NIST Announces NMII Competition

Paytas-Blog-20160405Recently, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced the competition to award its first National Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NMII).  Proposers may focus on any advanced manufacturing technology area not already addressed by another institute or open competition. Seven institutes have been funded to date with two currently moving through the review and negotiation process. After attending the Proposer Day session on March 8, 2016, it is clear that many proposal teams have already been formed. Continue reading “NIST Announces NMII Competition”

48 Hours in Pittsburgh with the Consulate General of Canada

Bernard-Blog-20160405To many Americans, Canada is our friendly neighbor to the north, known for an affable attitude, a passion for pucks and a penchant for strong beer.  What is perhaps less known is how critical trade with Canada is to the economy of the United States.  Consider:

  • Nearly 9 million U.S. jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada
  • Canada is the top export destination for 35 states
  • Canada is the number one supplier of crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas,
    and electricity to the U.S. as well as a
    leading supplier of uranium
  • 400,000 people cross the Canada–U.S. border daily


Continue reading “48 Hours in Pittsburgh with the Consulate General of Canada”

Three Ingredients to Support Market Opportunities – Moving Beyond Industry Clusters

ProvidenceBlogImageFourth Economy recently concluded a Cluster Development Strategy project for the City Council of Providence, RI. The analysis, conversations and excitement that was demonstrated during the process underscores the need to think beyond traditional Industry Clusters and be open to identifying emerging sectors that may still require definition.

The City of Providence is an example of many communities throughout the country, especially in the Midwest, Northeast and New England, where economies that once were led by industrial dominance are still searching for the right mix of legacy and emerging businesses and organizations to regain strength. While finding an easy strategy to replicate in these communities remains elusive if not impossible, I offer 3 ingredients that must exist in order to advance an approach that embraces Market Opportunities.
Continue reading “Three Ingredients to Support Market Opportunities – Moving Beyond Industry Clusters”

Water Economy Network to Host National EPA Water Technology Innovation Cluster Leaders Meeting

Watter-EPAFourth Economy continues to be involved in developing and implementing cluster strategies that move beyond the data, focusing more on tangible marketing opportunities for regions across the country.  Once identified, regions can bring together common industry partners to solve challenges and help grow their respective markets – all of which helps to distinguish and add value to a particular region or community. Continue reading “Water Economy Network to Host National EPA Water Technology Innovation Cluster Leaders Meeting”

Reshaping the Coast Line of Economic Development

130826-Fewer-CarsAs we approach our third birthday here at Fourth Economy, changing out our onesies and temper tantrums for improved socialization skills and smaller adult looking clothes, we thought it a good time to write a reflection piece.  What have we learned in the last three years? What are some big trends – Changes on the horizon?  You get the idea.

Well from my perspective there is one biggy that may just top them all.  If it were a tsunami, the water by now would appear deeply retreated with folks running in the opposite direction.  It is the Millennial Generation, Gen “Y”, the hipsters.  Those Pabst Blue Ribbon sipping cool kids those of us in our 40s both envy and disdain for all their social networking skills and apparent easy-going ways (or maybe that’s just me). Continue reading “Reshaping the Coast Line of Economic Development”

Fourth Economy’s Law of Economic Development

As we continue to move forward in restructuring our economy from the great recession, it is important to understand the phases of economic development in the U.S.  This infographic illustrates how the pace of economic development has continually accelerated since the beginning of economic growth in the country.

In the early days development was driven by raw material extraction.  Communities sprung up as wood, ore, silver, limestone and other materials were dug up or harvested and sent off to markets.  From the 1850’s to the 1910’s economic development was driven by increased manufacturing activity.  Communities formed near plants and at time the factories  even built the communities for their workforce.  Continue reading “Fourth Economy’s Law of Economic Development”

Reflections of a Millennial: What’s wrong with balance?

As a Millennial, I find it interesting to read articles written about “us” by people outside our generation. Everyone is trying to figure out what my generation will do so they can cater to our wants and desires. Good luck! There are more than 45 million of us and we are the most diverse generation in history. Yes, we share some similar attributes and experiences (we consume much more technology than past generations, for instance) but I think it unwise to attempt to cater to us as if we are a homogenous group.

Continue reading “Reflections of a Millennial: What’s wrong with balance?”

4 Key Factors Influencing Investment Choices: Think Big, Plan Small, Team Up

Small towns are hot. They’re hip. They’re attracting investment. Am I crazy? Don’t think so and here’s why. Large urban centers and small towns have more in common than you may first think. Big cities are really a mosaic of small towns (neighborhoods) that share a common economic market. That is certainly true of Pittsburgh, my hometown, with more than 50 distinct and colorful neighborhoods comprising the whole. Some of these neighborhoods may be doing better than others no doubt, but by most accounts a growing love and resident attachment to them continues to grow. Continue reading “4 Key Factors Influencing Investment Choices: Think Big, Plan Small, Team Up”

Innovation Networks and Economic Growth

Here at Fourth Economy, we’re always looking for opportunities to identify and build upon local assets. This often takes the form of bringing together various stakeholders to advance specific technologies and sectors. We’re currently working on building more robust sectors around both energy and water here in the greater Pittsburgh region and beyond. Even though this work is challenging, a dense network of universities, technology intermediaries, economic development partners, and private sector businesses aids our work. But what happens when you leave the “big city” and those players are spread further across a region?

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Regional Collaboration Beyond the Press Release: The TechBelt Model

Download a PDF of this Article: Regional Collaboration Beyond the Press Release – The TechBelt Model Collaboration is a contact sport. “Regional collaboration” has long been a somewhat idyllic phrase within technology-based economic development circles. Beyond the websites and trade show booths, its rare to find “collaboration” expressed in an every day operating plan. Geography, municipal boundaries, political districts and competing organizations provide real challenges for regional initiatives to find and sustain common ground. With the announcement of the Federal Regional Innovation Cluster (RICs) initiative in March of 2010, those barriers are becoming more transparent. That initiative defined RICs as “geographically-bounded and active networks of similar, synergistic or complementary organizations which leverage their region’s unique competitive strengths to create jobs and broader prosperity.” Since its launch, the RIC initiative has established several programs such as the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator, the Energy Regional Innovation Cluster and the I6 Green Challenge, all of which leverage technical resources and financial incentives to help formalize networks and link key assets in tangible and responsive ways. Continue reading “Regional Collaboration Beyond the Press Release: The TechBelt Model”