Economic Development

Indiana Hires Tech Policy Expert to Lead Nanotechnology Economic Development

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has hired semiconductor industry technology policy specialist Ian Steff to serve as a senior advisor in the fields of nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing.

Ian Steff, senior advisor, nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing, IEDC

Ian Steff, senior advisor, Nanotechnology and Advanced Manufacturing, IEDC

Steff is coming to Indiana and the IEDC straight from his previous position in Washington, DC as vice president, Global Policy and Technology Partnerships, for the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

The SIA is the U.S. semiconductor industry’s lead trade association. Steff worked closely with SIA’s Public Policy Committee, and assisted the SIA in the development of global strategies and coordination of Washington-based initiatives.

His portfolio also included university research partnerships and worldwide technology policy, and he was the SIA’s primary liaison to the World Semiconductor Council (WSC).

Before taking up this position at the SIA, Steff was manager for government affairs at Dewey and LeBoeuf LLP, where he handled the SIA’s policy advocacy issues. Steff also has experience working for Congress as a senior staff assistant for the House Ways and Means Committee.

Steff has a B.A. in International Studies from American University, and an M.A. in International Science and Technology Policy from George Washington University.

He also serves on the boards of many technology, semiconductor and microelectronics organizations and associations, including as Chair of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Information Technology Office (USITO).

As a senior advisor at the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Steff will now be spearheading strategies for further developing the state’s existing nanotechnology industry and related advanced manufacturing initiatives.

Global sales of products built using nanotechnology components are estimated to reach $2.4 trillion by 2015. Indiana Secretary of Commerce Victor Smith said that nanotechnology is quickly becoming a major field internationally, and Indiana is positioned at the forefront of technological innovation.

Smith added that companies throughout the state are already making impressive use of nanotechnology, and the universities are leading advancements in this discipline.

Several Indiana companies such as Kokomo Semiconductors and Eli Lilly already use nanotechnology, and universities including Indiana University, Purdue and Notre Dame are leading internationally-recognized nanotechnology developments. Ivy Tech Community College has a nanotechnology program which trains students to work as technicians in this sector.

Steff said that Indiana with its 21st century workforce, attractive investment climate and competitive research infrastructure has positioned itself to succeed in this sector.

“I look forward to expanding existing partnerships and supporting new ones that will yield jobs and research opportunities statewide,” said Steff.

Pennsylvania Approves $14M Funding for BFTP Tech-based Economic Development

Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Partners program is getting $14 million in funding for providing technology-based economic development support for entrepreneurs and job creation.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners

Ben Franklin Technology Partners (photo –

The funding, approved by the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority (BFTDA), will be used by the four BFTP centers to provide operational assistance, entrepreneurial support and investment capital to emerging technology-based companies and existing small manufacturers who are creating and retaining jobs in Pennsylvania.

Ben Franklin Technology Partners (BFTP), an initiative of the BFTDA and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), is one of the longest-running and most successful technology-based economic development programs.

The program was won awards for excellence in tech-based economic development from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) as well as the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).

BFTP has been supporting early-stage and established companies for more than 30 years since its inception in 1983, and provides a 3.5-to-1 return on investment for every state dollar invested.

A study of the economic impact of BFTP in Pennsylvania from 2007-2011 was released last year, and showed that BFTP boosted the Pennsylvania economy by $6.6 billion during this period. A total of $502 million in additional state tax receipts were generated through BFTP investments in client firms and related BFTP client services.

For this period from 2007-2011 covering the recession and high unemployment rates nationwide, the BFTPs helped client companies add 7,485 additional jobs. Client revenues, investments and purchasing helped create another 12,715 indirect and induced jobs across Pennsylvania, adding up to a total of 20,200 jobs that would not have been created in the absence of the BFTP program.

In 2013, the four BFTP centers helped client companies create a total of 1,365 jobs, retain another 951 jobs, and secure more than $468 million in additional financing for their projects.

Also in 2013, 98 new companies were formed, 118 patents and software copyrights awarded, and 318 new products and processes launched by the client companies, who reported generating a total of $412 million in sales revenues.

Governor Tom Corbett said the results of their investment in these four outstanding partners are impactful and the effect on Pennsylvania’s economy is transformational.

“Throughout Pennsylvania there are thousands of men and women working at family-sustaining jobs because of the Ben Franklin Program,” said Gov. Corbett.

Wisconsin’s $1M Economic Development Program for Commercializing High-Tech Innovation

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has launched a $1 million program to support commercialization of high-tech innovation by entrepreneurs and early-stage startups.

SBIR Advance

SBIR Advance (photo –

The SBIR Advance program is administered by the Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) at the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

“This is a tool that will help young, innovative companies with the assistance they need to bring their products from conception to market,” said Governor Scott Walker.

Funding from this program will assist startups and small businesses in Wisconsin that are recipients of federal grants under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

The SBIR and STTR programs, which provide $2 billion in federal research funding each year, were created to stimulate high-tech innovation.

As the SBIR Advance administrator, CTC can provide an SBIR/STTR Phase 1 federal grant recipient a matching grant of up to $75,000, and Phase 2 recipients with a matching grant of up to $250,000.

The SBIR Advance program is being launched by the WEDC as a component of the Start-Seed-Scale (S3) initiative, which is aimed at removing barriers to high-tech commercialization. This is a public-private partnership effort involving the WEDC, business leaders throughout the state, and the UW system.

As a part of the S3 initiative, WEDC and its economic development partners are implementing operational and financial assistance programs that are specifically designed to address seed-funding and other business startup challenges in Wisconsin.

Ideadvance, a seed fund that is one of the other initiatives under S3, is also managed by CTC and is a collaborative effort involving the UW System and WEDC.

The SBIR Advance program has been linked with Ideadvance, so that participants seeking funding from SBIR Advance will be joining Ideadvance cohorts to receive Lean Startup training.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary and CEO Reed Hall noted that SBIR Advance will provide funding upon participants completing key milestones, such as the Lean Startup training, which significantly accelerate business development.

CTC is accepting online pre-submission applications until Aug 8 from those who would like to participate in the the SBIR Advance program and join the September Lean Startup training cohort. Those who miss this deadline can apply afterwards for the next cohort.

CTC also offers no-cost evaluations and other resources to assist startups seeking federal funding under the SBIR/STTR programs.

Puerto Rico Economic Development Secretary Outlines Growth Plan

Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce Secretary Alberto Bacó Bagué outlined the Puerto Rico government’s plan for driving economic growth, which he said focuses on increasing employment by offering international companies competitive advantages to operate and hire in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico economic development plan

Puerto Rico economic development plan

During his closing address at the American Latino National Summit in San Antonio, Sec. Bacó said that Puerto Rico is in the midst of transitioning to a regional service and high-tech industrial hub.

The Secretary laid out a vision for an economy that encourages financial, insurance, IT and tourism market expansion to build on the strong biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

Over half of all the major pharmaceutical companies have operations in Puerto Rico. Also, the biotechnology sector in Puerto Rico is the third largest in the world and includes 13 of the 16 medical device companies.

The government’s strategy for job growth is based on attracting relocations and investments by international companies looking to enter the U.S. and Latin American markets, to build on Puerto Rico’s successful recruitment of investments by major companies like HP, Amgen and Microsoft.

The Secretary added that Puerto Rico as a region is reinventing itself and offers enormous opportunities not just for Puerto Ricans, but also for mainland U.S. investors. Puerto Rico’s economic development incentives, he said, are designed to generate investment and jobs.

The Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO) is the lead organization that managed Puerto Rico’s transition from an economy dependent on agriculture into a manufacturing powerhouse.

There are more than 1,300 companies operating under the PRIDCO program, and the tax incentives program accounts for 400,000 jobs. The government’s Economic Development Bank is additionally promoting local entrepreneurship by supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Sec. Bacó also stressed on how Puerto Rico offers an opportunity for strengthening ties not just with the mainland U.S., but also with South and Central America.

“We are a bilingual, bicultural bridge between North and South America, with first-class transportation infrastructure, an educated workforce and all of the legal protections of a U.S. jurisdiction,” said Sec. Bacó.

In closing, the Secretary said this was an exciting time for the Latino community, with the new economy breaking down barriers between the North and South and creating opportunities for those who understand both worlds.

The five-year plan developed by the Puerto Rico Economic Development Department is focused on achieving a diversified, knowledge-based economy. As per the plan, they are targeting creation of more than 130,000 jobs by 2018, along with $10-12 billion in incremental GDP.

National Trust Pitches Federal Historic Tax Credit as Economic Development Tool

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s campaign to preserve the federal historic tax credit (HTC) is gaining steam as more people sign on to their petition, and Congress considers legislation that would save the credit from being eliminated in a comprehensive tax reform proposal.

National Trust petition to save the federal historic tax credit

National Trust petition to save the federal historic tax credit

They’re pitching it as a tool that brings jobs, economic development and pride to communities nationwide.

The U.S. Treasury has handed out $21 billion through the HTC since the program’s inception more than 30 years ago, and the results are quite clear.

Projects receiving this tax credit have leveraged $109 billion in private investment; created 2.41 million jobs; generated $26.6 billion in federal taxes; and preserved nearly 40,000 historic buildings.

This means the program more than pays for itself. Furthermore, these rehabilitations are essentially “green” projects that recycle properties, which in turn slows down the encroachment of new developments into existing green and open spaces and farmland.

Not to mention the fact that the saved historic buildings give character to communities, which attracts residents, businesses and tourists.

The Prosperity Through Preservation campaign to save the HTC is led by the National Trust and the Historic Tax Credit Coalition.

The campaign recently released a study that shows how the HTC is a catalyst for change and is transforming communities. The study, commissioned by the National Trust and prepared by Place Economics, highlights the catalytic role of historic preservation projects in six cities in three states.

For example, after two key rehabilitation projects were completed in Salt Lake City’s Depot District, the market value of properties in the area rose by 22.5 percent, while at the same time property values citywide dropped by more than 17 percent.

In Montgomery County, MD, more than two dozen historic buildings that were in government hands were rehabilitated, and now provide $60 million in new property taxes.

The campaign to save the HTC is also trying to get the Creating American Prosperity through Preservation (CAPP) Act passed. This bill would not only save the HTC, but also enhance the program’s ability to revitalize small Main Street projects and enable energy-efficiency projects.

The petition to save the HTC can be found here. Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh is one of those who recently signed the petition.

“This historic tax credit is hugely significant to Boston because of the investment and economic development it encourages,” said Mayor Walsh.

Greater Rhode Island Economic Development Website Wins NEDA Best Website Award

The Greater Rhode Island Economic Development Website has been named as the best website in the Northeastern Economic Development Association’s 2014 Literature and Promotions Awards.

Greater RI economic development partnership

Greater RI economic development partnership (photo –

This new “Greater Rhode Island: Think Bigger” website is a public-private partnership effort involving Commerce RI, the Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island, and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce.

NEDA Executive Director Jim Keib said that the Greater RI website stood out in the challenging process of selecting their 2014 award winners.

Keib said the site is a public-private collaboration that harnesses many of the best insights and tools in the industry for promoting an economic development plan and attracting business interest and positive attention for Rhode Island.

The site provides a one-stop shop for the critical information site selectors and business executives need as they consider locations in the Northeast for growing their business. The website highlights existing growth companies and industries that are taking advantage of Rhode Island’s unique competitive advantages.

“This comprehensive website provides the data and information to help businesses looking to expand in the Northeast make an informed decision and consider Rhode Island,” said Commerce RI Executive Director Marcel A. Valois.

The Greater RI Think Bigger website was also one of only two submittals across all award categories that earned the NEDA President’s Award for the most outstanding submission to be received and reviewed. The other one was the success stories ad campaign by the Greater Reading Economic Partnership.

The City of Warwick, RI won the NEDA social and mobile award, while the best economic development newsletter award went to Operation Oswego County, the economic development organization for Oswego County, NY. Oswego’s manufacturing ad also won the best single print ad award, and their Services and Program Brochure won the overall award in the medium/small community category.

The Bronx, NY Economic Resource Guide was named as the best community profile/annual report, and New Hampshire’s Granite Ridge Marketplace won the award for best literature.

CT State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) won the NEDA Program of the Year Award for their Advanced Manufacturing Centers Initiative.

The awards will be presented at the annual NEDA Build Northeast Conference (Sept 7-9, 2014) in Worcester, MA.

Georgia Film Industry Economic Impact – $5.1B and 23,500 Jobs

Governor Nathan Deal announced that the motion picture and television industry in Georgia generated an economic impact of $5.1 billion for fiscal year 2014.

Georgia film industry economic impact

Georgia film industry economic impact (photo –

The 158 feature film and television productions shot in the state during this period spent $1.4 billion.

The industry directly employs nearly 23,500 people in Georgia, which includes 8,188 jobs that are production-related. If you factor in the indirect jobs, the industry accounts for 77,900 jobs and a total of $3.8 billion in wages in Georgia.

“Not only has this industry created jobs and investment opportunities for Georgians, it also has revitalized communities, established new educational programs, tourism product and more,” said Gov. Deal.

Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Chris Carr noted that since 2008, more than 90 companies have located in Georgia to support the motion picture and television industry, and these new businesses are creating jobs and ensuring the industry’s sustainability in Georgia well into the future.

The FY2014 lot of blockbuster productions filmed in Georgia includes the two sequels of The Hunger Games, Fast and Furious 7, and Taken 3, among others. As these popular blockbusters are released in theaters, locations in Georgia will be seen by millions of people all over the world and become tourist attractions.

The Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office is cashing in on this movie tourism potential with the help of the site. It provides detailed listings of film locations in the state, along with movie tours, destination information and other relevant information to support movie and television show induced tourism.

The Film Office even created and shared a video spotlighting individuals who are benefiting from the boom in Georgia’s film and television industry.

Last month, the Governor’s High Demand Career Initiative focused on the needs of the film and digital entertainment industry, to provide them with the assistance needed for hiring a crew for film productions in the state. The meeting provided an opportunity to identify the specific workforce needs of businesses that are engaged in production of film, television and digital entertainment projects in Georgia.

As a result of this meeting, the State is preparing to offer training and skilled certification programs as a partnership effort involving the Georgia Economic Development Department, key entertainment industry leaders in Georgia, the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia.

USDA Grants For California Economic Development Organizations Supporting Rural Microentrepeneurs

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded grants totaling $300,000 for supporting business development and job growth in rural communities.

USDA microloans

USDA microloans (photo –

The USDA is awarding $30,000 each to ten Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs).

Two of these are California economic development entities – the Yuba-Sutter Economic Development Corporation and the Jefferson Economic Development Institute.

The grants, awarded under the USDA Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP), will help the MDOs offer microloans, training and technical assistance to microentrepreneurs – very small businesses with ten or fewer employees.

MDOs are awarded this funding either to provide technical assistance or for establishing revolving loan funds that provide microloans ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to support rural microentreprenuers.

Technical assistance grants provided to an MDO may be used for preparing rural microentreprenuers for self-employment, improve the state of their microenterprise and enhance capacity, and help them achieve the ability to obtain business loans independently.

Funding provided for making microloans may be provided to borrowers for working capital needs, and for purchase of equipment, furniture, inventory, etc. It may also be used for debt refinancing, business acquisitions and lease or purchase of property that does not require construction and is ready to be used for business operations.

Sec. Vilsack said that through RMAP, USDA partners with local organizations who in turn are able to invest in local small businesses that would otherwise be unable to obtain the credit they need to grow and thrive.

“Facilitating long-term economic development in this way empowers rural residents to invest locally, cultivating stronger communities,” said Sec. Vilsack.

In addition to the two California MDOs that were awarded $30,000 each, the USDA also awarded RMAP grants to the following organizations in Washington, D.C. and seven other states.

Washington, D.C. – Community Development Transportation Lending Service

Washington – GROW Washington

Pennsylvania – Bridgeway Capital, Inc.

Illinois – Two Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Area

Ohio – ACEnet

Kentucky – Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission, Inc.

Oregon – Our Native American Business and Entrepreneurial Network

Mississippi – Mississippi University for Women

The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program was reauthorized through 2018 under the 2014 Farm Bill. The exact level of funding for each fiscal year is decided by Congress, as called for in the federal budget.

Contact your USDA Rural Development State Office to apply for RMAP funding.

Silicon Valley Bank Expansion in Tempe to Aid Arizona Economic Development

Silicon Valley Bank announced plans for an expansion at their Tempe, AZ location to support global operations and assist more technology and life sciences companies in Arizona.

Silicon Valley Bank

Silicon Valley Bank (photo –

SVB will create 250 new finance and IT jobs in Tempe, doubling the staff the company has hired or relocated to Tempe since opening the facility in 2012.

Apart from the job creation in Tempe, Silicon Valley Bank also provided a separate boost to Arizona economic development efforts with a commitment to lend or invest at least $100 million over the next five years to technology and life sciences companies in Arizona.

Sandra Watson, president and CEO, Arizona Commerce Authority, said that SVB’s commitment to lend $100 million provides needed access to capital, which will help spur continued growth for businesses in the state’s innovation ecosystem.

SVB offers a range of diversified and innovative financial services to companies in the innovation sector and to their investors. Their commercial clients range from startups to large multinational corporations.

Silicon Valley Bank’s mission is to “increase innovative companies’ probability of success worldwide.”

The way they have been going about it for the last 30 years by providing support and services to technology and life sciences companies to aid their rapid growth aligns closely with the high-growth innovation companies and entrepreneurs that Arizona economic development programs and initiatives target for creating jobs and strengthening the economy.

Dax Williamson, managing director for Silicon Valley Bank in Arizona, said he would use the word “momentum” to describe the local innovation economy, noting that they’re seeing a steady pace of new business formation locally and the mood is positive.

Williamson added that SVB’s own business is likewise expanding around the world, so they’re growing and expanding in Tempe, which he said was a great place for their employees.

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell congratulated and thanked SVB for their success and commitment to helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams. Mayor Mitchell added that Tempe offers an unmatched lifestyle and location, and they are delighted to have SVB as a part of the community.

The Santa Clara, CA-based Silicon Valley Bank operates as a subsidiary and commercial banking operation of SVB Financial Group (NASDAQ:SIVB). SVB has more than $29 billion in assets and 1,700 employees servicing clients through offices and branches all over the world.


US Economic Development Administration Awards $1.2M to Bay City, Texas for Tenaris Steel Project

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded $1.2 million to Bay City, TX to help them with the $1.3 billion Tenaris steel pipe manufacturing project.

Gov. Perry at Tenaris steel pipe project announcement

Gov. Perry at Tenaris steel pipe project announcement in Feb 2013 (photo –

The EDA investment will support roadway and sewer infrastructure improvements that are critical to the establishment of the Tenaris manufacturing plant.

The Luxembourg-based Tenaris is a global manufacturer of steel pipe products that are used by the energy industry in their drilling operations.

Tenaris announced the choice of Matagorda County for this project back in Feb 2013, with a plan to invest $1.3 billion and create 600 new jobs in Bay City and Matagorda County. The one million-square-foot foot facility will include a seamless pipe mill, along with heat treatment and premium threading operations.

Once the facility is operational in 2016, Tenaris expects the plant to be able to produce 600,000 tons of pipe annually.

Texas Governor Rick Perry pitched the state to the company’s leadership during an economic development trip to Italy, and then again at the Formula 1 race in Austin. Texas offered Tenaris $6 million as incentives through the Texas Enterprise Fund to close the deal.

Germán Curá, president of Tenaris North America, noted at that time that they chose Matagorda County and Texas because of the strong business climate, proximity to transportation hubs, skilled workforce and because Houston, the epicenter of the energy industry, is already home to the company’s North American headquarters.

Matagorda County Judge Nate McDonald noted that the Matagorda County Economic Development team worked seamlessly with the State of Texas and Tenaris to bring the company to the area.

The EDA provided additional funding for infrastructure improvements that will facilitate the large inflow of foreign direct-investment and attract more investments. Bay City’s economy has traditionally relied on agribusiness, and the Tenaris project was the result of successful efforts undertaken recently to diversify the economy. The roadway and sewer improvements along TX Hwy 35 will accommodate access to the plant site.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said this EDA investment will support infrastructure improvements needed by the new manufacturing facility, which will strengthen the local economy and position the Texas Gulf Coast region to attract foreign investment.

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