Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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April 05, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Southeast Shoutouts | The Big News is Out of the Tar Heel State

North Carolina lawmakers and Governor Roy Cooper have proposed that the state give $50 million to a business-led nonprofit that wants to set up regional hubs to promote the commercialization of university research and know-how.

From Raleigh, NC but with Statewide Implications:

WRAL TechWire reports that North Carolina lawmakers and Governor Roy Cooper have proposed that the state give $50 million to a business-led nonprofit that wants to set up regional hubs to promote the commercialization of university research and know-how.

If approved, the money would go to NCInnovation Inc., which contends that the state’s technology transfer efforts are falling behind and need a refresh. The group, first conceived in 2018, says that Research Triangle’s Research 1 universities — Duke, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University — account for almost 87 percent of the state’s academic R&D effort. With other regions left out, North Carolina has “some of the poorest economic mobility in the country,” and half its counties lost population between 2010 and 2020.

Since 2021, NCInnovation has conducted market research, formed a board, and raised $20 million from 11 major banks, Duke Energy, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, and other businesses including Capitol Broadcasting, Flow Automotive, and Martin Marietta.

The next phase of the initiative would be to advocate for “at least a $250 million annual public commitment over a minimum of 10 years, or $2.5 billion total, supplemented with private resources” to building on existing strengths in agricultural technology, biohealth, defense innovation, power electronics, and cloud computing.

The group is working on potential hubs and is in talks with leaders of four universities — UNC Charlotte, East Carolina University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Western Carolina University as well as the UNC System.

Click here to read the full article.

From Raleigh, NC:

Looking for a caregiver? CareYaya, created by co-founders Neal Shah and Gavry Eshet, is a platform that connects families to student caregivers.

As described in this recent article in WRAL TechWire, the start-up is “unlike other gig economy platforms.” Why? “CareYaya is supported by funds from local universities, governments, health systems, and employers, so it is free for both students and families alike.

Since its founding in 2022, CareYaya has since recruited and vetted more than 2,000 student caregivers with only around 20 percent of applicants accepted into the caregiver registry.

From Research Triangle Park:

RTI International was one of eight organizations selected by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to share $27.9 million in funding to establish communities of practice (CoP). The CoPs are designed to connect participants to capture and disseminate practical knowledge and will bring together thematically related groups of economic development practitioners who are working to develop economic ecosystems conducive to the creation of quality jobs for American workers.

RTI is receiving $4 million to coordinate and lead a CoP for EDA’s “Build Back Better Regional Challenge’s” 60 finalist coalitions to leverage each other’s collective knowledge and make the industry sector investments even more impactful for national competitiveness, regional growth, and economic opportunity.

Another of the recipients, although not located in the Southeast, is the State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI), an organization whose work we frequently spotlight in SSTI was awarded $3.5 million to coordinate and lead a CoP dedicated to building capacity and disseminating effective technology-based economic development practices across the economic development industry. This work will inform and complement interagency work to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in the U.S.

To learn about the other CoPs, click here.

From Fayetteville, AR:

Fayetteville-based Startup Junkie has revealed the launch of its first cohort focused entirely on healthcare technology and innovation through the “Fuel Accelerator.” Beginning this month, the spring cohort will bring together a diverse range of solutions that are transforming the healthcare industry.

Launched in 2018, the “Fuel Accelerator” has included programs focused on supply chain and artificial intelligence, and now is expanding into health innovation by facilitating the first cohort centered around health tech start-ups. Like its previous cohorts, the accelerator is dedicated to providing these start-ups with resources such as mentorship, continued education, and access to other start-up founders.

The program has been funded in part by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission as well as the Walton Family Foundation, with support from congressional Community Project Funding awarded with the assistance of U.S. Rep. Steve Womack.

Eight start-ups will be taking part in the accelerator program with specialties ranging from artificial intelligence platforms to detect diabetes to start-ups improving the quality of life for elders to streamlined mechanisms for medical exams, data, and analytics.

Click here to learn more.

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