This is the first newsletter from my new enterprise, Innovation Policyworks! I've sent it to you because you were a reader of my previous newsletter, Mainely Innovation. This newsletter will cover the same information - what's new around the country on innovation and entrepreneurship, sources of grant funding that might be of interest, what's happening in Maine regarding public policy in science and technology, company and institutional news.
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As always, I look forward to hearing from you and staying in touch. Please send along your news to share!
Catherine S. Renault, PhD
Last week, the White House announced a new initiative, Startup America. It seems that they have gotten religion about the importance of entrepreneurship and startup companies to the US economy. (On a related note, the most recent unemployment figures show that almost all the new hiring is coming from small companies! Not a surprise to us!)
The ideas behind Startup America is to support entrepreneurs through new capital, new funding for entrepreneurship support organizations, improvements at the US Patent and Trademark Office to reduce the patent backlog and more R&D funding for green technologies. In addition, a number of companies such as IBM, HP and Facebook, committed funds to support entrepreneurship.
For more information, see
Bioscience Sector Growing Nationally and in Maine
The Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO) and Battelle recently released their annual look at the bioscience sector. They report that the impact of the total bioscience sector nationally is 8 million jobs, and grew 4.5 times faster than the US economy 2001-2008 at a rate of 15.8 percent. Nationally, this growth was fueled by growth in research, testing and medical laboratories, representing nine out of ten new jobs in the sector. The report mentions the very high wages associated with these jobs.
Maine also showed a moderate increase in this sector, but it is still very small in absolute numbers, around 6000 employees in 2010. However, the concentration of firms in certain sectors is much higher in Maine than in the nation. We have a good concentration of companies in vaccines, animal therapeutics and diagnostics (e.g., IDEXX) and a very high specialization in research, testing and medical laboratories (e.g. The Jackson Laboratory).
To learn more, readhttp://www.bio.org/local/battelle2010/Battelle_Report_2010.pdf.
Governor LePage's Supplemental Budget
Governor LePage's Supplemental Budget (LD 100) that makes changes to the budget for the current fiscal year for state government is likely to be approved by the Legislature this week. In large part, this budget codifies cuts made back in October by Governor Baldacci under a curtailment order. Of most significance to the innovation community in Maine is another cut to the Maine Technology Institute, this time for $115,857.
The Governor's biennial budget for the two years starting July 1, 2011, is scheduled to be released late this week and will be our first glimpse of his intentions towards the key programs in innovation and entrepreneurship. We will be watching for budget amounts for MTI, the Maine Economic Improvement Fund, and the incubators, as well as a possible inclusion of an expansion of the Seed Capital Tax Credit (now being considered in the Taxation Committee - LD 22).