Economic Development

NE, AK Universities Get NIST MEP Funding to Support Manufacturing

The NIST Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) has awarded the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Alaska Anchorage funding to shore up manufacturing support in both states.

NIST MEP impact

NIST MEP impact

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been awarded $600,000 and authorized to establish an MEP center.

The $600,000 represents half of the MEP center’s annual operating funding needs. The University is required to come up with matching funds from non-federal sources for the remaining half.

The second grant announced by MEP was a $150,000 funding award to the University of Alaska Anchorage, provided as a State Technology Extension Assistance Project.

This funding will assist the University assess the technical needs of small and mid-sized manufacturers in the state, as Alaska looks towards diversifying its manufacturing base.

This effort is being undertaken by the University on behalf of MEP, and may lead to the establishment of an MEP center in Alaska.

MEP is a program of the U.S. Department of Commerce, housed under the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

MEP works with small and medium-sized manufacturers, helping them with innovation strategies, improvements, implementation of green practices, etc. that help the manufacturers create and retain jobs, increase sales, and save time and money.

In FY 2013 alone, MEP served 30,131 manufacturers. Manufacturers receiving MEP services reported 62,703 increased and retained jobs, cost savings of $1.2 billion and new client investments worth $2.6 billion. Not to mention $6.2 billion in retailed sales and another $2.2 billion in new sales.

MEP has worked with more than 76,000 manufacturers in the past 25 years, helping them rack up sales worth $79 billion and savings worth $12.8 billion.

MEP was first established in 1988, and has since helped create 636,000 jobs and more than $20 billion in investments in the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Every dollar invested by the federal government through MEP generates $19 in new sales growth and $21 in new client investments. MEP helps create or retain one manufacturing job for every $1,978 of federal investment.

The new MEP center in Nebraska and another one possibly in the pipeline in Alaska will join a national network of 400 centers and field offices in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, with a staff that includes more than 1,200 technical experts.

NYC Awards Grants Under Fashion Manufacturing Initiative

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off Fashion Week by announcing that seven fashion manufacturers had been chosen as the inaugural winners of the Fashion Manufacturing Initiative (FMI).

NYC Fashion Manufacturing Initiative

NYC Fashion Manufacturing Initiative (photo –

The FMI is a $3 million public-private program that aims to support and promote the growth of small businesses engaged in fashion manufacturing in the City of New York.

Mayor de Blasio announced the winners at an event held at the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Fashion Incubator in Manhattan’s Garment District.

The FMI is being jointly administered by CDFA and the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

NYCEDC has pledged $1 million in funding for the FMI, and another $1.3 million has been raised from other sources, including $500,000 each from Ralph Lauren and Andrew Rosen’s Theory.

All the winning businesses that receive grants will have to put up matching funds dollar for dollar, which means the total investment into FMI funded projects will reach at least $6 million.

The seven inaugural winners, who together employ more than 300 people, were chosen from a pool of nearly 40 applicants. The seven winners are – New York Embroidery Studio; Martin Greenfield Clothiers; Werkstatt; In Style USA; Create-A-Marker; High Production; and Vogue Too.

They will each receive grants ranging from $46,000 to $150,000, to be used for infrastructure and equipment upgrades, workforce training, increasing business capacity and creating new jobs.

Mayor de Blasio said this initiative will help increase business capacity and will generate economic growth while creating and preserving jobs in the fashion manufacturing industry, which he said will in turn support local designers who rely on the manufacturers.

NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball said the program will boost the city’s fashion manufacturing capacity while supporting small businesses that drive the industry, both of which he said are vital to maintaining NYC’s status as a global fashion capital.

New York City’s $98 billion fashion industry employs more than 180,000 people, accounting for $10.9 billion in wages, and generating nearly $2 billion in annual tax revenues. Out of the $98 billion, a full $8 billion is from annual manufacturing sales.

The City also gets 500,000 annual visitors who come to attend fashion industry events including trade shows and fashion shows. The semi-annual Fashion Weeks by themselves attract some 232,000 attendees each year, generating a total economic impact of $865 million.

Illinois Announces MATTER – Startup Hub For Healthcare Technology

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced a new startup BioHub called MATTER to drive entrepreneurship in the medical and biotechnology fields.

Gov. Pat Quinn announcing startup biohub MATTER

Gov. Pat Quinn announcing startup biohub MATTER (photo –

MATTER will be housed in a 25,000-square-foot facility in Chicago’s historic Merchandise Mart. It will be a supportive space where startups and entrepreneurs will find shared resources, networking and mentorship.

The downtown location also offers immediate access to premier medical institutions and a wealth of cutting-edge technology. Digital startup hub 1871 will be MATTER’s neighbor in the Merchandise Mart.

Gov. Quinn said in a statement that MATTER will serve as a central location for empowering entrepreneurs and spurring economic growth while advancing the role of Illinois as a leader in life sciences and health innovation.

The non-profit MATTER is getting started with $4 million in state funding. This includes a $2.5 million grant and a $1.5 million loan provided through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) as seed funding support for MATTER.

Business leaders, including the MATTER Governing Board Co-chairs Jeff Aronin and Tim Walbert, are raising more funds from the private sector to support the hub.

Aronin, who is chairman and CEO of Paragon Pharmaceuticals and the chair of World Business Chicago’s ChicagoNEXT Bioscience Committee, said that over the past year, hundreds of industry and university leaders and entrepreneurs had volunteered their time to help build the plan for MATTER.

Walbert, who is president, CEO and chairman of Horizon Pharma Inc. and a member of the Illinois Innovation Council, said MATTER will enable a community of life-science entrepreneurs to come together and realize their dream of starting a company.

Walbert added that MATTER will be an economic boon to Chicago and Illinois, leveraging innovation from world-leading teaching hospitals.

The healthcare community in Illinois is the third-largest in the U.S., and the life science industry in Illinois has a $98 billion economic footprint. Entrepreneurs in the med-tech business have one of the world’s highest concentrations of potential resources in the Chicago area, but it hasn’t had an incubator-type central focal point until now.

MATTER will offer both private and shared office space, along with open areas for demonstrations and meet-ups, technical resources and even a kitchen. Members will be able to learn through collaboration and guidance from fellow members, and also through regular classes, workshops and events that MATTER will host.

They’re hoping to attract industry leaders and entrepreneurs in a range of fields including healthcare IT, medical devices, diagnostics and biopharma.

Otis Report on California’s Creative Economy – 1.4M Jobs

The Otis College of Art and Design has published its seventh annual report on the Creative Economy, and this year the scope of the report encompasses the entire state of California.

Otis report on California and LA creative economy

Otis report on California and LA creative economy (photo –

Otis commissioned the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) to prepare the report.

Previous editions of this report have been limited to the Los Angeles region. However, they have now expanded it to cover the entire state with the help of a grant from the California Arts Council.

Key findings from the 2013 Otis report (based on economic data for 2012):-

The creative economy accounts for 1,416,800 jobs in California, including 681,400 direct jobs and 735,400 indirect and induced jobs. That’s roughly one in ten jobs, or 9.7 percent of all wage and salary employment in California.

The creative economy in the Los Angeles region alone accounts for 726,300 workers (including 404,000 direct jobs) who earn a combined $50.6 billion. That’s one out of seven sage and salary jobs in the region.

For California, the creative industry’s direct, indirect and induced economic impact works out to $273.5 billion, leading to tax revenues of $13 billion.

Note that that the tax revenue figures cited are based on property, state and local income and sales tax revenues attributed directly and indirectly to the creative sector. They do not take into account other taxes such as corporate taxes and federal income taxes.

The creative industry in the Los Angeles region alone is responsible for a net economic contribution of $80 billion, and has a total direct, indirect and induced impact of $140 billion, leading to tax revenues of $6.9 billion.

In the report’s foreword, Otis President Samuel Hoi said the next Otis report will also include a set of regional snapshots, with a goal of portraying the different faces of the creative economy in specific local contexts in California.

He says the expanded Otis report assesses the premise that creativity is essential to successful workforce investment and economic development strategies.

This year’s report also includes a special addendum called “L.A. Creates” by Keith McNutt, director of the Western Region of the Actors Fund, in which he details how collaborative and regional efforts can support and develop the region’s creative industries.

Read the full Otis report on the Creative Economy – Download (pdf)

New Mexico MainStreet Impact Study – 11,400 Jobs and 3200 Businesses

New Mexico MainStreet (NMMS) was created by the New Mexico Legislature in 1984 as a grassroots economic development program housed within the New Mexico Economic Development Department.

New Mexico MainStreet Impact Study

New Mexico MainStreet Impact Study

PlaceEconomics, a Washington, D.C.-based economic development consulting firm, was contracted by the National Main Street Center (a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation) to analyze the economic impact of NMMS.

That study has now been published, and shows that in the 28 years since the NMMS program began in 1986, more than 3,200 businesses have started up or relocated to MainStreet districts in the state.

NMMS has created 11,400 net new jobs in MainStreet districts across New Mexico. These projects have generated an average of 430 new jobs with $11 million in payroll every year since the program began.

More highlights from the “Impacts of MainStreet 1985-2013” study:-

- More than $1 billion invested in MainStreet districts, more than half of which came from the private sector. The average annual private sector investment in MainStreet districts is pegged at $19.1 million;

- For every dollar invested into NMMS by taxpayers in the state, the private sector invests $44.50 locally into MainStreet communities;

- NMMS is a cost-effective economic development program, costing NM taxpayers $1,127 per net new job, or $3,952 per net new business; and

- The private sector investment in buildings in MainStreet districts brings an additional $5.1 million in local property tax revenues each year;

The report also shows that NMMS has to an extent shielded the MainStreet districts from the effects of the recession. In the last six years, more than $22 million has been invested for purchasing 157 buildings in MainStreet districts across the state.

Nationwide in between 2007-11, for every 100 businesses that opened, another 103 went out of business. During this same period, only 37 closed for every 100 new business openings in the NMMS districts.

In the report, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez says that New Mexico’s MainStreet program continues to make remarkable gains in revitalizing the state’s rural and urban historic city centers.

Gov. Martinez adds that this in-depth study clearly shows that state investments combined with local leadership create an environment in which small businesses thrive.

Jon Barela, Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Economic Development Department, says they are proud that New Mexico’s MainStreet program is recognized as one of the best run programs in the country and that is reflected in the results of this study.

Barela adds that the program has proven to be a truly remarkable business and job creation effort for New Mexico’s historic commercial districts.

Read the full New Mexico MainStreet Impact Study – Download (pdf)

NY Launches $5M 43North Competition to Attract Startups to Buffalo

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo formally announced the launch of 43North – a $5 million competition to attract startups to Western New York and turn the Greater Buffalo Niagara region into an innovation and entrepreneurship hub.



43North, named after the latitudinal line running through Western NY, is seeking business plans and innovative visions for new ventures from applicants in all industries (except for retail and hospitality) anywhere in the world.

The top prize is $1 million, with six second-place prizes of $500,000 each and four $250,000 prizes for third-place winners.

Apart from the cash prizes, winners will also receive incubator space for a year, guidance from mentors in their field, and access to state incentive programs such as Start-Up NY.

In return, winners must agree to operate their business in Buffalo, NY for at least one year.

This competition, billed as America’s largest business plan competition, is a part of Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative.

In a statement, Gov. Cuomo said 43North is a win-win for both the region and aspiring entrepreneurs, providing capital to the competition winners and creating economic opportunities for Western NY.

The competition will proceed in three rounds. The first round runs from Feb 5-May 31, and calls for applicants to submit business plans that will provide judges with a summary of the major components of the venture.

The second round, scheduled to be held from Sept 15-20, will require shortlisted semifinalists to provide more details, along with a 10-minute online presentation to the judging panel and a 10-minute Q&A session.

The third and final round, which finalists will attend in-person in Buffalo, will be held from Oct 27-31. The finalists will pitch their business to the panel of judges, again with 10 minutes for a pitch and another 10 minutes for a Q&A session.

To spread the word and attract applicants from all over the U.S. and the world, the 43North ( roadshow will hit 12 U.S. cities, with additional stops in Ontario, India, China and Israel.

Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said that with $2.2 billion in economic development activity currently underway in Buffalo, he was excited to see this $5 million competition attract creative ideas that turn into funded high-growth enterprises that spur even more investment and job growth for residents in Buffalo.

Mississippi Works Website and Mobile Apps Launched

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant unveiled the new Mississippi Works website and mobile apps that aims to the first-of-its kind interactive resource pairing jobs seekers with employers statewide.

Mississippi Works

Mississippi Works

Mississippi Works is a real-time system that both employers and job seekers can use at no cost. It allows jobs seekers to search for openings based on location, academic qualifications and the job type.

Job seekers may create a profile and get mobile text messages or email alerts about new jobs posted that match their qualifications.

The innovative part that sets Mississippi Works apart from other job boards is that it also advises job seekers on how well their qualifications match a particular opening, outlining what additional training, job experience and/or education they need to qualify.

The system also has separate sections for veterans and students. Students can search for available jobs based solely on the academic degree. More than 13,000 students have already signed up for the service.

This may come as a bit of a surprise, but as of now, the website lists 26,326 Mississippi jobs as being available.

Gov. Bryant said in a statement that since becoming Governor, he has made it a priority to build a state where every Missourian who wants a job can find a job. Gov. Bryant said they are accomplishing this goal through economic development efforts, by improving the business climate, through workforce development programs and education reform.

Apart from connecting jobs seekers with employers, the Mississippi Works system will also help the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) identify state residents who have filed for unemployment benefits and then match these individuals with suitable jobs that need to be filled.

The Mississippi Works system was developed by the Governor’s Office and MDES working together with nSPARC, a research center at Mississippi State University.

The website and mobile apps are a part of the overall Mississippi Works initiative that is focused on three main economic development areas:-

- Focus on workforce development to help craft a long-range strategy for expanding economic opportunities in Mississippi;

- Help attract new investments to the state while helping grow existing businesses and expand them into new markets; and

- Provide a forum for business leaders in Mississippi to learn about the progress being made, and provide the tools to help spread the success stories beyond Mississippi.

The Mississippi Works team is comprised of business leaders from across the state, including co-chairs Jim Barksdale who is interim director of the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA); and Bill Lampton who is president of the Asphalt Division at Ergon Inc.

The website can be accessed at, and you can also download the Android and iPhone apps.

LSU System Impact on Louisiana – $3.9B and 36,757 Jobs

The Louisiana State University (LSU) Division of Economic Development at the E. J. Ourso College of Business has come up with a study that looks economic impact of the nine LSU campuses on Louisiana at the state and regional level.

LSU economic impact study

LSU economic impact study

Here’s the highlights from the report, by the numbers:-

LSU supported FY 2013 sales added up to $3.9 billion, along with $1.5 billion in new statewide earnings and an estimated 36,757 direct and indirect annualized jobs.

Out of this, non-resident students studying at LSU are responsible for $353 million in sales and $137 million in earnings in Louisiana, along with nearly 3,500 new jobs.

For every dollar provided by the state, LSU generated $5.08 in economic activity.

Stephen Barnes, author of the study and assistant professor of economics and director of the Division of Economic Development at the E. J. Ourso College of Business, said these numbers demonstrate how invaluable LSU is to the state from a variety of angles, whether it is through jobs created, sales generated or drawing non-resident students to Louisiana.

Barnes added that LSU is most definitely a critical economic driver for the State of Lousiana.

The study notes that for the 2012-13 academic year, LSU attracted an average of more than 36,500 students and employed around 13,200 full-time faculty and staff. Not to mention another 12,040 part-time workers, student workers and graduate assistants. This takes the total direct employment at LSU to 25,300.

LSU is also a source for bringing in new investments and revenue streams into the state. At any given time, there are more than 2,000 sponsored research projects underway at LSU, with professors and students working to obtain grants for their research. The LSU faculty managed to secure $74.7 million in new federal grants last year alone.

The skilled workforce and training that an LSU campus provides offers an incentive for businesses looking to relocate or expand in the area.

The report also provides a breakup of the economic impact of LSU by metropolitan areas in Louisiana.

Baton Rouge MSA – $2.1 billion in sales, $764 million in earnings, and more than 21,400 jobs;

New Orleans MSA – $887.8 million in sales, $391.2 million in earnings and approximately 6,900 jobs;

Shreveport-Bossier City MSA – $535.7 million in sales, $214.8 million in earnings and 2,400 jobs;

Alexandria MSA – $52.7 million in sales, $17.6 million in earnings and about 640 jobs; and

Lafayette MSA – $47.2 million in sales, $17.1 million in earnings, and 515 jobs.

Read the full LSU System impact study – Download (pdf)

America INNOVATES Act Aims to Modernize DOE National Laboratories

A bill has been introduced in the United States Senate that aims to improve management of the National Laboratories system, facilitate public-private partnerships and enhance technology commercialization.

Sen. Chris Coons introducing America INNOVATES Act in U.S. Senate

Sen. Chris Coons introducing America INNOVATES Act in U.S. Senate

The bill (S.1973) was introduced by Senator Chris Coons from Delaware and Senator Marco Rubio from Florida.

It is titled the America INNOVATES (Implementing New National Opportunities to Vigorously Accelerate Technology, Energy and Science) Act.

Senators Coons and Rubio said in a statement that America’s 17 national labs conduct research on a broad range of scientific and technological fields, but are not always equipped to translate their scientific discoveries into commercial breakthroughs.

The legislation has been written based on a June 2013 thinktank report that suggested policy recommendations to reimagine the Department of Energy National Labs in the 21st century economy.

Matthew Stepp, senior policy analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and co-author of the aforementioned report, said this legislation provides much-needed flexibility in how the national labs collaborate with industry, and will enhance technology transfer, innovation and job creation.

S.1973 includes the following proposed reforms of the National Lab system:-

- Integrate management of DOE science and energy programs into a vertically integrated research enterprise;

- Direct DOE to implement best practices for improving management and operations at National Lab complex;

- Allow National Labs to partner more effectively with the private sector to create new technologies and enhance technology commercialization;

- Allow DOE more flexibility to support applied R&D at universities and non-profits; and

- Give startups more access to cutting-edge facilities at national labs.

Sen. Coons said that too many transformative ideas and scientific breakthroughs never leave the national labs, which squanders enormous potential. Sen. Coons said this bill will modernize critical aspects of the National Lab system, and widen and streamline the nation’s innovation pipeline, helping to create badly needed jobs.

Sen. Rubio said the national labs, which have long been a leading source of innovation and research, currently lack the tools they need to translate American ingenuity into jobs. Sen. Rubio said this bill will make it easier for the labs to work together with the private sector to bring groundbreaking research to fruition in the marketplace.

S.1973 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

CT Governor Proposes $25M Advanced Manufacturing Fund

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that he will introduce legislation to establish a new Advanced Manufacturing Fund with an initial investment of $25 million.

CT Gov. Dannel P. Malloy at Pegasus Manufacturing in Middletown

CT Gov. Dannel P. Malloy at Pegasus Manufacturing in Middletown (photo – CT Governor’s Office)

The AM Fund will help companies modernize and grow, purchase equipment, develop new technologies, and provide access to training and specialized education for workers.

The Fund may also be additionally used as an economic development tool to attract new companies to the state and support Connecticut’s universities in expanding federally funded research programs.

The AM Fund will be administered by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), with support from an Advisory Committee composed of industry experts.

The announcement was made by Gov. Malloy, DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith and other officials during an event at Pegasus Manufacturing in Middletown.

The Fund will give priority to companies located in the 42 communities such as Middletown, Ansonia, Norwich and Windham that are historic manufacturing hubs in Connecticut.

The Fund is also expected to have a positive impact on local economic development and help bring down the unemployment rate in distressed communities.

Gov. Malloy said that although Connecticut’s manufacturers are among the best at what they do, a major ramp-up of production activity could pose a challenge for smaller producers. He said now is the time for the state to make this investment for building up core industrial capacity and ensuring that Connecticut remains competitive in the global marketplace.

Gov. Mallow added that the AM Fund is a long-term commitment that will usher in a new era of innovation and economic growth that promises to bring skilled manufacturing jobs back to Connecticut and solidify the state as a world-wide leader in advanced manufacturing for generations to come.

Commissioner Smith said that Connecticut’s manufacturing sector needs three things to strengthen and grow – new technologies and products, the talent to create and develop them, and the capital to fund entrepreneurs and ideas.

Commissioner Smith said now is the right time for the state to attract and retain those people and ideas by ensuring that companies have access to what they need to increase skilled manufacturing job growth, and this fund is dedicated to doing just that.

Connecticut’s manufacturing industry employs 159,200 people, which accounts for nearly 10 percent of the state’s total nonfarm jobs. The industry’s annual output exceeds $24 billion (10.5 percent of GDP).

The legislation proposing the establishment of the Advanced Manufacturing Fund will be introduced during the upcoming regular session of the Connecticut General Assembly.

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