Imagine this … Pullman has been labeled a “hot bed of intellectual property” by the Washington Techonology Center. Pullman, Washington, in the heart of the Palouse.
In an Aug. 10 press release it was stated:
WTC’s 2005 Index of Innovation & Technology indicates Pullman’s strong performance in key technology economy measures, and that the region is ripe to cash in on this capital. The Index, an annual benchmark report on Washington’s performance, includes detailed data on 12 regions in the state, and evaluates them against critical drivers necessary to support a technology-driven economy. Pullman was one of two new communities added to the regional section of the Index this year.
Home to Washington State University, the state’s second largest academic research center, Pullman is a natural center for innovation. This region had the second highest rate of patent generation in the state. While Pullman’s total technology employment is small in absolute numbers (1,042 jobs), the region captured the top spot for technology employment growth (11 percent) and ranked fifth among 12 communities in tech jobs per capita. Approximately 7 percent of jobs in Pullman are in technology fields.
“Pullman is a ‘smart’ community,” says Tab Wilkins, Director of Regional & Technical Services for the Washington Technology Center. “With WSU at its core, it’s home to world-class researchers and has the benefit of the entrepreneurial culture that spins out of an academic community.”
This is evident in Pullman’s ability to attract federal funding. Pullman received the most Small Business Innovation Awards per capita of any region in the state. The region also scored high in human potential with the top high school graduation rate in the state (86 percent) and best math and science proficiency test scores.
The challenge for Pullman, Wilkins says, is keeping their technology and their talent in their community.
Creating an environment in Pullman where companies can start up and grow their operations would be a smart move towards keeping their innovation from going out to other communities. Another is to ensure the support structure is in place for young companies to start and grow. Private wealth is one example. Index data showed that Pullman didn’t register any private placements.
“Pullman has affordable housing, good quality of life and a readily available skilled workforce,” Wilkins says. ““By marketing these strengths, and continuing to cultivate a desirable business infrastructure, Pullman has high potential to build and sustain a local technology-driven economy,”
WTC’s Index also includes a profile of Washington’s strengths comparing to other U.S. states. Washington has traditionally scored well on a number of indicators which points to the state’s ability to sustain a technology economy. For the fifth year consecutive year, Washington claimed the top spot for new company creation. Patent activity remained strong. Over 1,400 technology patents were generated, an increase of 8 percent from the previous year. This number has continued to climb since the Index was first published in 2000. Other significant trends for Washington include: One in ten jobs today is within a technology industry; Eleven out of the 12 regions showed growth in at least one of their core technology industries; Software saw the highest increase in employment and national dominance since 1998; Venture Investment in Biotechnology nearly doubled, increasing from 8 to 15 percent.
The 2005 Washington Index of Innovation and Technology can be downloaded from WTC’s website at http://www.techindex.org or call 206-543-1023 for a printed copy of the report. The Index received sponsor support from the following partner organizations: Spokane Area EDC, INTEC, enterpriseSeattle, Kitsap Regional Economic Development Center, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
For more information visit us online at http://www.watechcenter.org or contact us at 206-685-1920.