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Texas Innovates, Attracts Technology

The Innovate Texas Foundation got started this week in Austin to serve as an umbrella organization that will help Texas compete with other states attracting technology companies.

The nonprofit group that recently received funding from the state, is designed to be a type of clearinghouse for tech businesses considering the Lone Star State as a location. The initiative is expected to enable Texas to continue its shift beyond an oil-, gas- and agriculture-based economy, Executive Director David Nance said.

“We want to help create more high-value jobs,” he said. “The way to do that is to unlock our huge intellectual wealth.”

The foundation, which is operating with three full-time employees, was founded in 2008 as the Texas Technology Commercial Foundation. It received a $975,000 grant from the Texas Workforce Commission in January.

Innovate Texas wants to consolidate resources and serve as a statewide chamber of commerce combined with an economic development commission. It will operate with 12-14 committees such as aerospace and defense or capital and finance. The committees will be comprised of 12-14 members apiece, Nance said.

Innovate Texas is the latest in a series of initiatives recently launched to promote business in Texas.

State Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin, chairman of the technology, economic development and workforce committees, said Innovate Texas will be part of an effort to consolidate its competitive advantages in economic development.

Austin attorney Pike Powers is chairman of the foundation’s renewable and alternative energy committee.

Powers, who also leads the Texas Technology Initiative, said states such as Utah, Pennsylvania and New York have similar statewide initiatives designed to help prospective companies “connect the dots that need to be connected” when considering locations.

“I just think that in Texas, competition requires a competitive response,” he said.

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