Guest blog post by Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic Development Matt Erskine
There are dynamic collaborations and initiatives supporting regional growth strategies across the country. Today, I addressed a group of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and technology commercialization leaders brought together by Technology Ventures Corporation during their Deal Stream Summit. This premier conference seeks to facilitate investment partnerships between federal labs, start-ups, innovators, and the venture community to bolster commercialization of technology and increase competitiveness. I discussed the Obama administration’s commitment to advancing innovation and accelerating the commercialization of new technologies to the marketplace.
Earlier in the day, I visited the Sandia Science and Technology Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With their focus on advanced technologies, technology parks such as this are vital to America’s economic future. These public-private ventures bring together innovators with entrepreneurs and transform theoretical ideas for the marketplace. It’s quite a dynamic environment for the businesses located there, such as ATA Aerospace, Emcore Photovoltaics, and Nanogenesis. And the end results? They include the development of new and unique products, the creation of high-quality jobs, the growth of vibrant communities, and an improvement in the quality of life—both in the immediate region and well beyond.The Sandia Science and Technology Park is a shining example of a successful public-private partnership. Founded in 1998, its 340-acre campus is home to 30 technology-based companies that currently employ more than 2,000 people. When the park’s build-out is complete, it will eventually employ about 12,000. The companies located there are engaged in a wide variety of cutting-edge technologies that include nanotechnology, photovoltaics, medical diagnostic equipment and advanced engineering.
Over the last five years, the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has invested $1.8 million in the Sandia Science and Technology Park, funding such infrastructure improvements as fiber optic lines. These improvements are helping the businesses located at the park to leverage advances in technology that have been generated by nearby universities and federal labs, and exploit them for commercial purposes.
The United States is not lacking in groundbreaking ideas, nor are we short on entrepreneurs willing to take risks. What we need is to improve our ability to connect our country’s great creators and thinkers. With federal support from EDA, places such as the Sandia Science and Technology Park are doing just that.
Yesterday, I addressed EDA’s regional conference in Portland, Oregon, hosted by the EDA’s Seattle office. Hundreds of economic development professionals and public, private and nonprofit sector leaders from across that region came together to explore and share cutting-edge approaches to promote innovation in economic development. Projects like the Sandia Science and Technology Park were highlighted as best practices and stakeholders developed plans to leverage bottom-up strategies to bring jobs back.
As we collaborate to create an economy built to last, it is more important than ever for federal investments to support projects that promote the sustainable creation of high-quality jobs and economic growth and foster an environment for small businesses and entrepreneurs to make products here that they can sell across the globe.