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Blog Entries from July 2014

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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