Reflection on the IEDC Annual Conference: Day Two

This week, I’m sharing my experiences from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) 2010 Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

Day 2:

It was a gloomy start with temperatures around 60 and rain but my morning tour of Technology and Higher Education really stood out in the trip. We toured the Ohio Supercomputer Center, TechColumbus, and the Dublin Entrepreneurial Center (DEC). All three locations were very unique in their infrastructure and mission. TechColumbus leverages the assets of The Ohio State University, the Battelle, and the Columbus Research Institute to support and provide resources critical to emerging technology businesses. This was a nice tour to compare with our own incubators and business accelerator services. The DEC resulted from the city of Dublin’s vision of a vacant building being a hub of entrepreneur activity. The space was first class at a rate that a start-up can afford. The city definitely has a long-term plan in place for the rapid growth they are experiencing.

Throughout the tour one attraction item became very obvious, FIBER! With the A2Fiber initiative active in Ann Arbor, it was very eye opening to see that Dublin is utilizing dark fiber (unused optical fiber) in their community. Dublin owns the conduit and fiber that has allowed them to attract hundreds of jobs from a hospital and health system project.

The day continued with sessions on: The KISS Approach to BRE, Leveraging the Job Creation Power of High-Growth Firms, Partnering to Meet University and Community Real Estate Development Needs and of course lots more networking!

Three Companies Receive Michigan Microloan Funding

Three Michigan companies recently received a combined total of $104,000 through the Michigan Microloan Fund Program.  This brings the total amount invested through the Fund to over $1.3 million. Terra-Telesis, KnowledgeWatch, and uwemp received the funding to support commercialization of their core products.

Terra-Telesis is based in Okemos and received Microloan funding for the commercialization of emerging technology based on its unique low profile, vertical axis wind turbine.  This core technology is being used to create a new innovation for use in airport facilities that will significantly decrease and in some cases eliminate their dependence on power from fossil fuels.  Based in Ann Arbor, KnowledgeWatch will use the microloan funding to support commercialization of its automated online knowledge product.  KnowledgeWatch tracks and harvests multiple information sources to deliver one page, convenient, custom, intuitive, real-time news digests for knowledge workers and decision makers.  Also based in Ann Arbor, uwemp is an educational software company.  Microloan funding will support commercialization of uwemp’s Confidence-Based Learning, its co-developed and licensed patented web-based learning engine.  Confidence-Based Learning offers students engaging and relevant curricula and programs to equip them with the necessary skills to succeed in today’s competitive economy.