Friday, May 28, 2010

WA Leader in Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Washington’s commitment to investing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs has placed it among the top states in the country when it comes to entrepreneurship and innovation.

                   According to a new study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Chamber Foundation (NCF), the Enterprising States study highlights how state and local policies—including those in Washington—play a vital role in spurring job creation and economic development.

By embracing many of the strategies at the core of our free enterprise system—competitive tax rates, open trade, and commonsense regulation—states are helping to jumpstart our economic recovery and create more jobs,” wrote Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber, in a letter to Governor Chris Gregoire. “Many of the new ideas, new companies, and new jobs will come from local initiatives that allow the free market to do what it does best.”

The Enterprising States study was released as part of a U.S. Chamber event where a group of bipartisan governors from around the country discussed the role of the free enterprise system in job creation. Through this study, the Chamber is highlighting bipartisan state and local policies—including those in Washington—that have proven to help create jobs and that will be key to our economic recovery. The study is part of the U.S. Chamber’s American Free Enterprise. Dream Big. campaign, a comprehensive nationwide effort to create 20 million jobs in the next 10 years.

Specifically, the study highlights how Washington is playing a pivotal role in fostering the conditions for job growth through the Education Legacy Trust Fund program, being a global leader in aerospace research and development, and a strong focus on rail and container port initiatives to drive exports.

This study provides an in-depth look at the vast and complex network of economies we call the 50 states and territories,” said Margaret Spellings, executive vice president of NCF and former secretary of the Department of Education. “By highlighting lessons learned we hope to create a roadmap to economic resilience and an ongoing dialogue that makes every state’s jobs picture stronger.”

The Enterprising States study highlights six factors that drive job creation: Innovation, productivity through investments in workforce development and training, science and technology, infrastructure, exporting, and competitive tax rates. The study found that states are much more active than the federal government on the job creation and economic development front. For example, the study found that high tax rates do not lead to either healthy economies or budgets.

Similarly, the study looks at how states have implemented initiatives for streamlining red tape to help businesses sort through the many layers of government regulation and have incentivized private-sector investors primarily with tax credits. It also highlights that targeted investments in infrastructure projects at the state-level can create growth‐friendly environments in communities. Science- and technology-based economic development and clean tech initiatives are proliferating amongst virtually all of the states. There is widespread support for doubling exports and there are also states that have made significant headway using strategies for foreign direct investment (FDI). Finally, cultivating people through workforce development will drive economic growth at the state-level, the study shows.

Winners! BPC 2010

                It’s been a terrific Business Plan Competition this year. 

There were a record 92 student teams from 15 universities apply to participate in the competition. Over 120 judges devoted a full week-end the beginning of April to screen that group down to 36 teams—and provide feedback. At the Investment Round in late April, those 36 teams pitched their hearts out to 205 judges in the HUB Ballroom—and 16 advanced to the next round. Yesterday the Sweet 16 teams made their full presentations to another set of judges. Six highly credible teams made it to the Final Round, where they presented to seven entrepreneur judges.

The next generation of start-ups are focused on recycled glass for building materials, windows that turn sunlight into energy, helping Korean students learn English, mobile payments, camera systems at mountain resorts to capture and share the activities of enthusiasts, devices for rapid quantitative immunoassays, measuring fat loss, and enhancing the wheelchair-bound person’s ability to walk, and a revolutionary enzyme that can mix with clay to build roads.

Thank to the judges, sponsors, volunteers, faculty, and our colleagues at Bainbridge Graduate Institute, Central Washington, Edmonds CC, Embry-Riddle, Gonzaga, North Seattle CC, Seattle Central CC, Seattle Pacific, Seattle University, University of Puget Sound, University of Washington, UW Bothell, UW Tacoma, Western Washington, and Washington State University. 

It takes a community (and a region) to raise an entrepreneur!

$25,000 Herbert B. Jones Foundation Grand Prize:  YongoPal, UW
A service for South Korean university students that allows them to practice conversational English with their American peers via webcam, and that also allows university students in America to profit from those interactions.  Kyung Hee Yun, BA in Political Science; Jon Hickey, Master of Communication in Digital Media; Darien Brown and Daron Hall

$10,000 Bristlecone-Selamat Challenge Second Prize: Empowering Engineering Technologies, UW
EETech is developing a medical device called ExoWalk that utilizes patented ExoTendon technology to dramatically reduce the muscular force required to walk, enabling people with wheelchairs to stand up and walk their way to better qualities of life. Brian Glaister, PhD in Mechanical Engineering; Katie Mulholland, MS in Mechanical Engineering; Chie Kawahara; and Jason Schoen

$5,000 Fenwick & West Finalist Prize:  Febris, WSU
Produces a point of care viral diagnostic, based on patented processes, that can detect a viral infection days before the subject manifests physical symptoms and becomes contagious. Jason Burt, MBA; Alice Lombard, DVM-Doctor of Veterinary Medicine; Andrew Lombard, MBA; and Michael Whittaker, MBA

$5,000 WRF Capital Finalist Prize:  Emergent Detection, UW and UWT
Working to solve the worldwide obesity epidemic with its handheld device that immediately and directly measures personal fat loss in the home user.  Eric Fogel, Eve MBA; Joel Gjuka, MBA -UWT; Keegan Hall, MBA -UWT; Amanda Mathes, Eve MBA


The BEST IDEA prizes were created to reward teams in the Business Plan Competition for their exceptional work in several different categories. The teams receiving these prizes were selected by a special group of judges during the Investment Round. This year we gave away SIX $2,500 Best Idea Prizes.

OVP Venture Partners Best Technology Idea: Empowering Engineering Technologies, UW
EETech is developing a medical device called ExoWalk that utilizes patented ExoTendon technology to dramatically reduce the muscular force required to walk, enabling people with wheelchairs to stand up and walk their way to better qualities of life. Brian Glaister, PhD in Mechanical Engineering; Katie Mulholland, MS in Mechanical Engineering; Chie Kawahara; and Jason Schoen

Synapse Product Development Best Consumer Product Idea: Native Roots, WSU and U of Idaho
Positioned to become a major supplier of native plants, the breeding program currently has 40 native plant varieties in position to be patented with plant variety patents (PVPs). Kathryn Leonard, MBA - WSU; Casey Neumeyer, BS Agribusiness - U of Idaho; and Mac Reynolds

Perkins Coie Best Innovation Idea: GreenStone International, Seattle U
Has developed a revolutionary enzyme that when mixed and compacted with clay creates a durable, low cost, waterproof and environmentally friendly road with a lifespan of more than 15 years. James Spaulding, MBA; Heidi Han Yu, MBA; Emily Marshall, MBA; Ping Chee; John Craig; and Dick Polley

DLA Piper Best Service/Retail Idea: Snovision, UW and Seattle Central Community College
Automated camera systems for mountain resorts that allow their terrain park participants to capture, share and further enjoy their mountain experience at home through our online community. Rob Hammond, MBA; Jonas Harris, BA International Business; Josh Scotland, Undergrad Computer Science and Business; Scott Stucker, Associate of Applied Sciences in Graphic Design; Sterling Swigart, Undergrad Computer Science; Eli Rosenberg, MBA; and Robert Capogna

Sensors in Motion Best Sustainable Advantage Idea: WISErg, WSU
Will provide earth-friendly solutions to the growing problems of food waste disposal and energy consumption by offering a unique food-to-fuel solution to the nation's largest consumers, starting with Fortune 500 corporate campuses. Brandon Baker, Undergrad Business; Jaimee Jewell, Undergrad Business; Larry LeSueur; and Jose Lugo

Keeler Investments Best Clean-Tech Idea: EnVitrum, UW
Using the consumer glass waste stream to produce 100% recycled building materials and agricultural products. Serena Batten, TMMBA; Scott Coil, Eve MBA; Grant Marchelli, MS Mechanical Engineering; and Renuka Prabhakar, BS Mechanical Engineering

A special thanks to the sponsors of the 2010 Business Plan Competition!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

WA Broadband Summit

Industry, community and government leaders will meet for an informative and interactive one-day event to explore broadband access and adoption in Washington State.
Interactive afternoon sessions will allow broadband stakeholders to discuss important issues, and vote on the preferred strategy and policy directions that Washington State should take on critical broadband-related initiatives. Make sure your voice is heard in the broadband arena!

Just announced! Featured speakers and panelists confirmed to date include:

~ Mr. Marc Berejka, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce
~ Mr. Erik Garr, General Manager, National Broadband Plan, Federal Communications Commission
~ Mr. Mario Villanueva, State Director, Rural Development, US Dept. of Agriculture
~ Mr. Dan Reed, Corporate Vice President, Technology Policy and Strategy, head of eXtreme Computing Group (ECG), Microsoft
~ Mr. Ari Steinberg, Engineering Manager, Facebook
~ Mr. Jeff Goltz, Chair, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
~ Mr. Edward Wright, Wireless Data Solutions Engineer, Verizon Wireless
~ Mr. Mark Anderson, CEO, Strategic News Service

View the complete event agenda online!  Register soon, as seating is limited!

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 15 - 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
PLACE:  Microsoft Conference Center, Redmond
REGISTRATION: 7:30 – 8:00 a.m. (continental breakfast provided)
RECEPTION: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
COST: Only $40, which includes lunch
Register Now! 

New! Follow Washington Broadband (WABroadband) on Twitter for the latest updates!

Questions? Email Alisha Reitan.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Angels Fight! II

The Puget Sound region played a leadership role in the passage of the Financial Reform Bill, as it was amended.

Our Sen. Cantwell, as an identified principal co-sponsor, joined by others (including Sen. Murray and Sen. Begich-AK) in sponsoring what became an adopted amendment addressing critical changes to the bill much to the delight of the Angel Capital Association.

Sen. Cantwell was on the Senate floor speaking to the subsequent Dodd Bill when visited by the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber's delegation on its 25th Washington-to-Washington, D.C. visit.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bring New Ideas to Market

The i6 Challenge is a new $12 million innovation competition administered by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Science Foundation (NSF).

EDA will award up to $1 million to each of six winning teams with the most innovative ideas to drive technology commercialization and entrepreneurship in their regions. NIH and NSF will award a total of up to $6 million in supplemental funding to their SBIR grantees that are associated or partnered with the winning teams.

We encourage entrepreneurs, investors, universities, foundations, and non-profits to participate in the i6 Challenge. The deadline for applications is July 15, 2010. For more information, email or join the i6 Challenge conference call at 2pm EDT on May 17, 2010.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Regional Innovation & Jobs Summit

The Washington Economic Development Commission (WEDC) is partnering with Department of Commerce, Office of the Governor, House and Senate Committees on Economic Development and the Washington Economic Development Association for a “Regional Innovation and Jobs Summit” in Tacoma on May 26th.

The event is designed for the state’s top economic development leadership and focused on answering a critical question, “How do we accelerate growth in the state’s innovation clusters and bolster job creation?”

We cordially invite you to participate in this one-day event with regional leaders from business, government, non-profit, research and education. The program will be jam-packed with practical presentations of job creation strategies and break-out sessions designed to foster productive relationships in the state’s “Innovation Ecosystem.”

These summit discussions will be integrated into a proceedings report which will include acknowledgement of your participation. Most importantly the results will be a foundation for the next update of the State's long term economic development strategy and action recommendations to be presented to the Governor, legislature, congressional delegation and public later this fall.

Featured Speakers:
Governor Christine Gregoire, Invited
Bruce Kendall, WEDC Chair
Rogers Weed, Director, Department of Commerce

Keynote Presentation:
Rob Atkinson, President and founder of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation addressing restoring US Innovation leadership in our country and the world;

Legislator's Panel - On the impact of the fiscal crisis on development of economic policies and programs;

Panelists on Talent & Workforce, Infrastructure and Investment & Entrepreneurship—highlighting the latest and greatest innovative projects and strategies across Washington State.

An interactive workshop on leveraging the state’s intangible capital and overcoming barriers for collaborative innovation.

Event Details:
Wednesday, May 26th
Venice Ballroom, Hotel Murano
1320 Broadway
Tacoma, WA

Hotel Accommodations:
Hotel Murano, Tacoma has reserved rooms for the Regional Innovation & Jobs Summit at a reduced rate. Please call: 866.986.8083

More information, see website here or call 360-586-5662

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Washington's Innovation Summit 2010

You can now find video and presentations from the Summit online at:

Photos and articles summarizing the Summit are here:

And, as mentioned at the Summit, the Washington Economic Development Commission will convene the Regional Innovation and Jobs Summit in Tacoma on May 26, 2010. More information is available at