Study – Idaho Good for Business Startups, But Better at Killing Them

A new report released by the Business Research and Economic Development Center (BRED) at Boise State University identifies and analyzes key metrics that provide a depiction of the state of economic growth and development of Idaho compared to the other 47 contiguous states.

Idaho business environment study

Idaho business environment study (photo – idaho.gov)

Nine metrics were chosen for comparison, including firms, employees, net job creation, mortality and birth rates for establishments, and the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity.

The report, put together by BRED director Dr. Brian Greber, is based on data for the period of 2001-2010, mostly provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Similar to overall population, Idaho ranks low in the number of firms, establishments and employees (38th, 38th and 40th respectively in 2010), but proved to be one of the fastest growing states in each of these three metrics.

In 2008, however, during the peak of the recession, Idaho transitioned from one of the fastest growing to one with the fastest declining.

Between 2001 and 2010, establishment birth rate regularly ranked in the top 10. During that time span, Idaho had an average establishment birth rate of 10.38 percent.

While establishment birth rates in Idaho seem favorable, establishment mortality rates do not. Idaho consistently ranks near the bottom of this measure, especially between 2008 and 2010.

Even more distressing for new business growth in Idaho is that the mortality rate of establishments five years or younger is even higher. In 2010, Idaho ranked last among the states considered, with a mortality rate of 21.13 percent for young firms. This is a dramatic reversal from their earlier success in this measure during 2006, when Idaho was ranked second.

The study therefore suggests that public policy should direct more of the state’s resources towards helping existing businesses succeed rather than enticing out-of-state businesses to relocate.

The report also suggests that Idaho may want to examine the creation and support of organizations that provide mentorship to entrepreneurs, along with implementation of tax policies that help businesses attain second-stage growth.

Read the full BRED “Competitive Benchmarking in Economic Growth and Development” report – Download (pdf)

Illinois Invests $1M to Help Evanston Become Gigabit Community

Illinois is investing a million dollars to help the City of Evanston become an Illinois Gigabit Community, bringing ultra-high speed Internet to Northwestern University and the surrounding area, home to more than 160 start-ups.

Illinois Gigabit Communities

Illinois Gigabit Communities (photo – illinois.gov)

The announcement was made during IL Gov. Pat Quinn’s 2012 State of the State Address, with leaders from the city of Evanston and Northwestern University joining the Governor for the announcement.

“To compete in the 21st century economy, we must have technology infrastructure that is second to none,” Governor Quinn said. “Internet service that’s 100 times faster than what we have today will help businesses, universities and governments to revolutionize our communities and make them stronger today and in the future.”

The $1 million investment will help connect fiber optic gigabit Internet service from downtown Chicago to Northwestern University, which will then place more than 400 access points in locations throughout campus and in surrounding Evanston.

Evanston Alderman Melissa Wynne (3rd Ward) said that the award will be a catalyst allowing the city of Evanston and the state of Illinois to keep great thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs and growing technology companies here in Illinois through a critical public-private-non-profit partnership.

“The awarding of this Gigabit Community Challenge Grant Award will build a direct link between technology start-up companies, Northwestern University, the city of Evanston and private investors via gigabit fiber connections,” added Alderman Wynne. “The researchers on Northwestern University’s campus, workers in technology start-up companies and entrepreneurs will be able to access faster data speeds leading to greater discoveries and commercial applications.’

The Gigabit capability will boost the city’s efforts to create an innovation corridor that can utilize proximity to Northwestern University’s extensive academic resources and robust public transportation.

“We are excited about the potential for increased reach and interactions for researchers, startup companies and other commercial and public entities throughout the city of Evanston, the Chicago area, the state and the wider connected world,‚Äù said Sean Reynolds, Northwestern University’s vice president for Information Technology and chief information officer.

Eric Harper, co-founder of incubator coLab Evanston which offers shared working space for companies and individual entrepreneurs, said that, “Gigabit will be a key benefit we offer as we strive to create an environment where ideas can turn into reality.”

The city of Evanston is also collaborating with Urban Communications, Inc. to expand broadband availability to residential and small business entities throughout the city.

“We’re proud to be partnering with the city of Evanston to make our community a better place to live and work,” said Edmund G. Urban III, CEO of Urban Communications.

Evanston is the third city to receive this Gigabit award. Before Evanston, the cities of Aurora and Chicago have won $1 million and $2 million respectively under the Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge.

Verizon Adding 500 Jobs for Financial Services Hub in Tulsa

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin joined officials from Verizon in Tulsa today to announce that the company is adding a financial services hub and up to 500 new jobs at its North Lakewood facility in Tulsa.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin at Verizon jobs announcement

Gov. Mary Fallin at Verizon jobs announcement (Photo – Oklahoma Governor)

The new jobs are for finance and accounting positions in a financial services hub that Verizon is adding to its existing operations in Tulsa, where it already employs 900 people.

It is estimated that the new jobs will create another 616 indirect jobs, and generate a total of $60.4 million in additional income.

“Today’s announcement is great news for Tulsa and northeastern Oklahoma. These positions represent the kind of high-quality, good paying jobs we are working to bring to the state,” said Gov. Fallin. “We appreciate Verizon’s investment in Oklahoma and are excited about the 500 new jobs coming to Tulsa. Today’s announcement is another great example that our pro-growth, pro-business policies are working and are making Oklahoma an even better place to do business.”

Verizon officials said the decision to create a financial services hub by adding up to 500 new positions in Tulsa comes after an extensive review of numerous locations across the nation.

Many factors were considered during the company’s site selection process, including the quality and availability of financial services talent, quality of life considerations, the cost of living and more. At the end of the evaluation process, Tulsa emerged as an ideal location.

“Tulsa continues to establish itself as a national leader in job creation,” said Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett. “The commitment of outstanding companies such as Verizon helps us solidify our place as a top city and region for many areas of economic development, and we congratulate Verizon on its continued success and growth.”

Verizon serves local, long distance, wireless and data customers in Oklahoma and has 50 retail stores and authorized agents throughout the state. The company has nearly 1,200 employees statewide and has an annual payroll of approximately $85.3 million in Oklahoma.

Google to Invest $600M in Berkeley County, SC Data Center

Google’s Berkeley County, South Carolina Data Center operations manager Eric Wages, SC Governor Nikki Haley and other officials participated in a groundbreaking ceremony announcing that Google will expand its operations at the Mt. Holly Commerce Park in Berkeley County.

Google data center in Berkeley County, SC

Google data center in Berkeley County, SC (photo – google.com)

The additional $600 million investment brings Google’s total investment at the data center site to more than $1.2 billion.

“South Carolina and the Berkeley County community are great places in which to work and grow,” said Data Center Operations Manager Eric Wages. “When Google first announced plans to come to Berkeley County in 2007, we were attracted to not only the energy infrastructure, developable land and available workforce, but also the extraordinary team from the local community that made us feel welcome. Today’s announcement is just a continuation of our investment in the state. Google is proud to call Berkeley County home.”

The data center in Berkeley County houses computer systems and associated components that support services such as Google search, Gmail, Google+ and YouTube. The company is growing capacity to meet demand for Google’s services.

“Today’s announcement is another big win for South Carolina. We celebrate Google’s decision to grow its footprint in Berkeley County with a $600 million investment,‚Äù said Governor Nikki Haley. ‚ÄúWhen a world-class company like Google decides to expand in the Palmetto State, it shows we are providing the sort of business environment that helps foster success.‚Äù

The initial $600 million invested on the data center, which is now fully operational, has already created 110 on-site, full-time jobs. In November 2010, Google announced plans to construct a second building at the site, which is now in operation. No word yet on how many jobs this latest $600 million investment is going to help create.

“When our community came together to develop this business park, we wanted to attract leading companies that would establish deep roots and grow,” said state Sen. Paul Campbell. “Google‚Äôs expansion is an example of how Berkeley County can serve the needs of the world’s most innovative and dynamic companies. I hope Google‚Äôs growth here prompts other growing businesses to put down roots here.”

Google has additionally given more than $885,000 in grants to local schools and nonprofits, and introduced free Wi-Fi to downtown Goose Creek. In June 2012, they also hosted Googlefest in nearby Charleston, SC to help nonprofits, small businesses, and educators use the full range of Google’s tools.

CT Bioscience Innovation Act Would Establish $200M Fund

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy proposed the Bioscience Innovation Act which, over ten years, will establish a $200 million fund to strengthen Connecticut’s bioscience sector.

Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine rendering

Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine rendering (photo – jax.org)

The Governor made the announcement at the Farmington groundbreaking ceremony for the Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine (JAX).

Also present was Dr. Edison Liu, president and CEO of Jackson Lab. JAX Genomic Medicine, once fully developed over 20 years, is expected to support 6,800 permanent jobs.

The state has approved $291 million in bond funding to partially cover the project’s $1.1 billion research and capital budget.

“Eighteen months after proposing the Jackson Lab project, we already have construction crews at work, JAX has hired staff, and we are breaking ground on a cutting-edge scientific facility that will establish innovative new partnerships with our universities, medical centers, and state businesses,” said Governor Malloy. “Building on this momentum, I am proposing the Bioscience Innovation Act.”

Gov. Malloy added that the $200 million fund investment, made over ten years, “will ramp up our bioscience industry statewide, allow us to attract and invest in more companies in this sector and create good paying jobs with good benefits for our residents.”

The fund will be administered by Connecticut Innovations, the state quasi-public economic development entity. The state will invest $10 million annually for the first two years, $15 million annually for the 3rd and 4th years, and then $25 million annually for the remaining six years.

Investments will be subject to a rigorous vetting process, supported by the creation of an advisory board to provide oversight and strategic guidance.

“Ongoing investment in bioscience will result in high-value job growth,” said Claire Leonardi, executive director of Connecticut Innovations. “This plan ensures we continue to build a strong base in the short term, and in the long term it allows us to leverage additional investment to increase overall economic growth.”

The Bioscience Innovation Act is part of the legislative package scheduled to be announced by Connecticut on February 6, 2013.

NY Pitches U.S. EDA for Binghamton Tech Incubator Funding

A top official from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer visited Binghamton, New York at the site of the future Southern Tier High-Tech Incubator for a meeting with local stakeholders and project leaders.

Southern Tier, NY

Southern Tier, NY (photo – regionalcouncils.ny.gov)

Sen. Schumer is urging the EDA to support Binghamton’s push for funding for the $22 million “Southern Tier High-Tech Incubator” project from the EDA’s Public Works Program.

This would be a first-of-its-kind facility in the region aimed at delivering affordable and specialized commercial space to help support, cultivate, and grow high-tech companies in the Southern Tier.

NY State has already approved $7 million in funding for the incubator as part of the recently announced Regional Council competitive funding awards process. The Southern Tier Regional Council hopes to get another $6 million from the state, and the Broome County IDA is chipping in with $2 million.

“A potential partnership between the Economic Development Agency, Broome County, and Binghamton University stakeholders would help drive innovative plans to create a first-ever high-tech business incubator in the region, and I’m urging the federal government to get on board,” said Sen. Schumer. “This collaboration between the federal government, New York State, the local government, and the area’s preeminent universities would mean big things for this project, and is exactly what the region needs to advance business development and create jobs.”

The Southern Tier High-Tech Incubator project will provide a high-tech space for up to 12 companies focusing on research and development in energy, microelectronics, and healthcare in Binghamton.

“Binghamton University is thrilled to be a part of strengthening the region’s economic base through the Southern Tier High-Tech Incubator in downtown Binghamton,” said Binghamton University president Harvey Stenger. “Our region has nothing like this, and Binghamton University’s involvement will be vital in providing interns and cooperative educational opportunities, as well as access to technology transfer and commercialization expertise to help promising new companies succeed.”

As a start, Broome County has committed to relocating its business incubator to the facility, which will catalyze additional opportunities for developing companies.

“The Job Creation Incubator will bring the research from Binghamton University Labs into development right here in Broome County, creating new high-tech companies and new good-paying jobs,” said Broome County executive Debbie Preston. “Thank you to Senator Schumer, EDA Officials, President Stenger and all of our State and local partners for helping to bring this project to fruition.”

The Southern Tier High-Tech Incubator is projected to have a regional economic impact of $21 million and create 229 jobs associated with construction.

Within five years of completion, the incubator expects to sustain an annual economic impact of $17 million associated with job creation, locate and foster 24 new companies with 120 total employees, employ up to five full time staff members, and will maintain two anchor tenants with an additional 28 employees.

Michelin Investing $64M in Waterville, Nova Scotia Plant

Michelin North America announced that it will invest $64.1 million (CAD) to expand its Waterville truck tire plant as part of a $73-million project in the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter with Michelin executives

Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter with Michelin executives (photo – novascotia.ca)

The investment is expected to create 50 new, high-value jobs in rural Nova Scotia, and improve and expand the company’s production of tire products.

The new capital project will include installing new technologies and a building expansion.

‚ÄúWhen a company is coming here, or expanding here, I want it to be profitable enough to re-invest and keep hiring Nova Scotians,‚Äù said Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter. ‚ÄúCompanies like Michelin can choose to grow anywhere. I’m happy that they have chosen to keep growing in Nova Scotia, meaning more good jobs, more families and more young people.‚Äù

‚ÄúToday’s announcement shows once again that Michelin believes in both the province of Nova Scotia and our highly skilled employees,‚Äù said Mr. Dana LeBlanc, president, Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. ‚ÄúThe demand is growing in North America for our wide-based tire products like the Michelin X-One, and this manufacturing investment at Waterville will help us meet that demand.‚Äù

In order to secure the expansion, the province has agreed to invest up to $8.9 million in jobs created by the project. The province’s investment is from the Nova Scotia Jobs Fund, which pursues investment opportunities for communities in transition, industry sectors, regional support, small businesses programs, infrastructure and large industrial ventures.

“We are proud to have Michelin in our community and happy Michelin has chosen to grow in Kings County,” said County of Kings Warden Diana Brothers. “This expansion will create high-value jobs in our rural municipality that will help families and young people continue to prosper.”

Around 75 percent of the Michelin products manufactured (300 types of tires) in Nova Scotia are exported from Canada to the United States. Since 1997, Michelin has made more than $600 million in capital investments in Nova Scotia.

Michelin operates three plants in the province in Bridgewater, Pictou County, and Waterville, and employs more than 3,500 Nova Scotians. A Dalhousie University report found the province gains about $70 million per year in tax revenue from Nova Scotians employed by Michelin in the province.

North Dakota to Spend $5M for UAS Testing Site Selection and Development

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple said the state must continue their work to land one of six national unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) test sites, and has included a total of $5 million for this project in the state’s executive budget.

North Dakota UAS pilot site selection

North Dakota UAS pilot site selection (photo – senate.gov)

Gov. Dalrymple included $1 million to support the North Dakota Airspace Integration Team’s work in getting North Dakota selected as a national test site for UAS integration.

The budget includes an additional $4 million in development funds to be appropriated only if North Dakota is selected to operate a national test site.

An amendment included to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill, introduced by U.S. Senator for North Dakota John Hoeven, requires the FAA to select six test sites as part of a program to safely integrate manned and unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace System.

Initially, the FAA intended to identify the six test sites by the end of 2012, but the site selection process has been indefinitely postponed due to “privacy and safety concerns.”

However, the FAA dragging its feet on this matter has not stopped many states from going ahead with investments to develop infrastructure for UAS testing while they wait.

North Dakota, with its open airspace and extensive aviation resources and expertise, expanded into UAS operations and development more than a decade ago.

“North Dakota has a long-standing history in UAS operations and development, ranging from military applications to offering the nation’s first UAS bachelor’s degree at the University of North Dakota,” said Gov. Dalrymple. “By leveraging our resources and expertise at the University of North Dakota, the Grand Forks Air Force Base, the North Dakota Air National Guard and at our growing cluster of high-tech businesses that support our UAS industry, we have a great deal to offer in establishing a North Dakota test site.”

However, state resources cannot hope to compete with federal dollars that will start pouring into the six selected test sites. The United States Congress has allocated a billion dollars that will be spent by the FAA on the six pilot sites for testing UAS integration into the National Air Space (NAS).

This is where North Dakota prospects are being helped along by Sen. Hoeven, who last month arranged a meeting between the North Dakota Integration Team and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

The integration team represents a unified coalition of stakeholders and is comprised of representatives from the aviation community, UND, North Dakota National Guard, private companies, and local and state economic development officials.

They presented the FAA with a proposal for integrating the aircrafts into the NAS using partnerships and infrastructure in North Dakota, and are working to coordinate with FAA officials to ensure the region maintains an edge in the UAS industry.

‚ÄúThere‚Äôs more work to do to make Grand Forks a national UAS center, but we’re making real progress and these are real milestones,‚Äù Hoeven said.

Kemmerich Setting up U.S. Headquarters in Murray, KY

German automotive supplier Kemmerich announced that it will be setting up a manufacturing plant and the Kemmerich USA headquarters in Murray, Kentucky.

Kemmerich

Kemmerich (photo – kemmerich.de)

The project will require a $12.2 million investment by Kemmerich, and will create 120 new jobs.

This is the second German automotive supplier to land up in Murray in the past few months. The first one was iwis, which announced back in Nov 2012 that it was opening a similar $12.5 million plant and hiring 75 employees.

Both are projects initiated during KY Governor Steve Beshear’s trip to Europe last summer.

“The good news keeps coming here in Murray, with yet another new company choosing to locate in this community and the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear. “In November, we had the privilege of welcoming iwis to the area. Now, we’re pleased to welcome Kemmerich, another company with a rich heritage in Germany. We’re especially proud to be chosen as the site for Kemmerich’s U.S. headquarters.”

Kemmerich produces stamped and welded components for a variety of automotive manufacturers.

“We chose Murray after a lengthy search throughout the United States,” said Thomas Bergen, CEO of Kemmerich. “Three key factors were important to us: cost of production, workforce and logistics. We see that Murray offers lower costs of production, a highly flexible and qualified workforce and a favorable location. Our new plant will be strategically positioned to supply General Motors and Ford in the midwest, as well as Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen in the south.”

Not to mention the fact that the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $3 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program.

“Both as Mayor of Murray and a board member of the Murray-Calloway Economic Development Corporation (EDC), I am proud to welcome Kemmerich to our fine community,” said Murray Mayor Bill Wells. “A lot of hard work and cooperation has paid off in a big way, and we can expect great things from Kemmerich for a long time. These will be very good jobs with excellent pay, and this is exactly what we expect in Murray; quality jobs with quality companies in our quality community.”

“This is another great example of our community working together with the EDC for almost a year to win this project. It is no accident that this company chose Calloway County. Hard work and creative people make good things happen,” said Calloway County Judge-Executive Larry Elkins.

“TVA and West Kentucky RECC congratulate Kemmerich on the decision to locate a new facility in Murray, Kentucky,” said John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of Economic Development. “We are privileged to work with the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Murray-Calloway Economic Development Corporation and other local leaders to facilitate this company’s growth and job opportunities for area residents.”

GM to Invest $1.5B in North America in 2013

In a speech to the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Michigan, General Motors North America President Mark Reuss announced that GM is “poised to announce another $1.5 billion or so in North American investments this year.”

General Motors

General Motors (photo – america.gov)

At the same time, United Auto Workers President Bob King said that GM is about to announce a plan to add at least 2,000 hourly jobs in 2013.

GM has already added 18,000 hourly jobs since emerging from bankruptcy in 2009, including the 3,000 IT Innovation Center jobs added in Austin, TX; Warren, MI; and in Roswell, GA.

The 2,000 new jobs to be added this year will mean they will have added 20,000 or new jobs post-bankruptcy.

The new jobs are likely to be at plants which will be producing new GM models. Reuss confirmed in his speech that 70 percent of GM’s U.S. lineup will be replaced by the end of the year. “By the middle of next year we’ll have the freshest showrooms in the business,” said Reuss.

These announcements by GM come after Ford said last week that they will hire 2,200 salaried workers in 2013.

In his speech, Reuss noted that GM has announced North American facility investment of over $10.2 billion since July 2009, and that GM continues to invest about $8 billion a year in product development to keep showrooms filled with still more new cars, trucks and crossovers.

He added that the industry moved almost 15 million vehicles in 2012. “That’s more than most people expected, sooner than they expected,” said Reuss.

Automakers anchor an industry that supports eight million U.S. jobs, pays $500 billion in wages, and generates $70 billion in personal tax revenue. The auto industry is America’s largest exporter, among its largest consumers of steel, rubber, glass and semiconductors, and among its largest investors in R&D.

GM, Chrysler and Ford employ two out of every three autoworkers in the U.S., and base more employees in the U.S. than the competition – by a factor of eight.

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