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Online Training Course: Technology-led Economic Development

Date: January 14 - 15, 2021

Time: 10:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET

Location: Online


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This technical course focuses on the competitive advantage of regions and the role of economic developers and community stakeholders in building an innovation ecosystem. It is important to understand the process of technological commercialization. In this course participants will be introduced to the legal and financial framework for bringing innovation to market, including technology protection and product licensing. Learn how to partner with government, industry, higher education, and the private sector to create a highly integrated network of technology and innovation. Multiple case studies will be presented to explain the role of business incubators, accelerators, venture capital, angel networks, gap financing, and more.


Course Highlights:

• Forming strategic alliances and technology clusters 
• Building partnerships with higher education and technology councils 
• Understanding technology transfer and commercialization 
• Reviewing patent, copyright, trademark, and licensing terms 
• Developing incubators, accelerators, and research parks 
• Developing multiple financing mechanisms for technology businesses 
• Debt vs. equity financing options for entrepreneurs and small businesses 
• Rural technology-led economic development strategies


January 14




Introduction to Technology-Led Economic Development
This session sets the context for the rest of the agenda topics. It will begin with definitions that describe the dynamics of the Global Knowledge Economy and why what we face for the future is not the same as the recent past. Questions to be discussed will include: What is technology? What is a technology company? What are the significant changes in economic dynamics that we need to take into account in economic development? What major changes does all of this imply for economic developers and for regional economic strategies?


How Incubators/Accelerators can evolve into the place for all things entrepreneurial, and how the development of a regional innovation system supports the growth of technology and entrepreneurship
For several years, economic developers and universities have focused on technology transfer. We now know that the process of creating successful technology entrepreneurship and clusters is more complex. It depends upon a whole "system" of resources - all working together. Many of the pieces include connecting research institutions with communities to foster critical entrepreneurial business skills, networking and financing opportunities. There will be discussion of how the pieces work together to create the right environment in which technology companies grow and thrive.


Case Study (Incubator/Research Park Focus)
This session will highlight a few tested incubation models for innovation, education, and economic development that have been applied around the world. Specifically, course participants will learn about innovation-centered economic and business development models and how EDOs can work with local and regional research facilities to facilitate job creation.


Lunch on your own


From Idea to Marketplace - Knowledge Management Processes
Technology transfer and commercialization of intellectual property is one of the most difficult things for universities do well. Some universities have "cracked the code," and others still flounder. What differentiates the successful from the others? Those that have "cracked the code," in most instances have created a regional system of resources, working in concert towards a common goal. Session will discuss how the various components can create a synergy leading to technology cluster development in which entrepreneurial companies grow and thrive.


Engaged Research Institutions - at the Heart of TLED Strategies
In this session, the participants will explore in greater depth all the ways in which community colleges, universities, medical and other research institutions are playing (or should play) critical roles in any regional TLED strategy. This session will also address the issue of what to do in the absence of these types of institutions.


January 15


Tech-led Strategies for Rural Economies
Rural-based economic developers can assist tech-based businesses by fostering strong networks of business service providers, improving telecommunications infrastructure and by helping local firms access the most recent innovations in technology to help grow their businesses. This session will cover practical strategies that rural EDOs can implement to create a robust technology-based economic development plan.


Financing and Equity Options for Tech-based Businesses
There are many viable options for tech-based businesses to acquire small business development funding such as commercial banks, angel investors and SBTDC programs. This session will help practitioners better understand the diverse set of funding sources available. Also, this session will improve the practitioners understanding of what lenders and angel investors are typically looking for in a start-up venture.


Lunch on your own


The Knowledge Workforce
We know that one of the hugely important factors to tech companies, when they decide where to be, is the availability of a suitably skilled local workforce. Indeed, focus on workforce strategies has become an important part of the economic developer's job. In this session, we will address how to strategize for bringing together local/regional resources (K-12, WDBs, Colleges, etc.) to be sure that your region can market its high-skilled workforce for tech companies.


Defining Local/Regional Capacities and Industry Clusters, to Create a Tech-Led Market Strategy
Once participants and a process are defined, the next step is to assess local/regional capacities and the assets on which to base a TLED strategy. This session will review basic SWOT analysis, including economic assessment. It will address assessment of education and workforce assets and requirements. It also will describe how to analyze existing industry base and define present and targeted clusters for market strategy.


Putting it All Together
Now that you have heard about the pieces, how do you put it all together? This session will summarize the information covered in the course, provide a few mini case studies, and engage participants in discussing how they would apply what they have learned in their regions.


Wrap-up and Certificates


* Agenda subject to change

**PLEASE NOTE: In order to receive full IEDC certification credit for this course and a certificate indicating course completion, participants must attend the entire course and stay through the final session on the last day. Please make travel plans accordingly.**



Carol Lauffer
Business Cluster Development
Palo Alto, CA

As Principal and owner of Business Cluster Development (BCD), Carol has helped more than 80 communities, universities and corporations across the U.S. to plan and deploy successful strategies and programs that support entrepreneurship, create new businesses, move innovative products to market, and build strong ecosystems and clusters, resulting in economic diversification, job creation, technology commercialization, and economic growth. Carol has hands-on experience with a range of entrepreneurial support programs, including accelerators, incubators, coworking, maker spaces, and various hybrids. She has significant expertise in cluster-based entrepreneurial support programs and strategies. Prior to BCD, Carol was Managing Director of Panasonic’s corporate, venture-backed incubator in Cupertino, California and a Principal in its $100 million venture fund. She managed an organization in San Jose, California that helped software entrepreneurs to start their businesses and connect with investors and experts, and early in her career, managed business assistance programs for the Ben Franklin Partnership in Philadelphia. Carol has 30+ years of experience supporting entrepreneurship and small business, and economic development. In addition, she has served on the management teams and advisory boards of several incubators. As a dedicated member of the industry, Carol served on the board of the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), holding the post of Chair of the Board of Directors of InBIA in 2010-11. Currently, she serves on the board of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Carol is a course instructor for both organizations’ professional development programs, and a frequent speaker on best practices for entrepreneurial support organizations, ecosystem assessment and development, and targeting technology clusters and other verticals for economic development. In April 2015, InBIA honored Carol with the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement, recognizing her significant contributions to the association and the industry. Carol earned a Master of City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from Northwestern University. She is a travel enthusiast with visits to more than 50 countries across 6 continents, and 46 states.

Robert Okabe
Venture Development Principal
University of Chicago
Chicago, IL

As Venture Development Principal at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Bob Okabe is responsible for leading efforts to develop and grow startup companies based on UChicago research technologies. His initial engagement with startups came when he made his first angel investment in 1994 and has invested in a total of sixteen early-stage companies. Bob helped manage the first large angel investor network in Chicago, was a co-manager of an angel investor fund, and has assisted in the formation of two other investor networks. Bob also supports startup investing globally and has spoken on the topic in the UK, Mexico, Russia, Canada, Turkey, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia. As a partner in RPX Group LLC for fifteen years, he led the firm’s efforts to commercialize innovative technologies from six Universities, two National Laboratories, three S&P 500 companies and a Fortune 100 Global firm. His corporate career includes twelve years as an investment banker, participating in debt, equity, M&A, and advisory assignments. Mr. Okabe began his business career spending nearly six years in financial management at General Electric. After leaving GE, he was a senior bond analyst for Moody’s Investors Service for two years. He was also previously a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Illinois College of Business and has lectured at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Bob was awarded his Bachelor of Science in Finance and Organizational Behavior from Boston University’s School of Management.



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This course meets the professional development requirements for the Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) exam. CEcDs earn recertification credits for participation.




By Dec 4

Dec 5 - Jan 1

After Jan 1

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Refunds less a $75 cancellation fee will be issued for all cancellations received in writing to fax: (202) 223-4745 or email: prodev@iedconline.org at least 10 business days prior to the course - please allow 3-4 weeks. All registrations regardless of payment status are subject to the $75 cancellation fee. No refunds or credit transfers to a future course will be issued for cancellations received within 10 business days of the course. Telephone cancellations are not accepted. Attendee substitutions for a course may be made at any time prior to the course.