CHICAGO – Building on his commitment to create jobs and economic growth by making Illinois a leader of innovation and product development in the homeland security industry, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced $325,000 in grants for two growing Illinois homeland security companies. The Opportunity Returns funding, which comes from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Homeland Security Market Development bureau, will help create 40 new jobs at the two companies and continue to expand the market for an industry in which Illinois is emerging as a national leader. This funding is leveraging $1.1 million in private investment and federal grants or contracts. DCEO Director Jack Lavin made the grant announcement today with the two companies in Chicago.
"From agriculture to manufacturing, Illinois has always been home to some of the most important innovation, and today that same enterprising spirit is making our state a national leader in the homeland security industry. Many Illinois businesses play a critical role in keeping our cities, states and country safe. By investing in companies like RiverGlass and SSS Research, we can continue fueling the innovation and development of products that help keep our citizens safe and our economy growing," Gov. Blagojevich said.
RiverGlass, Inc., a West Chicago-based software company with roots at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is receiving a $150,000 IPG grant. RiverGlass Detect and RiverGlass Recon will allow law enforcement agencies to access and share up-to-the-minute intelligence information, enhancing their ability to evaluate threats and prevent potential acts of crime or terrorism. The Illinois State Police is currently implementing RiverGlass’ software at the State Terrorism and Intelligence Center in Springfield. The IPG grant will allow RiverGlass to hire 3 to 5 software developers at its Champaign location to accelerate the commercial release of two products.
SSS Research, Inc., a software research and development firm in Naperville, is receiving a $175,000 IPG grant. SSS Research Inc. develops products and services that enable end users to understand complex information sets and convert this understanding into better decisions. The company has landed several government research contracts and has developed technology that helps intelligence analysts structure, visualize and evaluate information. Its product offerings include DECIDE™, a hypothesis analysis tool used to evaluate the feasibility of potential terrorism scenarios and develop strategies to deter them, and FUSION™, a geospatial system that allows intelligence analysts to monitor movements to help identify trends or irregularities in combatants’ activities. The IPG award will help SSS Research develop a commercial version of their DECIDE™ software.
"We are excited to receive this homeland security grant from Gov. Blagojevich. The vision behind this innovative grant program, which is helping to accelerate development of critical technology to solve homeland security issues, is truly leading edge. Building on our technology roots at the University of Illinois and key partnerships with the Illinois State Police, RiverGlass is committed to adding jobs and innovative technology to the state," said Kirk Dauksavage, CEO of RiverGlass.
"We are excited to be part of this visionary program created by Gov. Blagojevich and the State of Illinois. It is programs like these that keep Illinois at the forefront in the development of new technologies and services," said Dr. Stephen Eick, Chief Scientist of the SSS Research, Inc. "This grant will allow us to quickly transfer the technology we have developed into products and services for the homeland security industry."
The Homeland Security Market Development Innovative Product Grant (IPG) Program was created to accelerate the commercialization, improvement, and production of goods and services with an application in homeland security and other sectors. IPG funds are intended to help create jobs and produce economic activity in Illinois by helping companies, partnerships, and joint venture agents complete milestone projects that will directly catalyze the production or application of goods and services that are either ready-for-market or in the alter stages of development. The IPG program is the nation’s first state-funded grant program focused on developing products to meet homeland security needs.
"This funding represents an investment in our local economy that will not only help create jobs, but help spur greater innovation and technology to keep our communities safer," State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana) said. "I want to thank Gov. Blagojevich for his assistance in awarding this grant."
"Gov. Blagojevich’s vision behind this grant program is to strengthen the security of our nation and the vitality of our economy by fostering innovation and helping Illinois businesses turn their promise into productivity in the marketplace. Investments like these in emerging companies are an enormous key to protecting the public and creating good jobs today and tomorrow," DCEO Director Jack Lavin said.
DCEO’s Homeland Security Market Development Bureau (HSMD) is focused on supporting businesses engaged in the homeland security industry. HSMD offers a variety of investment tools designed to help existing Illinois companies expand operations and utilize available state and federal programs and services.
Among its efforts, the Bureau has supported Illinois businesses with employee training to keep pace with new technologies and skills, held CEO roundtables to engage business leaders about the state’s ongoing role in the post-9/11 world, and hosted market development forums featuring national experts for the Illinois business.
For more information on HSMD, visit www.hsmd.illinois.gov.
Gov. Blagojevich’s Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in Illinois’ history. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic development just doesn’t work, the Governor has divided the state into 10 regions – each with a regional team that is empowered and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges. Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses. It is about upgrading the skills of the local workforce, increasing the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining jobs. Opportunity Returns is about successfully partnering with companies and communities, both large and small, to help all of Illinois reach its economic potential.