Hawaii is the latest state moving in that direction with a proposed Hawaii Innovations Fund  which could grow to $200 million in government funds over four years to invest in Hawaii's renewable energy, life science and technology companies. If enacted, Hawaii will join thirty-six states  that run venture capital funds, including New York's Small Business Technology Investment Fund  and the Maryland Venture Fund .
The Maryland Venture Fund  (MVF) has been one of the largest such funds, existing for ten years and investing over $48 million in more than 100 companies, usually at the startup phase when seed money is most crucial. It has nurtured Maryland-based biotech and information technology companies that have not only enriched the state's economy but returned profits back to the state as they've gone publicï¿½yielding an annual internal rate of return of 30 percent and allowing MVF to move towards self-funding with only minimal additional appropriations from the state legislature each year.
A variant approach has been in Pennsylvania, where the state has seeded an investment organization Bioadvance  and its venture capital arm, BioAdvance Ventures , with $33.8 million in tobacco settlement money. This fund has been dedicated to encouraging the development of biotechnology in the southern Pennsylvania region -- with two sister organizations investing in other parts of the state. (See here  for more). The overall goal is to dedicate $2 billion of the tobacco settlement to encourage the development of life-saving (and job-creating) biotechnology firms in the state.
In a number of states, these investment efforts have been assisted by state and local employee pension fundsï¿½their $2.7 trillion in assets making them what writer William Greider has called a potential "New Colossus " for expanding public investment in the economy:
- In Indiana, the public pension funds collaborated with state universities and various health-based companies to launch the Indiana Future Fund , a $73 million investment fund designed to benefit Indiana companies, especially in the life sciences and high technology arena. And this is just a small part of the state's public pension fund investments encouraging in-state economic growth.
- Washington State  holds nearly $1.3 billion in Washington-based investments, using the money to leverage additional capital from other sources to invest in the state.
- Wisconsin's  pension fund is also increasingly concentrating on support for state venture funds that can create jobs in that state.
- The largest scale pension investments, however, are in California, where the main public pension fund, CALPERS , has in-state investments totaling $20 billion or 11% of the fund's assets, a portion of which are dedicated directly to venture capital funds in the state.
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