CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to support the development of the technology industry in Illinois and create jobs. Senate Bill 107 strengthens Illinois’ position to attract technology-based businesses by boosting the state's investment in them. The new law was one of the Governor’s priorities during the spring legislative session, and it represents a major component of his aggressive agenda to support emerging technologies in Illinois, creating the jobs of today and tomorrow.
“Creating jobs throughout Illinois is one of my top priorities, and targeted investments in the technology industry will create jobs today while strengthening our role in the global economy of tomorrow,” Governor Quinn said. “This important new law allows us to invest in the companies that invest in Illinois, creating high-paying jobs for our skilled workforce.”
Senate Bill 107, sponsored by Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) and Rep. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), allows the state to build upon the success of its Technology Development Account (TDA I). The TDA I allowed the state to invest up to 1 percent of its investment portfolio in venture capital firms that invest in technology-based businesses – those providing computer, IT, laboratory or experimental services and products – that are interested in locating or expanding in Illinois.
The new law allows the state to invest up to 2 percent of its portfolio in venture capital firms. This allows to state to invest an estimated $150 million into venture capital funds, generating an estimated $300 million of venture capital investment into Illinois companies. Companies may use the funding for activities such as research and development, marketing new products and workforce expansion.
“The highest priority in Illinois is putting people back to work,” Sen. Kotowski said. “Senate Bill 107 will help create a healthy business climate that ensures economic vitality and spurs job growth. Encouraging the development of innovative Illinois-based businesses will truly benefit our state. I have been pushing for this legislation for the last three years because I believe these businesses can lead to a stronger Illinois economy.”
“I am proud to be the Chief House Sponsor of Senate Bill 107,” Rep. Biss said. “It is not often that we have the opportunity to pass legislation which simultaneously earns money for the taxpayers and creates good high wage jobs. But this legislation does just that by creating an excellent investment opportunity for the state, while filling a critical venture capital gap that will allow Illinois entrepreneurs to start successful high-tech businesses.”
According to the Illinois Venture Capital Association, the state’s investments into Illinois venture capital firms under the original TDA I, starting in 2002, allowed those firms to invest $115 million in 37 Illinois companies. That in turn attracted more than $450 million in additional private investment. Companies that received TDA I investments created approximately 1,200 direct jobs and around 2,700 indirect jobs in Illinois.
Governor Quinn today also signed legislation that builds upon his commitment to supporting Illinois’ technology-focused entrepreneurs. House Bill 1876, sponsored by House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) creates the Higher Education Technology Entrepreneur Center Act. The law enables the board of trustees at the state’s public universities and community colleges to start a technology entrepreneur center. The centers must provide students with the resources to allow them to develop innovative concepts into goods or services they can market. The new law builds on a successful program that was established at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“It is so important to encourage entrepreneurs and innovation in our state,” Rep. Cross said. “We have to constantly be working on legislation that will help our residents explore, cultivate and invent ideas that will grow new businesses and jobs in Illinois.”
Both new laws go into effect immediately.
Today’s bill signing ceremony took place at Chicago TechWeek 2011, a week-long conference and trade show that celebrates the technology, web and interactive communities. The event gathers 2,000 entrepreneurs, business leaders and innovators from across the nation to connect with the latest web and mobile technologies.
© Illinois Science and Technology Coalition
Illustration by Dieter Braun