Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

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October 29, 2012 | Tom Ballard

SSTI selects six award winners including CU-ICAR

The State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI) announced six winners of its annual technology-based economic development awards yesterday in Atlanta. One was Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research.

The SSTI announcement follows.

Six organizations were named winners of SSTI’s 2012 Excellence in TBED award, serving as national models for states and regions investing in science, technology and innovation to grow their economies and create high-paying jobs. Among the winners, a newer program was selected as the Most Promising TBED Initiative, recognized for a transferable technology commercialization model and a creative funding approach.

Awards were presented today during SSTI’s 16th Annual Conference in Atlanta, attended by more than 250 local, regional and national leaders in economic development from more than 40 states. The following initiatives were named 2012 recipients of SSTI’s Excellence in TBED award:

The Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund
Expanding the Research Capacity Category

The Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF) provides competitive grants to public and private entities to leverage funding, increase research capacity and cutting-edge technologies, and develop strong economic growth in the life sciences sector. An economic engine for the state, the MSCRF creates jobs and generates new revenue. The primary goal of the initiative is to grow the stem cell research community, and to this end, 258 research projects have been funded and $101.6 million has been committed since 2006. During its first two years of operations, MSCRF-funded research projects generated more than 500 local jobs and $71.3 million in sales.

Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI)
Commercializing Research Category

ONAMI is an effective alliance of academic, industry and government leaders committed to growing multi-institutional research capacity, an infrastructure network, and commercialization deal flow in a state with modest resources. Three programs encompass ONAMI’s model: cost share support for collaborative and industry-funded research, a high-tech extension program that connects a collection of shared/open user facilities to industry and startups on a fee-for-service basis, and a commercialization gap fund supporting technology entrepreneurs. ONAMI’s success has translated to impressive returns. Since its founding in 2004, ONAMI has leveraged $386 million in federal and private research and capital investment dollars, and 39 U.S. patents related to nanoscience or microtechnology have been issued to ONAMI member researchers.

Ben Franklin TechVentures®
Building Entrepreneurial Capacity Category

Owned and managed by the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Ben Franklin TechVentures® is a highly accomplished incubator/post incubator facility, which develops early stage technology companies that are creating sustainable, high-paying jobs and advancing the regional economy. With a lengthy track record extending nearly 30 years, Ben Franklin has demonstrated an ability to evolve over time to meet the needs of the region while cultivating partnerships with the private sector to expand its reach. Since 1983, the Ben Franklin Business Incubator and TechVentures® have graduated 55 successful companies, together grossing more than $620 million in annual revenue and creating more than 5,400 jobs.

Increasing Access to Capital Category

Distinguished by the breadth and scope of services it provides, TechColumbus offers a continuum of funding options and technical support services to increase capital for central Ohio’s promising pre-seed and seed companies. Dedicated and seasoned practitioners guide companies through a rigorous vetting process, complete with coaching, mentoring and due diligence to assure the best companies and innovations receive the funding and support they need to thrive and help sustain a knowledge-based, entrepreneurial-driven economy. The program has achieved an impressive leverage of funds invested. To date, TechColumbus managed funds have invested directly $22.5 million in 139 ventures, which have attracted $308.2 million in follow-on funding.

Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research
Improving Competitiveness of Existing Industries Category

The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) is an advanced technology research campus where academia, industry and government organizations engage in synergistic collaboration to improve regional industry competitiveness. CU-ICAR is directly fueling a knowledge base critical to the automotive industry through its Masters and PhD programs in automotive engineering co-developed with large automotive companies and in conducting leading-edge applied research in critical areas. As of 2011, CU-ICAR has generated nearly $250 million in investments with another $500 million in developments and 2,300 jobs announced.

Most Promising TBED Initiative Category

Working with universities, medical centers and entrepreneurs, BioAccel translates late stage discovery research into commercial products by providing proof-of-concept testing, new company formation support and business/technical expertise to address the significant funding challenges related to both technology and company development. Using philanthropy rather than traditional venture funding, BioAccel has developed an innovative approach to funding and serves as a promising model for organizations dedicated to technology driven economic development. In just three years, BioAccel has supported 11 companies in Arizona, investing more than $4 million cash/in-kind directly, as well as facilitating an additional $15.5 million in downstream funding. More than 35 jobs have been facilitated through these initial efforts.

Over the past six years SSTI has recognized 32 initiatives for their successful efforts to support the creation and growth of technology companies.

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