Economic Development

EDA Awards $1.1M Grant for Statesboro, GA FabLab and Incubator

The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded Georgia Southern University and the City of Statesboro, GA a grant of nearly $1.1 million for an expansion of the University’s City Campus to establish the FabLab and Innovation Incubator.

Statesboro, GA FAbLab and Incubator

Statesboro, GA FAbLab and Incubator (photo –

The EDA’s $1,097,360 grant enables Georgia Southern and the City of Statesboro to renovate two buildings and create a business incubator with office space and a fabrication laboratory that will have 3D printers and other equipment to support advanced manufacturing.

Locating an incubator and a Fab Lab within the same space combines support for innovation and entrepreneurship with the sequential commercialization process.

The idea is based on the FabLab pioneered at MIT by Dr. Neil Gershenfeld to enable low-cost manufacturing of “almost anything.”

This Fab Lab model has since been successfully replicated at universities all over the U.S. and the world. The Statesboro FabLab is the first one in the State of Georgia.

Charles Patterson, Ph.D., vice president for Research and Economic Development at Georgia Southern, said many of their faculty and students are engaged in entrepreneurial activities creating inventions, technologies and devices which the university can license, patent and spin off into companies.

The City of Statesboro pitched in with the remaining $800,000 commitment for the $1.8 million project, in order to facilitate purchase of the two buildings that will house the Fab Lab and incubator.

The expansion of the City Campus includes space for the Statesboro office of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the University’s Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership, and the Bureau for Business Research and Economic Development (BBRED).

The announcement was made by U.S. Rep. John Barrow, who said this was a huge opportunity for Georgia Southern to break out and become a leader in business development.

Rep. Barrow said it was also an opportunity for small businesses to find the resources they need to compete and grow, and an opportunity for the community to show how you can come together and create conditions that help businesses grow.

Georgia Sothern University President Brooks A. Keel, Ph.D., likewise said that it was a golden opportunity to help build new businesses in the community, generate new jobs and put more people to work.

FAA Releases UAS Integration Roadmap, Privacy Policy

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released its inaugural Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Integration Roadmap outlining the efforts that must be made to safely integrate civil UAS into the nation’s airspace.

FAA UAS Integration Roadmap

FAA UAS Integration Roadmap

The Roadmap outlines the approach the FAA plans to take to ensure that widespread usage of UAS is safe in terms of accommodation, integration and evolution.

In terms of integration, the FAA’s main goal is to set forth the requirements that UAS operators will need to comply with as access to airspace increased over the next 5-10 years.

The Roadmap provides everything from new and revised regulations to policies, guidance material and training, and an understanding of the systems and operations that support routine UAS flights.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said they were dedicated to moving this exciting new technology along as safely and quickly as possible.

The FAA plans to select six test sites by the end of the year. Critical research will be conducted at these test sites on how best to integrate UAS into the national airspace, and establish what certifications and navigation qualifications must be set for UAS operators.

Timed to coincide with the publication of the Roadmap, the FAA also sent to the Federal Register the final privacy policy requirements that the six UAS test sites chosen by the FAA will need to follow. Highlights from the requirements are:-

1. Test site operators must maintain records of all UAS operating in their site;

2. Test site operators will have to ensure that every UAS operator in their site has a written plan detailing the intended use and retention of the data collected;

3. Test site operators will have to conduct annual reviews to verify compliance, and then share the outcomes in a public forum and provide an opportunity for the public to provide feedback.

Furthermore, test site operators must make their privacy policies publically available, and establish a mechanism to receive and consider public comments about said policies.

In addition to the Roadmap, the Joint Planning and Development Office’s (JPDO) ‚ÄúUAS Comprehensive Plan: A Report on the Nation‚Äôs UAS Path Forward‚Äù was also released. JPDO was created to manage the partnerships required for bringing Nextgen online. Nextgen is the name for the¬†satellite-based air traffic control system that will replace the current ground-based system.

The plan details how multiple federal agencies are working together towards the same objectives and approach for achieving safe UAS integration into the NAS, and outlines how the FAA’s UAS ConOps (Concept of Operations) initiates the process of factoring in UAS into the implementation of NextGen.

According to an economic impact report published by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), there will be a $13.6 billion economic impact and 70,000 new jobs will be created in the three years following UAS-NAS integration.

By 2025, this benefit will grow to more than $82 billion in economic impact and more than 100,000 jobs will be created.

Nevada Promotes UAS Economic Development to Communities

The University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) is hosting a public workshop on unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that will focus on how communities in Nevada can become involved with drones as an economic initiative.

Why Nevada for the UAV Industry

Why Nevada for the UAV Industry (photo –

The workshop, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 18, 2013, will be held at UNCE’s Lifelong Learning Center in Las Vegas.

It will also be videoconferenced live at 16 locations across the state, including at the University of Nevada, Reno campus.

The event is being organized jointly by the Cooperative Extension in partnership with the University’s Center for Economic Development at the College of Business and the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED).

The workshop is divided into three parts. The morning session involves presentations about efforts being made to bring the UAS industry to Nevada.

The afternoon lunch panel, convened by GOED Director Steve Hill and UNCE Dean Mark Walker, will introduce faculty members from the Nevada System of Higher Education who are involved in the development of the UAS program. The afternoon session will be about discussing UAS applications.

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension is a county-state-federal partnership that provides practical non-degree education to individuals, businesses and communities. UNCE has 18 offices around the state, manned by more than 200 personnel and additional volunteers who deliver educational programs in areas such as agriculture, health, natural resources and community development.

Eureka County Extension educator Fred Steinmann, who put together the UAS workshop, said the Governor’s Office partnered with UNCE for this outreach because they know the Cooperative Extension’s connection to the state’s counties and the work UNCE is doing in community development.

He said UNCE was all about engaging and enhancing communities and businesses in Nevada, so it was a great fit.

GOED is leading the State of Nevada’s bid to be designated as one of the FAA’s six UAS test sites, and recently sponsored the establishment of the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS).

NIAS is a non-profit organization comprised of leaders from the government, academia and the private industry working together to promote the unmanned systems industry in Nevada and secure the FAA UAS test site designation.

Commerce Report – The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University

To mark the first full week of National Entrepreneurship Month, the U.S. Department of Commerce released a report on how universities are supporting innovation and entrepreneurship to strengthen regional economies and create jobs while keeping America competitive. report - The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University: Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Focus

Photo –

The report, titled “The Innovative and Entrepreneurial University: Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Focus,” was prepared by Commerce’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE) in consultation with the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE).

This report came about as a result of a letter (Recommendations to Facilitate university-based Technology Commercialization) submitted through NACIE to the Commerce Secretary a couple of years ago by the leaders of 142 major research universities and associations.

In order to understand what efforts these universities were making, OIE spoke to 131 of the leaders and started collecting data from colleges and universities for this report.

The report highlights efforts undertaken by higher education institutions under each of the following five broad categories:-

1. Promoting Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship;

2. Encouraging Faculty Innovation and Entrepreneurship;

3. Actively Supporting Technology Transfer;

4. Facilitating University-Industry Collaboration; and

5. Engaging in Regional and Local Economic Development Efforts

For example, some of the programs highlighted in the first category of promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship are as follows:-

- Innovation and Entrepreneur Degree Program, University of Colorado;

- Patent Clinic, University of Illinois;

- Student internship program, Washington University in St. Louis;

The first one requires students to undertake a course work approach to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Innovation. The Patent Clinic allows law students to draft patent applications for student inventors. The internship program provides 25 students paid summer internships with startups.

In the second category, the report highlights programs such as the University of Pittsburgh’s course on Business of Innovation Commercialization. This course is aimed at educating both faculty and student researchers about innovation development, commercialization and entrepreneurship.

Under the third category, the report explores the expanded role of a university’s Technology Transfer Office (TTO)/Technology Licensing Office (TLO). Examples of such offices and programs mentioned in the report include Utah State University’s Intellectual Property Services and Cornell University’s IP&Pizza and IP&Pasta.

Under the university-industry collaboration category, the report examines campuses such as Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) and startup accelerators such as Georgia Tech’s Flashpoint.

In the last category exploring university engagement with local and regional economic development efforts, the report looks at Tulane University’s Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program, which is effectively integrated into the surrounding economic ecosystem.

Another program highlighted in this category is the University of Georgia’s Service-Learning Program which is enhancing students’ involvement in local communities.

Read the full OIE report on innovation and entrepreneurship programs in universities – Download (pdf)

Pure Michigan Micro Lending Program Starts With Detroit

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Huntington Bank are launching a $250 million public-private partnership that will provide micro loans to small businesses in Michigan.

Gov. Rick Snyder at Pure Michigan Micro Lending event

Gov. Rick Snyder at Pure Michigan Micro Lending event (photo – MI Governor’s Office)

The Pure Michigan Micro Lending Initiative will start with a pilot program in Detroit, funded with $5 million from Huntington Bank.

This $5 million will be provided to the Detroit Development Fund (DDF), a Detroit-based non-profit that provides micro loans.

DDF is then expected to lead a coalition of microlenders that will provide loans and services primarily to women- and minority-owned small and micro-businesses.

DDF micro loans typically range from $1,000 to a maximum of $50,000 for terms in between six months to five years.

The coalition to be led by DDF includes the Michigan Women’s Foundation, Detroit Micro Enterprise Fund, and Lifeline Business Consulting Services.

Once the Detroit pilot is successfully completed, Huntington Bank will commit another $20 million.

Mike Fezzey, Huntington’s East Michigan president, said Detroit was the ideal place for launching the new partnership to help maximize investments by neighborhood in the city.

For its part, MEDC will provide initial credit reserves to support the program and enable another $225 million through funding from other bank partners for similar programs in other parts of the state.

The public-private partnership came about after Huntington Bank approached MEDC, expressing interest in a micro loan support program MEDC was scheduled to launch in October.

MEDC has got approval from the Michigan Strategic Fund for the Small Business Loan Program. This enables them to fund loan loss reserve accounts at participating banks lending to qualified micro lenders, thus increasing the access to capital that small and micro business in the state have.

MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney said this innovative public-private partnership demonstrates their steadfast commitment to the goal of helping small businesses in Michigan move forward and grow, which will in turn bring investment and jobs to the state.

The federal government helped too, with the Treasury Department signing off on allowing Michigan to use State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funds for this initiative.

Don Graves, deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department, said the announcement was an example of the federal government, the State of Michigan, local organizations and the private sector coming together to support Detroit’s economic revitalization.

Report – New Hampshire Economic Dashboard

The New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies (NHCPPS) has released the NH Economic Dashboard, a report based on data collected about 50 indicators related to the state’s business climate, that is meant to help prioritize decision-making about the state’s economic and quality of life related policies.

NH Economic Dashboard

NH Economic Dashboard (photo –

The report, titled ‚ÄúNew Hampshire’s Economic Climate: Key Indicators,‚Äù was asked for by the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire (BIA) to help them draft a strategic business plan for the state.

For each indicator, the Dashboard ranks New Hampshire against the 49 other states.

It additionally highlights how the state’s ranking matches up against that of three neighboring New England states (Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont) and four other “comparison” states (Texas, Virginia, and the Carolinas) that BIA identified as New Hampshire’s competitors for business growth and attraction.

BIA provided NHCPPS with nine domains critical to understanding the state’s economy Рbusiness growth, attraction and retention; cultural and natural resources; education and workforce; energy policy; fiscal policy; health and health care; infrastructure; regulatory environment; and workforce housing.

New Hampshire does relatively well in categories such as cultural and natural resources (No. 4); business growth and retention (No. 7); and education and workforce (No. 14). The report gives New Hampshire an overall ranking of 11.

However, New Hampshire’s rankings for several of the 50 indicators for which data was collected, such as industrial electric prices (No. 46), and land use restrictions (No. 47), are close to the bottom.

The report also notes several of the indicators need to be looked at a sub-state level by policy makers focusing on attracting employers to specific regions within New Hampshire.

For example, New Hampshire is among the top ten states for college attainment levels. But the regional percentage varies quite a bit. Only 14.4 percent of adults have a B.A. or higher in the Great North Woods region, while the percentage in the Greater Nashua area is 38 percent.

Regional differences must also be considered when it comes to the importance of a specific industry sector for a region.  Manufacturing makes up 15 percent of wages for the state as a whole, but it’s much higher for Greater Nashua (27.6 percent), and much lower for Greater Concord (8.2 percent).

The report notes that New Hampshire as a state stacks up pretty well in the Dashboard for categories such as business retention and growth against states like Texas and Virginia. However, a more ideal comparison would be between cities such as Manchester and out-of-state cities that are similar in size, demographics or mix of industries.

Such regional parsing of the data, the report says, would help policymakers narrow their focus and enable more efficient targeting of resources.

Read the full NH Economic Dashboard report – Download (pdf)

U.S. To Expand SelectUSA Through Embassies

In his keynote at the SelectUSA Summit, President Obama announced an expansion of the SelectUSA program to include a coordinated U.S. government effort for recruiting businesses to invest and create jobs in the United States.

President Obama at SelectUSA Summit

President Obama at SelectUSA Summit (photo –

There will be four important changes in federal policy in terms of attracting FDI.

1. Attracting foreign investment will now be a formal part of the portfolios of U.S. ambassadors and their embassy teams around the world. Their trade performance will be judged based not just on exports, but also on how much FDI they help attract to the U.S.

2. Senior officials in Washington D.C. will coordinate with overseas teams and make the case for investing in America.  Officials visiting other countries will likewise do more to promote America as a location for business investments.

3. Foreign companies planning on doing business in America will have a single point of contact at the federal level to help cut through the red tape. Federal assistance will be provided to help companies navigate U.S., state and local regulations and invest faster and open facilities faster.

4. The federal government will provide states, cities and regions more tools, including the latest data and events linking them directly to investors.

Notable quotes from several of the prominent speakers at the SelectUSA Summit:-

“History shows over the last two centuries that when you bet on America, that bet pays off.” РPresident Obama

“America is open for business” РCommerce Secretary Penny Pritzker

“We need the world to sustain greater growth, and the world continues to need the United States to be the backbone of a stable global economy.” – Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew

“America produces better than anyone.” РTreasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew quoting Helmuth Ludwig, CEO of Siemens Industry Sector, North America

“We have the most resilient capital markets in the world.” РBlackRock CEO Larry Fink

“Companies, government officials and industry leaders are working together to increase manufacturing, and these efforts are helping more Americans get into good-paying jobs and more businesses reinvest in the U.S. economy.” РWalmart U.S. President and CEO Bill Simon

GE Aviation, UCRI Open Research Center in Evendale, Ohio

GE Aviation and the University of Cincinnati Research Institute (UCRI) announced the establishment of the GE Aviation Research Center at the company’s global headquarters in Evendale, Ohio.

Combustion lab, GE Aviation, Evendale, OH

Rendering of combustion lab at GE Aviation in Evendale, OH (photo –

The Research Center will enable UCRI faculty and students to collaborate with GE Aviation scientists and engineers as they work on innovations that will have applications in GE aviation products in the future.

Projects to be undertaken at the Research Center include work on advanced low-emission combustion; ceramic matrix composites (CMCs); and aircraft energy and thermal management.

Much of the research will take place in a new $100 million combustion lab that GE Aviation is building at the Evendale complex.

There will be six UCRI researchers and 19 students working at the Evendale campus, funded through a $6 million GE commitment over the next three years.

UCRI is additionally chipping in with another $1 million over the same period for purchase of equipment required for technology projects at the Research Center.

William Ball, MD, UC’s vice president for research, said this was not just an economic development partnership, but also an education partnership.

It’s a mutually beneficial relationship because GE benefits from UCRI’s considerable aerospace engineering R&D expertise, while UC students learn on these projects during their education and have jobs waiting for them at GE afterwards. There are hundreds of UC graduates currently working at GE Aviation.

The new Research Center will be an important pipeline to help GE Aviation continue to attract UC’s top engineering talent.

Gary Mercer, vice president of engineering at GE Aviation, said their business was growing significantly, and they have considerable new technologies that have to developed and industrialized.

Mercer said that they want UC’s best minds on this journey as they influence aviation’s future course, and added that it was also an important part of the effort of enhancing Ohio’s aerospace capabilities even further.

David Linger, president and CEO of UCRI, said they support the collaborative process between the university and industry. He said they work closely with GE Aviation to understand their business needs and drive efficient solutions.

In 2009, GE Aviation agreed to revitalize the Evendale plant and invest $100 million into the complex over the next three years. Ohio helped support the project by offering a 15-year Job Retention Tax Credit, with GE Aviation committing to retain a minimum of 5,000 jobs for a period of 18 years.

GE Aviation has around 9,000 employees in southwestern Ohio. The company’s activities and operations support thousands of additional aerospace jobs in the area.

Google Donates 17,000 Tablets to Assist NY Recovery

Exactly one year ago, Sandy blew away Google’s plans to unveil new Nexus tablets and smartphones at an event in New York. Now it’s the other way round, with Google announcing a donation of 17,000 Nexus tablets to assist NY businesses and communities in Sandy-affected areas.

Google Nexus Tablet

Google Nexus Tablet (photo –

On the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that Google will provided the 17,000 Nexus 7 tablets, valued at $2.7 million.

The tablets will be placed at locations such as business and community centers, senior centers and libraries.

Susan Molinari, former New York Congresswoman and currently the vice president for Government Relations at Google, said they believe technology can and does play a compelling role in helping rebuild communities to make them stronger and more resilient.

Molinari said that more and more people are increasingly using the internet and technology for educating themselves or providing for their families, and they were hoping that these tablets would e a resource for doing just that.

The tablets were actually donated to the New York State Community Action Association (NYSCAA), a non-profit that provides services to help improve the lives of New Yorkers. The state helped store and distribute the tablets with assistance from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ).

The programs the tablets will be used for include:-

- Libraries will use them to provide job training and work skills, along with language lessons for non-English speakers. In areas where libraries are still closed, the tablets will be used as e-reader loaners;

- Small business development organizations will integrate the tablets into their training and business assistance classes being conducted onsite. New York State SBDCs will use them to provide assistance for a high school entrepreneurship program in 30 underserved schools;

- Community centers will use the tablets in communities with high poverty rates to help young people try for STEM and high-skill careers, while helping their parents gain tech job skills.

Gov. Cuomo said private donations like these are critical for aiding communities in the ongoing recovery. He thanked Google for helping New York build back better than before.

Report – University Research Sparking Economic Growth

The Science Coalition, a non-profit organization comprised of more than 50 leading research universities, has published a report on how federally funded university research is sparking innovation and economic growth in the United States.

Sparking Economic Growth 2.0

Sparking Economic Growth 2.0 (photo –

The report, titled “Sparking Economic Growth 2.0” is a follow-up to the original Sparking Economic Growth report the organization released in 2010.

This new report provides write-ups for another set of 100 companies whose roots can be traced back to university research funded by the federal government to the tune of around $330 million.

The report provides a categorized breakup of these companies by university, funding agency, state, number of employees, and the year founded.

Sixty-six percent got funding from only one federal agency, while 29 percent were funded by two separate agencies, and the remaining five percent got funding from three agencies.

A full 89 of the 100 companies are located in the same state as the university where the research project was undertaken. Out of the 30 companies in the list that are more than 10 years old, all but six are still in the same state. Of the six that relocated elsewhere, three were acquired by out-of-state companies.

The oldest company mentioned in the report is Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT), which was created as a spin-off from the University of Iowa in 1987. IDT is still an Iowa company located in Coralville, Iowa, and it is now a global company with more than 600 employees and almost $100 million in annual sales.

These 100 Sparking Economic Growth 2.0 companies together employ more than 7,200 people.

The report also takes a second look at the companies highlighted in the original 2010 report to see how many are still operational and how they are doing. Of the 100 companies highlighted in the 2010 report, 89 are still in business.

More importantly, 20 of the young startups among the 100 companies were less than five years old in 2010, and 16 of them are still operational. That’s a huge difference as compared to the survival rate for all businesses in the U.S. – only 50 percent are still operational after five years.

Federal funding for R&D has been on a downward trend, and has not exceeded five percent of the federal budget since 1990. For FY 2013, federal R&D funding accounted for 3.8 percent of the budget. Sequestration, which will trigger automatic spending cuts until 2021, is expected to further reduce R&D spending by $95 billion.

Read the full Sparking Economic Growth 2.0 report from The Science Coalition – Download (pdf); and the Science Coalition’s database of the companies.


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