Sunday, November 09, 2008

also (see pages 23 & 18)
(edited for links added above)

(...or is that the Tech of “State”?)

What IS this ESTECH effort anyway?

ESTECH (Eagle-Star TECHnology corridor project) is a broad, rich partnership to support economic development that is largely technology-based and extraordinarily entrepreneurial. Physically, the corridor follows an axis that corresponds to State Street from west Boise all the way out to Star. (Most corridors end up looking more like an amoeba but it is important to carefully define what the corridor is... and isn't.)

ESTECH has been years in gestation as certain people like Chamber chief Teri Bath noticed that (1) the Eagle area needed to become more entrepreneurial, (2) there was already a budding tech community here and (3) it would be vitally important to partner with neighboring communities, especially Star.

At every meeting of economic developers (like IEDA) Teri would ask me “Norris, we need to get more entrepreneurial – you'll help us, won't you?” I don't know who else she pestered, but hearing that made me smile. My response was “Just. Do. Something.” Professionally, I travel all over and talk to communities and universities about how to become more entrepreneurial and they ALL say this. Eagle-Star stepped up. Big time.

I got involved with an effort that centered on building upon the existing base of tech entrepreneurs. The most notable example was, of course, Ugobe and CalebChung's remarkable Pleo. Rosemary Regner of Ugobe ally, R-Squared Digital Media took the lead with John Sosoka from Ugobe and other volunteers like Julie Howard & Brian Dickens from the Idaho Commerce Department.

Meanwhile, a second group focused on the physical development issues, led by the irrepressible Lloyd Mahaffey, retired tech executive and entrepreneurial vintner, and what turned out to be the lovely surprise of participation by mayors Phil Bandy & Nate Mitchell (along with both cities' economic developers and chambers of commerce) plus local legislators like Mike Moyle, Raul Labrador and Chuck Winder.

ESTECH is now essentially one group with four key committees (Business Development, Real Estate & Infrastructure, Entrepreneurship, Marketing & Communication) planning the next few month's efforts and attracted still more top talents like Mary May, Curt Rideout, Bob Bruce and more!

Why Should You Care?

First, all sorts of projects are moving forward, despite our extravagant budget of $0.00. First up is a monthly “science cafe” to share the latest cool science with our friends and neighbors. Next up is a regular “open mike” night for local ventures. (If you only knew what entrepreneurial potential is already bubbling up.... and just wait till we start encouraging it!)

Ugobe's move “home” is just the start of more exciting people and companies heading to the Treasure Valley. (This is good for all Idaho, not just here.) As the synthetic life forms industry grows, Eagle-Star is uniquely positioned to be its epicenter! (Did I mention our international conference on synthetic life forms next August?)

Second, there is still ample opportunity to join the fun! Part of thinking like an entrepreneur is recognizing we're all in this together. Want to help? Contact Teri Bath ( or me. Believe me when I say that ESTECH is doing the right things the right way and for the right reasons.


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