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Dvorak: Index shows state has room for improvement

By By Fredie Carmichael/staff writer
Feb. 19, 2002
The chief executive officer of the Mississippi Technology Alliance said Monday that a new, recently-published index could help the state fight mounting fiscal problems.
Angeline Dvorak said her agency's first-ever "Mississippi Innovation Index" will give leaders a better idea of the state's science and technology-based economic development.
Dvorak visited Meridian to promote the index and explain it in detail to business and civic leaders. Last week, Dvorak visited Greenville; she still plans to visit Tupelo and Hattiesburg.
The Mississippi Technology Alliance is a nonprofit organization the Legislature created in 1998. Lawmakers gave the alliance $1 million in funding last year.
The 70-page-long Mississippi Innovation Index will track 24 indicators, such as technology business development, technology workforce development and high tech employment trends.
The report took six months to compile.
Dvorak said the initial results indicate that several areas need immediate improvement including the availability of investment capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Dvorak also said research development is another area that needs improvement. She said the state lacks a pool of resources for research development.
Next year, she said, business, industry and elected leaders will be able to compare and contrast results in this year's report with those in the second annual report in January 2003.
The first-ever report, she said, will serve as the initial benchmark for the index.