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AURP CEO Blog Posts - 04.24.2020

A couple of stories caught my interest among the flood of information about the Covid-19 pandemic, especially new developments in public policy.
State budgets are being impacted in critical ways and financial support for economic development organizations, venture programs, higher education and other partners in building communities of innovation will be drastically reduced. The Urban Institute has created a 50-state Economy Monitor that tracks state budgets and has other timely information. See, Urban Institute State Economy Monitor.
This week, Congress passed its expansion of the CARES Act, including replenishing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Note however, that the US Treasury Department has new guidance that applicants must ‘be prepared to demonstrate to SBA, upon request,’ the basis for a certification that the loan was ‘necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant’ and if an applicant cannot defend making this certification the PPP loan much be repaid in full by May 7, 2020. This is a significant requirement that PPP loans must be used to sustain ongoing operations and if you have tenants or other applicants considering applying for PPP loans, they should be made aware of the enhanced certification requirement.
AURP is a member of the Innovation Advocacy Council (IAC), supported by the State Science and Technology Institute (SSTI). The IAC sent a letter to congressional leadership outlining actions to support tech led economic recovery. See summary below. Read full letter.

A platform to support science and entrepreneurship through the pandemic and beyond April 23, 2020, SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council has sent letters to congressional leadership outlining emergency actions needed to support tech- and innovation-driven businesses and recovery-focused programs to leverage American ingenuity for economic stimulus. The letters call for expanding SBA’s technical assistance to startups, leveraging EDA’s Build to Scale program, catalyzing new programs for equity investment and commercialization, and incorporating innovation into any infrastructure initiative.
Finally, consider making a donation to a charity of your choice, one that is responding locally in your community, to the Covid-19 pandemic. A little noticed provision of the CARES Act allows any taxpayer, including those that chose the standard deduction (which most taxpayers do now), to deduct up to $300 on their taxes as a charitable deduction. It is not much, and you can of course contribute more, but at least this is a small incentive to support the programs and individuals in your localities needing support.
Stay Safe and Strong.
Brian Darmody

CEO Blog-04.15.2020: CARES Act

CARES Act: It’s more than Paycheck Protection.
While many AURP members and tenants have been looking at the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in terms of SBA funds and loans, the US Economic Development Agency (EDA) received $1.5 billion in emergency funding for Economic Adjustment Assistance for areas declared disaster areas by the federal government. For the first time in history, all 50 states have been declared disaster areas so there should be opportunities in your community or region to attract EDA funding.
EDA Economic Adjustment Assistance funding is somewhat flexible and administered on a regional basis. Funds might be used for loans, construction and other economic development projects. In the past, several research parks and incubators have received funding from the EDA for planning, development and expansion. Details should be forthcoming from EDA on ways to apply for funding. Partnering with organizations in your region that have successfully applied for EDA funding in the past is one strategy to increase likelihood of success. Note also local matching requirements are usually necessary so plan for that eventuality.
Many federal research agencies have also received increases in base research budgets under the CARES Act, which should increase SBIR and STTR funding opportunities for your tenants since SBIR funding is based on percentage of an agency’s total research budget. So stay tuned for that when new proposals are issued later in the year.
Note that Congress has announced it will be in recess until May 4, meaning confirmation hearings, such as for the NSF director, are on hold until then. Coronavirus funding bills could be considered in the interim, but would require unanimous consent, which would be difficult to achieve. Unlike many of our parks and tenants, Congress has very few tools to operate remotely. Let’s hope they fix that at some point.
Meanwhile stay safe and connected.