The Baton Rouge area has made strides over the last several years in supporting and developing a knowledge-based economy, a report from the Baton Rouge Area Chamber shows.

The report explores the state of the area’s so-called innovation economy, including invention disclosures, patents, technology transfer, education, occupational distribution, establishment growth and worker productivity.

“This report is a simple document to help citizens gain more understanding about the strength of entrepreneurship and innovation in our region,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of BRAC. “Innovation is the linchpin of knowledge-based economies, such as those with significant investments in research and development,” he said. “Regions driven by innovation benefit from increased productivity, a competitive edge on domestic and international rivals, and the ability to grow high-wage, high-tech jobs.”

Since 2009, the Baton Rouge Area experienced a higher rate of business growth and expansions than peer southern metros, including Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee. In regard to education and workforce training, the number of degrees and certifications in innovation fields, those that directly relate to innovation and entrepreneurship such as engineering, computer science and management, have increased nearly 20 percent since 2009.

Other highlights cited from the report include:

  • The Capital Region has experienced 42 percent growth in patents issued since 2009.
  • In the past 10 years, the total number of businesses in the Baton Rouge area has grown by nearly 27,000, and increased by over 6,000 just since 2009.
  • LSU’s establishment of the LIFT2 program and its recent hiring of Andrew “Andy” Maas as assistant vice chancellor for research and technology transfer director is a strong sign that the university intends to ramp up its technology transfer efforts, in line with the goals of its Flagship 2020 plan.
  • LSU’s Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station brought in over $53 million since 2009 from the commercial development of Ag Center technology.
  • Southern University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Studies has created the Southern Laboratory Alliance to expand its laboratory capacity from two on-site analytical laboratories to over 30, located across the nation.

The region also boasts a strong network of support organizations and resources, the report said, citing the LSU Student Incubator, Louisiana Business and Technology Center Incubator and Louisiana Technology Park Incubator for providing business consulting and mentoring services to more than 85 local startups and entrepreneurs.

The report was released to coincide with next week’s Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week.