Monday, October 19, 2009

Let's Take a Look at the Life Science Industry

Welcome to the final installment in our entrepreneurship series. Today, I’ll show you how our case study states, North Carolina, Minnesota, and Kansas stack up in terms of entrepreneurial and economic development indicators.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s difficult to compare these states on their programs alone, so we have to use economic indicators to gain a better picture of where each state stands. I’ll show you three indicators:

Research funding—remember the importance of research funding as the beginning of the economic development pipeline?
Venture capital funds—VC is the one of the sources of financing available to help entrepreneurs start a new business.
Number of life sciences jobs—"jobs, jobs, jobs, it’s all about the job." We’ve heard that plenty of times before. Remember, these are high-paying jobs.

OK, let's take a look . . .

Research funding
You'll notice North Carolina is significantly ahead of Minnesota and Kansas in terms of attracting NIH dollars. Granted, NC has a larger population than MN and KS , but look at the positive slope of NC compared to the rest!! North Carolina has shown significant growth over the past decade.

Even more interesting is the significant drop in North Carolina's research funds between 2007 and 2008. This is because NIH has not released number for 2008's R&D contracts, of which a significant amount go to industry. Add those grants in and North Carolina stays on track for growth.
Venture capital funds
This figure goes to show how sporadic (and unreliable) venture capital is. Up one year, down the next, up, down, up, down . . . . You can't be on it. This is why those sources of public finance that I mentioned earlier as so important. Also look at the spike for Kansas in 2007. This was the first spike Kansas has seen, and it happened after the Kansas Economic Growth Act had be implemented.

Number of life sciences jobs
Finally, jobs, jobs, job. In terms of life science employment as a percentage of total population, these three states are actually pretty comparable. The differences come in terms of actual number. It takes a significant number of business in North Carolina, for example, to account the additional 13,000 life sciences jobs it has over Kansas.

So now that you are an expert in everything and anything about entrepreneurship and the life sciences industry, what do you do with all this information? Here are a few key take-aways:

I hope this series have been helpful and enlightening. Thanks for reading!

This is Part 8 of 8 in our Entrepreneurship series.
Part 1 - Science and Entrepreneurship: An Introduction
Part 2 - It's All About the Ideas (and Money)
Part 3 - Financing a New Business in the Life Sciences
Part 4 - Leading Life Science States
Part 5 - Life Sciences in North Carolina
Part 6 - Life Sciences in Minnesota
Part 7 - Life Sciences in Kansas
Part 8 - Life Science Industry Overall

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