Guest blog post by Acting Assistant Secretary Matt Erskine, Economic Development Administration
Today I joined my colleagues, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office David Kappos and Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at the National Institute of Standards and Technology Phillip Singerman, at a meeting of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) in New Orleans. The quarterly meeting of NACIE’s board coincided with local Entrepreneurship Week activities and brought together over 250 entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders to discuss how we can best support them.
NACIE is a public-private partnership started by the Department of Commerce to provide guidance on how we can best support the growing businesses that will create the jobs and industries of the future. When I addressed the forum, I highlighted the Obama administration’s commitment to making investments in innovation and entrepreneurship including the recently announced $15 million Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, which will boost rural innovation clusters and the soon-to-be-announced next round of the i6 challenge to reward innovative, groundbreaking ideas that accelerate technology commercialization.
That is a key goal of NACIE-to help innovators turn ideas into new products and businesses. These types of lab-to-market strategies are just what we need to spur economic growth and job creation. One step they have taken is to work with colleges and universities to advance innovation and entrepreneurship, support university technology transfer efforts and facilitate collaboration between universities and industry. Over 135 university presidents have endorsed a pledge letter committing to bolster efforts to accelerate the commercialization of research. In addition, NACIE members are focused on important economic issues, such as access to capital, better ways of linking regional and national economic development efforts, and methods of facilitating university-industry collaboration that support the commercialization of technology.
I commend the three NACIE co-chairs-CEO of Revolution and Co-Founder of AOL Steve Case; Chairman of Sparta Group, A123 Systems, Sycamore Networks Desh Deshpande; and, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman-for their leadership, commitment, and hard work. The recommendations of the council members will be valuable as we implement strategies to ensure we build it here and sell it everywhere to create an economy built to last.