Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn today signed into law a bill creating the Technology Development Account II, which will use money from the state Treasurer investment pool to support technology companies.
Proponents say the new law will help attract venture capital and seed-stage funding for technology firms in the state, which would lead to job growth. In a report from the office of state Rep. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), Illinois came in last among leading technology states in the amount of seed capital raised in the state in 2009. Illinois raised $1.6 million in seed-stage funds compared with $737 million in California, the report said. Excluding seed funding, Illinois received $235.7 million in venture capital in 2009, compared with $8.5 billion in California, which led both lists.
If you look at the habits on the coasts, there is a very great degree of public segment investment and local venture investment particularly through the pension funds, Biss said in an earlier interview with SmallBizChicago.com. (See related story.) It creates a whole ecosystem that feeds on itself.”
Biss and others hope the Illinois legislation will start the ball rolling for technology funding and hopefully reverse the trend of startups exiting the state. When the startups leave for greener pastures, they take with them talent often was educated at Illinois universities.
To foster entrepreneurship among university students, Gov. Quinn also signed a law creating technology centers at state-run universities today, the Chicago Tribune reported. The centers will assist students with resources and mentors to help develop new businesses.
“We’ve got to really roll up our sleeves and use technology to create jobs for today and tomorrow,” Quinn said at a news conference at TechWeek, where he signed the legislation, the Tribune reported.
— Ann Meyer