Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Local Development Issues - Baton Rouge and L'Aquila

Today I was asked to make a presentation to a class in International Economics by Professor Lelio Iapadre. The seminar was attended by several professors, business leaders and students in International Economics, both graduate and undergraduate. I was able to meet Dr. Alessandro Tosoni, Analyst with the Banca D'Italia, at the seminar and will be visiting the leadership in the Banca D'Italia tomorrow for a meeting and lunch. I gave an overview of the Baton Rouge and Louisiana economy and the role of Louisiana State University in the economic development of the state and local community. I touched on the disasters, hurricanes and oil spill, and gave a detailed presentation on the Louisiana Business & Technology Center, the LSU South Research Park and other programs of the LBTC and LSU in disaster recovery. They were very interested in the university's role in both business incubation and economic development. The majority of incubators in Italy are not affiliated with universities and act very independent of academic institutions. A presentation followed mine, by the economic development officer from the Abruzzo Region who described three incubators operating in Abruzzo, 1. Mosciano, 2. Sulmona, 3. Avezzano but none in L'Aquila. The students asked if there was thoughts of opening one in L'Aquila, but the response was negative. It does appear that the university is very interested in establishing a "virtual incubator" in L'Aquila to stimulate entrepreneurship and to foster growth in the university spinoff companies. The addition of the 1,000,000 euro venture fund certainly will help develop the virtual incubator. I will be meeting with the administration over the next three weeks to provide information on how this can be done.

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