Arkansas State University


Markham Howe
Sara McNeil
Gina Bowman

(870) 972-3056
fax (870) 972-3693

More information:

Links to News Releases
& Announcements

Campus Calendar
Public activities at ASU

About ASU
Overview, history
and more

ASU receives more than $1.75 million from U.S. Department of Commerce

April 17, 2009 -- Arkansas State University received a shot in the arm Friday, April 17, when U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke made a trip to Arkansas to announce that a grant for $1,750,500 has been awarded to ASU’s Arkansas Biosciences Institute (ABI). The presentation ceremony was held at 10:30 a.m. in the University of Arkansas-Little Rock’s Reynolds Center, 2801 S. University Avenue.

The grant, provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, was presented to ASU Chancellor Robert L. Potts and executive director of the ABI Dr. Carole Cramer, whose vision for ABI included this business incubator facility. The EDA grant goes toward completion of the Arkansas State Biosciences Institute Commercial Innovation Center (ABI-COM) business incubator and is part of the grant funding to assist the economic recovery effort in Arkansas following severe storms, flooding and tornados that occurred in 2008, for regional economic development.

From left, Mark Young, Dr. Carole Cramer, Harold Perrin, Dr. David Radin, Alan McVey, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, Dr. Robert L. Potts, and Dr. Len Frey gather at the presentation ceremony of $1.75 million to the Arkansas Biosciences Institute.

As Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke noted during the presentation ceremony, “Growing technology-focused small businesses is the key to long-term prosperity for the region,” and he described the role of ABI-COM, saying “The Center will serve as a tech-business incubator. At full capacity, this facility will contain space for 12 labs with accompanying office space and will play an integral role in the development of higher-skilled, higher-wage technology jobs in northeast Arkansas. This facility will also coordinate with the Delta Center for Economic Development to assist rural leaders in areas impacted by recent natural disasters.”

Locke recognized Dr. Robert Potts, chancellor of ASU-Jonesboro, during the ceremony, saying, “Dr. Potts, thank you for all your work in higher education and for joining us today on behalf of ASU.”

“ASU-Jonesboro is very pleased today to accept this investment presented by Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. Secretary Locke and his team are working hard to promote economic development in America, and we appreciate his support for innovative projects such as the ABI-COM proposal at ASU-Jonesboro,” said Chancellor Potts. “Also, we appreciate Economic Development Administration Regional Director Pedro Garza and his staff for their confidence in ASU’s role in the economic future of Arkansas, and for their help to seek this grant.

“We are also grateful to Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and Congressman Marion Berry for their efforts to support the creation of this commercial innovation center in the Arkansas Biosciences Institute on our campus.”

Chancellor Potts, along with Dr. Cramer, Dr. David Radin (Commercial Innovation Director at ABI), Alan McVey (executive director of the Delta Center for Economic Development), Dr. Michael Dockter (associate vice chancellor for Research and Technology Transfer), Dr. Greg Phillips (dean, College of Agriculture and Technology), and Mark Young (President and CEO Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce), proposed the incubator (ABI-COM) project to Arkansas Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and Congressman Marion Berry. The long-term goal is to enhance the health and well being of Arkansans.

“This is great!  ABI-COM is a high-tech business incubator. It nurtures start-up companies and attracts new businesses. ABI researchers are making discoveries that could impact agriculture, renewable resources and human health,” said Dr. Cramer. “The ABI-COM really enables Arkansas to directly benefit from its investment of Tobacco Settlement funds in the Arkansas Biosciences Institute.

“Whether it is plants that can clean up toxins, materials that teach damaged nerve cells how to regrow, chemical-sniffing sensors, or systems to ‘grow’ anti-aging plant chemicals and enzymes needed for bioenergy, there is a lot of exciting science happening in ABI,” continued Dr. Cramer. “EDA’s investment in the ABI-COM business incubator is really important for translating these discoveries into products and businesses that impact our agriculture, health and economy.”

The tech-centered business incubator will aid in moving new technologies and scientific knowledge developed at ASU and private sector companies into practical products and services that will directly benefit the health and welfare of the citizens of Arkansas and the nation. The ABI-COM technology business incubator will develop and offer a wide range of business and technical development facilities to its clients. The program will be located on the ground floor of the ABI building.

Dr. Cramer noted that the Economic Development Administration’s investment in ABI-COM fosters a long-term vision of promoting regional knowledge-based economic development, puts ASU research and discovery to work.These resources will train regional talent and build intellectual capital, attracting and growing new companies.

“ASU officials in the Delta Center for Economic Development, the College of Business and ABI recognize the long-term economic future of Arkansas is enhanced not just by creating a job but more significantly through the creation and expansion of research and technology-based companies in our area,” Chancellor Potts continued. “The jobs created by these companies have the potential to provide a significant boost to the economic development of this entire region of the state. As a research institution, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro will continue to aggressively pursue new opportunities for powering transformational change to our regional economy. This is a major step toward that goal.”




  NewsPage:  |  Back to TOP  |