Gov. Butch Otter’s Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM)--House Bill 546-- passed through a Senate committee hearing on Thursday with little fanfare and no controversy.
Everyone who testified favored the bill, saying the legislation would allow for Idaho to attract new jobs and become a competitor in the marketplace.
The bill, which would create IGEM and an accompanying grant fund, provides for an IGEM Council to administer the fund and advise state agencies and the governor on matters related to technology transfer and the commercialization of research with the goal of developing “high-quality jobs and new industries in the private sector in Idaho.” The IGEM Council would also “establish economic development objectives” for IGEM projects.
Jeff Sayer, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce, said "the essence of this (bill) is to bring technology that has taken years and significant amounts of investment into the marketplace where we can in fact create new companies and jobs. And, it is an excellent opportunity for our state."