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Latest Blog Posts

Building Infrastructure to Strengthen Environmental Resiliency

Assistant Secretary Williams announces $1 million EDA investment to help build the Austin’s [re]Manufacturing Hub Eco-Industrial Park. (L-R): Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell,  Assistant Secretary Williams, U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett. Environmental sustainability is a priority for the Department of Commerce and EDA. In the last 5 years alone, EDA has made more than 130 investments that support green projects and environmental resilience across the nation. As climate change becomes more pronounced, it is crucial that communities and regions factor in to their strategic plans new development and infrastructure to account for and mitigate the potential environmental impact.

Earlier this month, I had the honor of being joined by Congressman Lloyd Doggett and Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell in Austin, Texas to announce an EDA grant to the city. EDA is investing $1 million to build infrastructure to serve Austin’s [re]Manufacturing Hub Eco-Industrial Park, which will house recycling manufacturing firms and focus on recycling market development.  This grant checks some critical boxes by creating jobs and securing private investment.

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Q&A: Julie Lenzer Kirk, Director, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, EDA

Julie Lenzer Kirk, Director of the EDA Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Julie Lenzer Kirk was recently appointed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to lead the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), an office within the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). In her capacity as Director of the OIE, she is charged with driving programs and policies that support innovative economic development such as innovation-based entrepreneurship and regional innovation clusters. Her passion is infusing innovation and entrepreneurial mindset coupled with action into individuals, communities, and regions to act as a catalyst for economic growth.

Formerly, she was the Executive Director of the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship (MCE) which is an initiative of the Howard County Economic Development Authority. Based in Columbia, Maryland the MCE is focused on igniting the entrepreneurial culture and bringing together the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the state. During her tenure, the MCE quadrupled its client base and saw the creation of new programs such as 3D Maryland, a leadership initiative connecting resources in additive manufacturing; the Conscious Venture Lab, an accelerator focused on Conscious Capitalism; and a technology transfer accelerator in partnership with Johns Hopkins Advanced Physics Lab and other leading research institutions.

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Success Story: CU-ICAR Driving Successful Innovation in South Carolina and Beyond

Concept car interior at CU-ICAR Even if you’ve never heard of Greenville, South Carolina the chances are that if you own a car, what is happening there has affected you. Greenville is home to the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR). The ground-breaking automotive research taking place at CU-ICAR is only part of the story.

Greenville, like much of the region, used to be a textile town. The decline of the textile sector hit Greenville hard. What could have spelled disaster for this charming southern town was instead treated as an opportunity. The local leaders brought together the university and other public and private partners to create what has since become a thriving automotive cluster. BMW located a plant in nearby Spartanburg, and Clemson seized an opportunity to get involved in growing the region’s automotive sector.

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Guest Column: Can A New Form Of Capitalism Save the World? The Premise and Promise of Conscious Capitalism

Jeff Cherry, CEO and Managing Partner of the Porter Group, LLC Rick Frazier, Founding Partner and Head of Research at Concinnity Advisors, LP Over our careers as entrepreneurs, CEOs, consultants, business advisors and now as investors, two things have become pretty apparent to us:  first, capitalism offers society the best hope of making life better for people all over the planet. This basic premise cannot be ignored in the face of overwhelming historical evidence. And second, although many don’t like to admit it, capitalism is in a state of crisis. Look around, and you will find far too many examples of companies that seem to have lost their way. Capitalism as currently practiced still contains many hard edges that prevent it from being as powerful a force for good as it could be.

Much of the nation doesn’t trust Corporate America. In light of persistent examples of poor customer service, full time employees taxing our social services because they can’t provide for their families, the financial crisis, the recent recession, and persistently low levels of commitment and engagement in the American workplace, many of us see businesses’ focus on short-term profits at any cost as a major contributor to this state of affairs.

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Highlight: Secretary Pritzker Seeks Innovation Advisors

EDA has issued a call for applications for membership on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE) – a federal advisory committee that will advise the Secretary of Commerce on issues related to accelerating innovation and expanding entrepreneurship, with an added focus on job-driven skills training that creates jobs and spurs innovation. The Commerce Department is now accepting applications for new Council members through July 14, 2014.

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Data Driving Development: EDA Releases New Cluster Mapping Tool to Help Spur Regional Economic Growth

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams Earlier this week, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker announced the launch of the U.S. Cluster Mapping and Registry project, a national economic initiative based at Harvard Business School’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness and supported by the U.S. Economic Development Administration.  The U.S. Cluster Mapping and Registry project aims to strengthen U.S. competitiveness by understanding the economic performance of clusters and regions across the United States.

EDA staff gets inquiries daily from different organizations looking for grant information. Every community we speak with has a plan it is developing to spur economic growth and create jobs. Some are more fleshed out that others, but EDA’s advice is always the same: look at the resources in your community and make sure this project fits with the economic strengths of your area. In short, identify your regional clusters.

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Engaging Indian Country to Help Create Conditions for Economic Opportunity on Trust Lands

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams Traveling this week on my first official trip as Assistant Secretary for Economic Development, I was honored to participate in the National Congress of the American Indians mid-year conference “Claiming our Rights and Strengthening our Governance” in Anchorage, Alaska.

While there, I served on a panel with Kevin Washburn, Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Kevin Gover, Director of the National Museum of the American Indian and former Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs, and James M. Olguin, Councilman, Southern Indian Tribe. We met with tribal leaders for a focused discussion on the importance of developing modern trust management systems and creating the conditions for economic growth on tribal trust lands. 

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Message From Assistant Secretary Jay Williams

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams I am incredibly excited to join EDA at this critical time for our nation’s economic growth. As our country continues its recovery, EDA plays an important role in partnering with local communities to help them become robust regional engines for business creation and job growth.

I was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio. My city had a thriving manufacturing economy for years – until it didn’t. The hard times that befell my community and the federal support that helped it bounce back give me a special and very personal appreciation for the importance of EDA’s mission and work. I am humbled to have been chosen by President Obama for this position, and I look forward to working with partners in the federal government and in communities like yours to continue to grow our economy and make our regions more competitive.

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Q&A: Roland Stephan, Associate Director, Higher Education & Economic Development, Center for Science, Technology & Economic Development, SRI International

Roland Stephan, Associate Director, Higher Education & Economic Development, Center for Science, Technology & Economic Development, SRI International Roland Stephen is the Associate Director for Higher Education & Economic Development in the Center for Science, Technology & Economic Development at SRI International. He is presently a co-leader on four studies for the Economic Development Administration, Department of Commerce.  He has worked on performance assessment in higher education and on regional economic development strategies. Prior to joining SRI, Dr. Stephen had seven years of leadership experience at the Institute for Emerging Issues (IEI), an applied policy unit at North Carolina State University, where he was also an associate professor in the School of Public and International Affairs. He has directed policy research, strategic planning, program design and public engagement in the areas of technology policy, higher education policy, and regional economic development. Dr. Stephen received his Ph.D. in International and Comparative Political Economy from UCLA and his B.A. in Economics and History from Cambridge University, United Kingdom.

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Success Story: Mining Data for Golden Economic Opportunities

The Port of Gloucester There are a few things that are consistently drilled into us throughout our education. We’re told from a young age to always check our work or proofread our papers. We are also instructed that we should say “may I” instead of “can I.” Most fundamentally, across any and all subjects, we are taught the importance of data. While it isn’t always referred to as such, data is the supporting argument in an essay, it’s the showing our work in math, and it’s the basis of defending any theory.

In 2008, the Port of Gloucester, Massachusetts, was at a crossroads.  The harbor, formerly the heart of the city, was contributing less than 1.5% to the tax revenue for the city and the fishing industry had shrunk by 80 percent over the previous 25 years.

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