Governor Rick Perry today praised the creation of a public-private partnership that will harness the Texas based talent, creativity and resources at Houston's NASA Johnson Space Center into innovative technologies with groundbreaking implications for our daily lives. This partnership will play an integral role in keeping some of our nation's brightest minds in Texas, and preserving jobs that might otherwise be lost as a result of the ending of the constellation program. Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade announced the initiative at the Texas Governor's Small Business Forum: Aerospace Collaboration Opportunities event held at the JSC.
"Over the years, JSC and its private partners have developed a coveted pool of some of the most creative minds in engineering and space exploration in the world," Gov. Perry said. "These men and women, and the groundbreaking technology they have developed, are important resources for the Houston area and our state. We want to keep them here, and the opportunities created by this partnership will help link these men and women with innovative companies that can bring more technologies to market."
The state is awarding $500,000 to BayTech, a nonprofit advanced technology business consortium, to fund the Texas Innovation Program, which will help link highly trained aerospace workers with private sector partners to create new companies, expand existing companies, add jobs and keep working talent in Texas.
"The Texas Innovation Program will work to capitalize on Texas' talented workers to meet research and development demands, and will help some of the 3,000 workers transition their skills into creating new companies and products," Secretary Andrade said. "Entrepreneurs will be able to capitalize on JSC facilities and equipment to develop and commercialize new technologies."
Additionally, the state is awarding $250,000 from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) to the Houston Technology Center to create a Regional Center for Innovation and Commercialization (RCIC) at JSC to provide resources to the scientific entrepreneurial community in the Bay Area. Like others in the state, this RCIC will review and recommend projects to the TETF Advisory Committee for consideration for funding, and will offer entrepreneurs educational forums, coaching, mentoring, and introduction to capital investments and valuable network resources.
"This is a great opportunity for both the region and the state to generate new revenue streams using the skills and knowledge developed through this nation's human spaceflight program. Other industry clusters and academia will have the opportunity to work with the NASA Johnson Space Center, building partnerships founded on the innovation and technology of our space program," Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership President Bob Mitchell said. "We are thankful Gov. Perry recognizes the important role these kinds of strategic partnerships play in the economic future of Bay Area Houston and the State of Texas."
"The Gulf Coast RCIC and the Houston Technology Center recognize the integral role that the JSC community has in the technology and economic development future of the Gulf Coast region and Texas," Houston Technology Center President and CEO Walter Ulrich said. "The Houston Technology Center is pleased to see its role in the TETF program expanded to include this vital new emphasis and the opportunity to expand our mission of accelerating the growth of emerging technology and creating jobs in the Johnson Space Center area."
Governor's Small Business Forums are held across the Lone Star State, in collaboration with the Texas Workforce Commission, to help the Texas entrepreneur and Texas small business communities with the challenges in starting, operating and growing a business while illuminating the opportunities, tools and resources available. Forums provide access to valuable information on workforce development, training grants, expanding markets and other business growth opportunities. Through regional collaboration with hundreds of community, business and educational organizations throughout Texas, these forums are one more reason Texas is the top job creating state in the nation.