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Blog Entries from July 2012

The Fourth of July, 2012: Independence Day

Image of the Continental Congress

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of America—Independence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress. See an image of the Declaration of Independence from the National Archives.

As always, this most American of holidays will be marked by parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues across the nation. In 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly-independent nation was 2.5 million. This year, the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau estimate is 313.9 million.

For fascinating figures on the Fourth’s fireworks, flags, fanfares, firings (grills) and more, see the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features.

Innovation in Austin, TX: EDA Investments Help Create Jobs and Industries of the Future

Matt Erskine, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, touring the Austin Technology Incubator

By Matt Erskine, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development

There is a lot of talk about innovation today, and how it can be leveraged to promote economic and job growth. In Austin, Texas, it’s more than just talk. Throughout the region, businesses are developing cutting-edge technologies, commercializing them, and—with the help of research parks, incubators, and other business support facilities—creating jobs.

Last week, I was in Austin to tour recent Obama administration EDA investments. Grants to the Austin Technology Incubator at the University of Texas, the Science, Technology, and Advanced Research (STAR) Park, and the Pecan Street Consortium are helping to spur high-tech commercialization and business development.

These investments are addressing two major issues for the Austin region - the creation of the next-generation smart grid technology infrastructure and the shortage of wet labs - to help create the jobs and industries of the future.

MBDA Achieves 130x Return on Taxpayer Investment in FY2011

Front Cover of the Minority Business Development Agency's FY 2011 Annual Performance Report

Guest blog post by David Hinson, National Director, Minority Business Development Agency

When Muhammad Ali, the legendary world heavyweight boxing champion, was asked by reporters why he kept boasting about being the greatest in the ring, he used to say, “It isn’t bragging if you can back it up.”

The MBDA FY2011 Annual Performance Report (APR) (7MB PDF) backs up what we’ve been saying about MBDA’s achievements under President Obama. In 2011, we registered the best performance in our 43-year history. It was our third record-breaking year in a row.

The recently released APR presents detailed information about the contracts and capital MBDA helped obtain for minority-owned businesses, along with the number of new jobs created. It also highlights our strategic and organizational accomplishments.

Let me give you just a few of those highlights.

Despite the serious head winds the economy is facing, more than 5,780 new jobs were created by minority-owned firms working with MBDA and its network of MBDA Business Centers in FY 2011.  MBDA assisted minority-owned businesses in obtaining access to nearly $4 billion in contracts and capital.

During the first three years of the Obama Administration,

  • MBDA facilitated a total of more than 16,300 new jobs, an increase of 20% over the prior three-year period.  
  • MBDA directly served more than 17,400 minority-owned businesses and indirectly served thousands more, a 36% increase over the prior three-year period.
  • And MBDA achieved a Return on taxpayer Investment (ROI) between 102x and 130x, an impressive 86% increase over the prior three-year period. 

MBDA’s FY2011 APR also presents a state-by-state detailed analysis of the performance of minority-owned businesses broken down by industry.

Dallas, Denver and San Jose Join Detroit as Regional U.S. Patent Offices

United States Patent and Trademark Office Seal

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank and Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) David Kappos today announced plans to open regional USPTO offices in or around Dallas, Texas, Denver, Colorado, and Silicon Valley, California. These offices are in addition to the already-announced first USPTO satellite office to open on July 13 in Detroit, Michigan. The four offices will function as hubs of innovation and creativity, helping protect and foster American innovation in the global marketplace, helping businesses cut through red tape, and creating new economic opportunities in each of the local communities.

The offices announced today will help the USPTO attract talented IP experts throughout the country who will work closely with entrepreneurs to process patent applications, reduce the backlog of unexamined patents, and speed up the overall process, allowing businesses to move their innovation to market more quickly, and giving them more room to create new jobs.

Patents are a significant factor in private sector job creation. In fact, the U.S. Commerce Department issued a recent report finding that IP-intensive industries are the source – directly or indirectly – of 40 million jobs, contributing $5.06 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2010.

Selection of the four sites was based upon a comprehensive analysis (PDF) of criteria including geographical diversity, regional economic impact, ability to recruit and retain employees, and the ability to engage the intellectual property community. The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011 (AIA), signed into law by President Obama in September, requires the USPTO to establish regional satellite locations as part of a larger effort to modernize the U.S. patent system over the next three years.

“Intellectual property protection and innovation are engines of economic growth and the bedrock of America’s private sector,” said Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. “The Obama administration is committed to making certain our businesses and entrepreneurs have the resources they need to grow, create jobs and compete globally. These new offices are an historic step toward further advancing our world’s best IP system, and reinforcing the United States as the number one destination for innovation capital, and research and development around the world.”