SSTI Creating a Better Future Awards podcast series

May 4, 2017

Listen to our 2016 winners as they discuss their organization’s award-winning innovation economies initiatives and provide best practices that can help create a better future through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in your community. These free live podcasts will allow you to ask questions that are important to improving your professional and organizational efforts. This month, the free live podcast series will highlight:

Register today for any of the podcasts:

Share your story!

By submitting a 2017 SSTI Creating a Better Future Award application you can gain national recognition for your efforts to create a better future for your region! All you have to do is complete a brief, five-page application that helps our panel of expert judges determine if your efforts deserve to be recognized as one of the best in the country.

Deadline for applications and payment is May 26, 2017, by 5 p.m. ET.

To help you write an award-winning application and gain national recognition for your organization’s efforts, we have published several resources that are available at:


January 19, 2017

Columbus, OH – Celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Excellence in Technology Based Economic Development awards, SSTI today announced four winners driving prosperity in their states and regions through innovative approaches to growing their economies and creating high-paying jobs.

“As we reach this 10-year milestone of recognizing excellence in initiatives that are happening throughout the U.S., it is a good measure of the dedication and entrepreneurial spirit that exists in a dynamic economy,” said Dan Berglund, president and CEO of SSTI. “This year’s award winners are examples of strong initiatives that have been recognized by their peers as successful programs. They, in conjunction with past winners, serve as models for those working to encourage prosperity through science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Awards were presented today during a ceremony at SSTI’s Annual Conference in Columbus, OH, attended by more than 250 local, regional and national leaders in economic development from 43 states and three countries. The following initiatives were named 2016 recipients of SSTI’s Excellence in TBED award:

The Most Promising TBED Initiative: Digital Health Accelerator: University City Science Center, Philadelphia, PAUCSC

The University City Science Center, founded in 1963 as the nation’s first urban research park, provides business incubation, programming, lab and office facilities, and support services for entrepreneurs, startups, and growing and established companies. The Science Center’s Digital Health Accelerator (DHA) supports digital health companies ready to transition from research and development to sales. The program selects promising companies from around the world and provides them with funding, collaborative workspace, professional mentorship, and introductions to key healthcare stakeholders and investors in the Greater Philadelphia region. Since the program launched in 2015, 13 DHA companies have created close to 100 new jobs, generated $14 million in revenue and raised over $16 million in investments. Of the 13 companies that have participated in the DHA, five are minority-owned and four are female-owned.


Creating Prosperity Through Entrepreneurship & Capital: Georgia Research Alliance – GRA Venture Fund, LLCGRA

The Georgia Research Alliance created the GRA Venture Fund, LLC (GRAVF) in 2009 to provide critical seed-stage capital to companies emerging from the GRA Ventures Program. The GRAVF provides local investor oversight to assure out-of-state co-investors that companies can grow and prosper in Georgia. Since its inception, the GRAVF has raised over $45 million, and has invested $17.5 million in 11 companies. GRAVF’s investments have leveraged an additional $441 million from 10 in-state and 31 out-of-state co-investors and strategic partners. In all, GRAVF’s portfolio companies have annual revenues of $21 million and have created 526 high-value jobs.


Enhancing Prosperity Through Competitive Industries: Knowledge Based Economic Development, LLC – Knowledge Based Economic DevelopmentKBED

Knowledge Based Economic Development (KBED) is a unique partnership of civic, academic and private sector entities working together to support new and growing companies in Manhattan, Kansas. This integrated community economic development program seeks to attract companies to the community by leveraging the talent, innovation and training capabilities, and infrastructure available at Kansas State University. The KBED partnership is in its ninth year of operation. With over $32 million in economic impact to date and over 750 jobs created or secured, KBED is an asset for the Manhattan community.


Increasing Prosperity Through Economic Opportunity: Idaho National Laboratory – Idaho Rural PartnershipINL

Created in 2000, the Community Review program is the heart of the Idaho Rural Partnership (IRP). The program equips rural communities to build momentum by working with IRP economic development experts to identify assets and opportunities, prioritize economic and community development strategies, and attract available funding and resources. The program has completed 37 reviews in communities with populations ranging from 300 to 10,000 and, as a result, those communities have seen new business creation and subsequent job growth, opportunities for work-related education, attraction of grants or low-interest loans for infrastructure and other projects, and establishment of new planning initiatives or partnerships.

“This year’s award winners have achieved significant impacts through their respective programs,” Berglund said. “They showcase the positive impacts that can result when multiple parties can collaborate and build upon the assets of their existing strengths and resources. SSTI is happy to recognize their achievements.”

SSTI Excellence in TBED Awards Overview

June 2, 2016

SSTI – a national nonprofit organization that leads, supports, and strengthens efforts to improve state and regional economies through science, technology, and innovation –  is pleased to announce the 2016 Excellence in TBED Awards. The awards are designed to celebrate exceptional achievement in technology-based economic development (TBED).

To mark the 10th anniversary of the SSTI Excellence in TBED awards program, we have made some exciting changes to the categories. Since last year, we have combined some categories with the intent of better reflecting the ever-evolving field of tech-based economic development and added a new category to reflect burgeoning activity in a new area:

  • Most Promising TBED Initiative
  • Building Prosperity Through Science & Technology
  • Creating Prosperity Through Entrepreneurship & Capital
  • Enhancing Prosperity Through Competitive Industries
  • Increasing Prosperity Through Economic Opportunity

Learn More…

SSTI’s Excellence in TBED Awards program is designed to celebrate exceptional achievement in TBED as well as offer practitioners and policymakers examples of successful approaches that are being employed by others.


Any TBED program or practitioner is eligible to apply. This includes, but is not limited to, nonprofit organizations, local and state governments, colleges and universities, federal agencies and labs, industry associations, economic development councils, and other organizations that promote innovation and technology-based economic development.

While SSTI encourages its members to apply, you do not need to be a member of SSTI to enter or receive an award, and your membership status will not affect the judges’ evaluation of your application.

Awards will be presented only for exceptional achievement; therefore, SSTI reserves the right not to issue an award in a particular category if no applications are deemed as meeting the standards of the award.

Entry Guidelines

Each entry must include a completed registration form, cover page, narrative, and payment of entry fee. The narrative document must be typed on a maximum of five 8.5” by 11” pages using a minimum font size of 11 points. Many TBED initiatives can cross into multiple categories. Nominations can be submitted for more than one category; however, each entry is considered a separate nomination and requires a separate registration form, narrative, and application fee. It is up to the applicant to determine under which category the initiative they are nominating is competing; entries with no award category or multiple categories marked will not be considered. Applicants can win in only one category.

Selection Committee & Process

Each application will be reviewed by a committee of distinguished current and former practitioners with knowledge and experience within a given award category. Selection committee members are chosen each year by SSTI based on their experience, knowledge of the field, and accomplishments.

If no application in an award category achieves the level of excellence contemplated for the award, the committee may decide not to make an award in that category. The selection committee will determine winners, and decisions of that committee will be final. All applicants will be notified of their status when winners are announced.

How to Apply

Visit for complete instructions. Entries must be uploaded as a PDF or Word document. The entry may also be mailed along with payment to:

ATTENTION: Awards Entry Fee


5015 Pine Creek Drive

Westerville, OH 43081.


The brochure also includes:

Deadline for applications is 5 P.M. ET, July 8, 2016.

Submit your organization’s application, today!

Application Guideline

June 2, 2016

Application Guideline

The narrative template outlines specific information we are seeking for each entry.  While other information may be included, please answer the following questions.  Unless otherwise noted, the length of answers may vary, but the total submission should not exceed five pages.

Cover Page (mandatory):

  • Provide a cover page with the following information: name of organization, name of nominated initiative, contact name and title, and website address.

Project Overview:

  • Provide a brief abstract of the initiative including its purpose, description of what it does, and its impact. (Please limit to 250 words; for winning entries, this abstract may be used in press materials.)
  • Provide background on the context in which the initiative operates and why it was created. This should include information about the region the initiative serves (rural, mid-size metro, etc.), the region’s overall TBED activities, and other factors that provide a better understanding for the committee of the conditions under which the initiative operates. Describe how the initiative has been tailored to suit this context and how it has addressed market failures within the region.
  • The specific activities of the initiative must be clearly defined.

Best Practice Implications:

In this section of the narrative, applicants should address how lessons learned from this initiative can be applied to others.

  • What lessons have been learned in the implementation of this initiative?
  • How has this initiative helped to advance or been integrated with other
  • TBED or more traditional economic development efforts?


In this section of the narrative, each applicant should provide details about the impact of the initiative.

  • What metrics are used to measure the outcomes of or return on investment for the initiative?
  • What has been the impact to date, and how is that impact determined?
  • How are the results of the initiative communicated to key stakeholders, supporters and the public?

Innovation & Effectiveness:

In this section of the narrative, each applicant should address the following questions:

  • What innovative approaches were used in developing and implementing the initiative?
  • How does the initiative promote effective partnerships among relevant actors?
  • How will the initiative successfully complete its objectives?
  • What resources or key issues are needed for successful implementation?

Why You are the Best:

This is your final push! In no more than one paragraph, describe how your initiative is advancing the field of TBED and why your initiative should be selected.

Recommendations for Writing an Award Winning Application

June 2, 2016

The following guidelines have been developed in accordance with suggestions submitted by committee members who have previously judged the applications.  The judges strongly advise applicants to address these critical issues within their narratives.

  1. Tell us what you did.
  • Provide your definition of the problem you set out to address and your theory of change.
  • Provide a comprehensive description of what your initiative is and what it has accomplished.
  • Provide any available evidence of potential clients’ needs and priorities.
  1. Tell us how you do it.
  • Provide specific goals and objectives of your program: what are your qualitative measures, what qualitative data do you use to help support the goals and metrics?
  • Provide specific and detailed information on the services and activities of your initiative.
  • Provide information on the context: first describe the “whole” and then outline the “portion” that you have been able to affect.
  • Are you adjusting your approach to respond to the context?
  • On what basis are you targeting your efforts?
  1. Tell us how it is funded.
  • Provide information about initial funding and how you are planning for future sustainability.
  1. Tell us how it works.
  • Provide information on who does what within the organization and describe how your organization partners with others (this will help the judges determine leveraging of resources).
  1. Tell us why you should be recognized.
  • What distinguishes your program from others?
  • How well has your initiative succeeded? Provide information on how you have chosen to measure success and the results to date.
  • Make sure to carve out the results of the specific initiative from the overall results of the organization unless you are submitting the comprehensive work of the organization for an award.