Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano stressed in her State-of-the- State Address today that developing tech industries will be key to building the “new Arizona economy.” She outlined three actions that promise to advance the state’s biosciences sector.
Napolitano said she intends to sign an executive order this week to create the Governor’s Council on Technology and Innovation, a step she initially announced in December at the Governor’s Technology Summit. She also reaffirmed plans to seek an amendment to the Arizona Constitution to enable state universities to take equity positions in commercial endeavors. Finally, she pledged to work with the business community to improve efforts to attract greater capital.
Following is an excerpt from her speech:
“To achieve the economic renaissance I envision, our economy must be powered by innovation, and be driven by the entrepreneurs and tech-based businesses that will create the high-wage jobs and clean industries we seek. Three steps are key.
First, our public and private sectors must speak with one economic voice. To do this, I will sign an executive order this week creating the Governor’s Council on Technology and Innovation. It will focus on three areas: coordination of technology transfer from universities to the commercial sector, capital formation, and infrastructure development.
Second, it is time to remove the single biggest obstacle to smooth technology transfer from our university campuses to the commercial sector. Arizona’s constitution prohibits universities from forming or taking equity positions in commercial ventures, which slows down their efforts to convert research innovations into viable commercial applications. Competing states do not have this prohibition, and they enjoy greater success in luring tech start-ups.
I will submit to you a ballot referendum to repeal this article of Arizona’s constitution.
Third, we must do a better job at attracting capital for small and growing high tech businesses. They need this capital to grow their enterprises and create more high-paying jobs for an educated workforce. I will work with the business community to attract more development capital to Arizona, particularly for new companies.”
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