50 Most Important
- Aug. 2 Mobile Couponing
- Aug. 2 Software
- Contact 31,000 black tech firms
- Coleman chairs two public tech firms
- Overland Storage cited for Made in USA products
- Army extends TeleCommunication Systems contract
- Dirigible deal targets carbon free uses
- Powertek wins prestigious Dept. of Defense contract
- Barner shapes intellectual property strategy
- Bolden gets Senate support for new design
- Create the supply chain with innovation, suggests business researcher
- TechSwag: Michael Hurst
- Bellamy leads game industry trade group
- Bayview native Eric Williams' innovations save lives around the globe
- Hamburg announces bio-innovation strategy
- Environmental justice rises as a policy priority
- Don't skip the hard subjects: Intellectual property expert Hampton
- TechSwag: Maj. Gen. Ed Bolton
- DB Consulting wins plaudits for health work here and abroad
- Clyburn brings inclusion perspective to FCC
- Powerhouse panel gives patent scoop
- Tose named to CTIA board
- TechSwag: Gerald and John Commissiong
- New rate boosts prospects for AMS proton centers
- America Invents Act: "a brand new day"
- Spears raises capital
- Sensory Acumen has the smell of innovation
- TechSwag: Joey Hutchins
High tech innovators offer solution for jobs gap
It is a point that Dr. Lonnie Johnson has been making for three decades. The founder of Excellatron Solid State LLC has built a factory in downtown Atlanta, using proceeds from some of the 80 patents he has gained.
For more than 22,000 black high tech entrepreneurs, their ability to create jobs depends on their technical expertise. According to the U.S. Census Survey of Business Owners, there were 668 black-owned electronics manufacturers like Excellatron.
That means most of the 1,000 blacks yearly who gain patents have not been able to raise the capital to bring their products to market, or were forced to sell their intellectual property.
31Ways 31Days suggests a visit to one of these cutting edge innovators on the last day of National Black Business Month.
The brightest spot comes in the area of federal contracting, an area where policy and implementation can drive innovation and growth. More than 1,000 contracts worth more than $1 million were awarded to black software programming firms in the past year.
50 Most selectee Richard Lewis, an Air Force Academy graduate, founded RTL Networks Inc. in Denver to leverage his expertise. He's been cited as small business of the year by both the Department of Defense and Small Business Administration. Lewis also serves as vice chair of the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce.
Massive investments in health information technology, energy efficiency and homeland security offer the opportunity to spread those contracts outside the clusters around the capital and military bases to create the digital health records needed in every community.
The 2,241 computer systems design companies with paid employees earned $3 billion in 2007, with 20,255 employees and $1.3 billion in payroll.
Among the 13,000 computer systems designers working as sole proprietors, their sales were just over $300 million. Targeting that sector of well-trained, experienced practitioners for economic development is one of the objectives of the Catapult Innovation Showcase.
Leading up to National Black Business Month, we found numerous engineers and scientists, including some with patents, seeking seed capital to finish prototypes.
It is a problem that even Johnson, after 80 patents and 20 in the pipeline, faces. At this year's Innovation & Equity Symposium on Jan. 15 in the nation's capital, he shrugged when asked why Facebook could get $500 million in investment capital, as compared to his advances in auto batteries and renewable energy.
Since then, his two companies, Excellatron Solid State LLC and Johnson Research and Development have scored 14 contract actions with $2.4 million in action obligations during the first three quarters of this fiscal year with the Department of Defense alone.
That included three awards for Excellatron from the Army and Navy in March, two from those services in April and one from the Air Force in June.
Johnson Research and Development won two bids from the Department of the Army in February and a third in March.
The theme for this year's Innovation & Equity program on Jan. 15, 2012 in the nation's capital is Capitalizing Creativity: Job Creation and Innovation.
Instead of lamenting the flight of manufacturing jobs, innovators like Johnson are seeking to create new factories and industries.