Bringing the Economy Home

Otter’s Plan To Stimulate Idaho’s Tech Economy Becomes Law

Adam Bartelmay / Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce

Gov. Otter signed HB 546 (IGEM) into law this afternoon

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has signed into law his plan to kick-start collaboration between university researchers and private industry.

Otter’s IGEM, the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission, spends $5 million to spur local innovation through research.  The plan sets aside $1 million in Idaho Department of Commerce grants for start-up businesses, $2 million for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies. Another $2 million will be split between Idaho’s three research universities.

[bill id=”H 546″ state=id session=”2012″ align=left]

The bill sailed through the legislature in just four weeks, passing both chambers virtually unopposed.  The Associated Press reported some Idaho lawmakers did express concern:

“Some lawmakers have worried Otter’s initiative, which is modeled after a Utah program, meddles too much in private industry.  Department of Commerce director Jeff Sayer says IGEM’s benefits may not be immediate, but he’s hopeful for its potential.” – AP

IGEM is modeled after a similarly-named program in Utah known as USTAR.  Although, in Utah, as NPR recently reported, the state invested $100 million into the project.

A quick Google search finds that Gov. Otter’s IGEM is not the only one out there.  iGEM (with a lowercase ‘i’) is also the acronym for an MIT spin-off non-profit based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their iGEM stands for the International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation.


About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »