The Oregon Business Plan emphasizes the 4 Ps - Promoting innovation,
People, Place, and Productivity - for knowledge-based economic development.
Oregonians believe that their state is a special place to live, and it is.
It has an array of beautiful natural resources from mountains to the ocean
to high desert and fertile farmlands. There is a large land base with relatively
few people, all friendly and helpful and who collaborate as a matter of
course. But in the competitive global market, it takes more than a great
place and special people to build and nurture a knowledge-based economy.
It requires that we develop partnerships among government, education and
industry to exploit our intellectual assets as well as we do our physical
Promoting Innovation: Oregon promotes a climate of innovation
by tapping into the intellectual assets of the universities and colleges
and into the immense intellectual assets at the Pacific Northwest National
Laboratory (PNNL). The state is part of the Northwest Research Triangle,
with over $1.2 billion in federally funded research, which attracts growing
companies to the region.
Several years ago the citizens of Oregon voted by a 77 percent approval
for a Constitutional amendment allowing for Oregon's public universities
to hold stock in companies that commercialize their technologies and ideas.
The campaign to convince the electorate of the value of the amendment to
the economy was a true collaboration among university, government, and company
Access to capital is also very important and often a problem for states
trying to improve their entrepreneurial climate. Available capital must
be targeted at very early stage ideas and small, niche-based, nimble companies.
Oregon has the Oregon Growth Account, Oregon Resource and Technology Development
Account (utilizing lottery funds), Oregon Investment Council's set-aside
of public retirement funds, and regional angel networks to support growth
of new knowledge-based companies.
People: A knowledge-based economy must have a skilled,
creative and flexible workforce. The Oregon Engineering and Technology Industry
Council and the provision of multi-year funding for the education of engineers
and computer scientists is helping to fill this need. The Oregon Governor
funded an information technology education and training effort, and has
begun an initiative on healthcare workforce preparation. Oregon's community
colleges partner with individual and groups of companies on tailored education
Place: Knowledge-based companies thrive where there are
opportunities for the exchange and transfer of knowledge and technologies
among companies, government agencies, and colleges and universities. Knowledge
has to flow in all directions with companies utilizing the ideas and discoveries
of the universities and research labs. Likewise universities work with companies
to spin out their inventions into the economy. The Oregon Science and Technology
Partnership (OSTP) has created "Knowledge Connection" to enhance
knowledge flow. OSTP, a not-for-profit government-university-industry partnership,
is dedicated to the economic expansion of the East Portland Metropolitan
region and serves as a voice for the region's economic assets and joins
government efforts to recruit new knowledge-based companies.
With the Knowledge Connection, OSTP partners with the area community
colleges and research universities to link companies with faculty and graduate
students. University resources are helping to solve specialized business
problems, improve products and processes, and commercialize ideas from laboratories
to the market. And further, OSTP frequently takes company, university, and
government executives on bus trips to visit the PNNL, helping to build collaborations
among companies and PNNL's scientists and engineers.
Productivity: To help improve productivity of companies in
the East Portland Metropolitan region, OSTP has recently spawned and incubated
the Pacific Northwest Defense Coalition (PNDC), a membership organization.
In just four months it has attracted 25 entrepreneurial companies interested
in growing the amount and efficiency of their defense work. PNDC's membership
is expected to grow to 50 companies by year's end and to include companies
from the states of Oregon and Washington. Federal delegates of the two states
and regional economic development agencies have recognized this unprecedented
OSTP is also focused on growing a healthcare cluster, including both
traded sector companies and non-traded provider organizations, to help increase
sector company revenues and improve healthcare resources for all regional
companies. And Oregon has developed its first signature research center,
the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnology Institute, to focus on applications
of nanoscience discoveries to microtechnology products.
Oregon is the epitome of its motto "We Try Harder". Its hard
work is now succeeding in building knowledge-based industries such as nanoscience
applied to microtechnology products, value-added natural resources, recreation
technology, nutraceuticals, green technology, renewable energy technologies,
smart transportation, and many others. Following the Business Plan's four
Ps, the state is realizing a critical mass of ideas, research, process and
product innovation, and education and training to support its knowledge-based