The High Technology Council, a cornerstone of Los Angeles County's defense conversion effort, was launched Thursday, and the first federal loans to assist small businesses attempting to commercialize military technology were announced.
The council is supposed to have broad responsibility for setting defense conversion policy in the region, to monitor federal legislation affecting Los Angeles firms and to facilitate joint efforts among universities, government and private companies.
The organization, first proposed more than a year ago in a county task force report, has attracted many corporate executives, university presidents and government officials to its board. The council has two co-chairmen, Aerospace Corp. President Pete Aldridge and Pacific Enterprises Chairman Willis Wood.
But its funds are far short of the vast sums that eventually will be needed to assist significant numbers of small companies trying to commercialize their technology, according to officials at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., the nonprofit organization supporting the council.
The EDC announced loans of $100,000 to Dyna-Cam Industries for development of a new aircraft engine and to Data Integrated Solutions for development of software to tie together diverse computer systems. The corporation has $1 million in federal funds for loans to small firms in the county.
A much larger effort was unveiled several weeks ago by the California Trade and Commerce Agency, which formed a $65-million pool of state funds for companies seeking federal matching funds under the Technology Reinvestment Project.
The federal project provides money for defense conversions to private firms, government agencies and nonprofit organizations, but requires them to match the federal funds on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
Proposals for the grants are due July 23, according to Julie Meier Wright, secretary of the California Trade and Commerce Agency.