded a total of $13,168,350 under SSBCI. Having deployed the initial $5,412,974 to good effect, the New Mexico Economic Development Department has received a second allocation of $4,345,555.

The SSBCI was created within the U.S. Treasury under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 as a program to encourage small business lending. SSBCI was authorized to provide $1.5 billion in support of new and existing state programs that invest in and lend to small businesses and small manufacturers.

This $1.5 billion in federal funding is expected to help drive $15 billion in additional private sector investments and lending to small businesses and small manufacturers.

Every state that sought these funds had to demonstrate that their programs had a reasonable expectation of being able to leverage every $1 in SSBCI funding to generate another $10 in new small business investments or lending.

In 2011 and 2012, the Treasury signed SSBCI allocation agreements with 47 states, D.C., five territories and four consortia of municipalities, and is disbursing funds to them in three installments.

As of Dec 31, 2013, the 47 states and other recipients have already been allocated more than $1 billion, and have expended, obligated or transferred more than $750 million of the allocated funding.

Six states reported recycling a total of $5,626,701 that had been repaid and then deployed again into new SSBCI loans or investments.

Read the full SSBCI report – Download (pdf)

Kentucky Economic Development Chief to Lead New Automotive Industry Association

Governor Steve Beshear announced the formation of the new Kentucky Automotive Industry Association, which he said will play a vital role in addressing the challenges, solutions and opportunities facing the industry.

Gov. Steve Beshear announcing KY Automotive Industry Association

Gov. Steve Beshear announcing KY Automotive Industry Association (photo – Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development)

The Governor said the association will create a unified voice for an industry sector that is profoundly important for the state’s economic health and growth, and will help in highlighting successes and elevating the state’s contributions to the global automotive industry.

The 12-member board of directors of the association is comprised of leaders from industry and government. Larry Hayes, secretary of the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet, will serve as the inaugural chairman.

Hayes said that the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association was formed hand-in-hand with the state’s auto manufacturers and suppliers. It is a partnership, said Hayes, which he has no doubt will create an environment in which tangible results and continued growth for Kentucky’s economy will be seen.

Auto manufacturing leaders on the board include Eric Henning, regional director for state government relations, General Motors Company; Mike Goss, general manager for external affairs, Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc.; and Gabby Bruno, regional director for state government relations, Ford Motor Company.

Automotive supplier leaders on the board include Toru (Richard) Kamioke, president and CEO, Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Inc.; Rich Whitaker, vice president, Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems Inc.; Doug Cain, CEO, Mubea North America; Mike Hirsch, vice president of operations for passenger car steering systems, ZF Steering Systems LLC; Kurt Krug, vice president of North American human resources, INOAC; Brandon Kessinger, vice president and general counsel, Akebono Brake Corporation; Jim Rachlin, president, Metalsa Light Vehicles; and Joe Adamcik, director of planning and strategy, AGC Automotive Americas.

These 11 board members and Hayes will develop the association and set strategic goals and activities, taking a leading role in creating collaborative partnerships that will advance the auto industry in Kentucky.

More than 1.2 million vehicles rolled off automotive assembly lines in Kentucky in 2013, leading to $5.5 billion in motor vehicle exports from the state. There are more than 460 motor vehicle-related establishments in the state, and these companies together employ nearly 82,000 people.

Almost 300 motor vehicle-related projects have been announced in Kentucky in the last five years, generating about $4 billion in new investments and 17,600 new jobs.

Georgia Economic Development Dept Gets Presidential E Star Award

The Georgia Department of Economic Development has been selected to receive the Presidential E Star Award. The GDEcD is being awarded for excellence in the export programs and services it offers through its International Trade Division.

Presidential E Award and E Star Award for excellence in exporting

Presidential E Award and E Star Award for excellence in exporting (photo –

The “E” and “E Star” awards are the highest honor the nation can bestow on an export service organization.

The history of these awards goes back to World War II, when more than 4,000 war plants received “E” pennants for their production excellence. The flag emblazoned with the big E on it became a badge of honor for American producers involved in the war effort.

In 1961, President Kennedy revived the “E” Award as a means of honoring and recognizing excellence by America’s exporters. The “E Star” is given to recognize continued efforts in export growth by organizations that have already won an “E” Award previously.

Georgia was awarded its first “E” in 1970, and this will be the state’s second “E Star” following one in 2007 for shared leadership approach and facilitation of export activities that lead to export growth among companies in the state.

Governor Nathan Deal said that international trade has a powerful job creation effect which enriches the lives of Georgians and helps the state remain a leader in the global markerplace.

The Governor congratulated the Georgia Economic Development Department’s International Trade Division, and said he looks forward to continuing their partnership to keep Georgia the No.1 place in which to do business.

The International Trade Division of the GDEcD works to match suppliers in Georgia with buyers around the world, and offers a wide range of export promotion services that are available to Georgia companies. Not to mention access to and assistance from the state’s international representatives in 11 strategic global markets.

GDEcD Commissioner Chris Carr said that developing and maintaining solid international exports is vital for bringing investment and jobs to Georgia.

Commissioner Carr noted that exports by Georgia companies were responsible for creating and retaining 227,747 jobs last year, and added that he couldn’t be more proud to work for an organization with a nationally recognized export assistance program.

In 2013, more than 14,500 companies in the state exported $37.6 billion in goods and services to 230 countries and territories. For its part, the GDEcD International Trade Division’s work with 1,346 companies in FY 2013 resulted in 420 export deals worth $35.9 million.

Kathe Falls, director of the International Trade Division, said she was thrilled that the Georgia Department of Economic Development has been selected to receive its second E Star Award. Falls added that they are striving to offer Georgians the highest quality services, and the award recognizes those efforts.

Senate Finance Committee Approves Startup Innovation Credit Act

The Senate Finance Committee has approved a bill that allows startups and small businesses to claim the federal R&D tax credit against their payroll taxes instead of income tax.

Video - Senator Chris Coons discusses the need for R&D tax credits for small businesses

Video – Senator Chris Coons discusses the need for R&D tax credits for small businesses

The bill was originally authored by U.S. Senators Chris Coons and Mike Enzi as a stand-alone bill (pdf) called the Startup Innovation Credit Act.

It was reintroduced as an amendment to a tax extenders package bill that has just been approved by the Senate Finance Committee, and now goes to the floor of the U.S. Senate for a vote from the full Senate.

The amendment to the Internal Revenue Code extends for another two years the original R&D tax credit which had expired on Dec 31, 2013, and further modifies it by helping new startups and small businesses which have little or no income tax liability take advantage of the R&D tax credit.

It would otherwise be available only to large businesses with income tax liabilities significant enough to enable them to claim tax credits. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), more than half of this credit goes every year to companies that have $1 billion or more in receipts.

Senator Coons said that the R&D tax credit has helped tens of thousands of American companies make investments for innovation that creates jobs, but startups haven’t been able to take advantage.

The bill would make the Startup Innovation Credit available to companies that are less than five years old and have less than $5 million in gross receipts.

If the two versions of this bill passed by the Senate Finance Committee are both approved and become law, then startups and small businesses that qualify for this tax credit would be able to claim the credit and reduce their Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) liability or employer-side employment taxes by an equivalent amount up to $250,000.

U.S. Senator for New York Charles E. Schumer, who is one of the sponsors of the amendment, said that this bill will make sure that startups in New York and throughout the country can devote more resources to innovation and creating jobs.

Sen. Schumer added that he will fight for the bill’s passage in the full Senate. Before it can be signed into law, the tax extenders package will need to be approved by the full Senate, and a version of the bill must be approved by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Main Street Montana Project Releases Economic Development Plan

Montana Governor Steve Bullock unveiled an economic development plan for the state that was developed over the last 10 months by the Main Street Montana Project.

Gov. Steve Bullock announcing Main Street Montana Project economic development plan

Gov. Steve Bullock announcing Main Street Montana Project economic development plan (photo –

The announcement was made at events in Billings and Helena by Gov. Bullock and co-chairs of the Main Street Montana Project Bill Johnstone and Larry Simkins.

Simkins is president and CEO of the Washington Companies, and Johnstone is the president and CEO of D.A. Davidson & Co.

Gov. Bullock said that with input from Montana economic development specialists, business and labor leaders, entrepreneurs and educators, the state now has a plan that will allow Montana’s economy to grow for years to come.

The plan is based around five principles (the report calls them “pillars”) that serve as the foundation of the economic development blueprint.

1. Train and educate tomorrow’s workforce today – Apart from traditional education, the report also calls for the alignment of the educational system and programs with the needs of the economy. They also stress on the importance of engaging the private sector to develop job skills in the workforce through apprenticeships and other programs.

2. Create a climate that attracts, retains and grows business – The report suggests making government more efficient and effective while fostering and promoting a business-friendly climate. They also suggest increasing access to capital for new and existing businesses, and improving the coordination between state, local and tribal development agencies and programs.

3. Build upon Montana’s economic foundation – Under this pillar, the report suggests improvement of communications and transportation infrastructure to facilitate trade and exports. They also call for protecting the state’s outdoor heritage and quality of life, and suggest that local communities should be assisted with sustainable development and planning for adjusting to the impacts of development.

4. Market Montana – Key ideas mentioned under this pillar include promotion of the Montana Brand to recruit tourists, workers and businesses, and better coordination of tourism marketing with other elements of the economy. They also say that more investments in marketing tools and programs are needed to increase exports and promotion of goods made in Montana.

5. Nurture emerging industries and businesses and encourage innovation РSuggestions mentioned for this pillar include improving education and job training opportunities and programs, and enhancing the university system’s role as incubator of new technologies and ideas through R&D efforts. They also call for supporting new and emerging businesses by providing access to capital, along with financial and marketing education.

The next phase of the Main Street Montana Project is the implementation of this economic development plan, starting with the “Key Industry Networks” of private sector leaders that will be convened for each of the industry sectors mentioned in the report. Each of these networks will work with state officials to implement specific tasks required of their sector.

Johnstone and Simkins will continue to oversee the Project’s work, and will issue annual reports providing updates of accomplishments and work that still remains to be done.

Read the full plan developed by Main Street Montana Project – Download (pdf)

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