I just spent a week in Washington DC. The majesty of the place and the excitement of the upcoming inaugural, was enough to make me forget the economic malais that we all find ourselves in. Coming face-to-face with the documents, icons and memorials of earlier challenges – the resolve to fight England for our freedom, the horrors of a civil war, the decade-long great depression, the forty years in the nuclear cross-hairs of the cold war – reminded me that our nation’s greatest advances and leaders surfaced when we were pushed to seek extraordinary solutions to overwhelming problems.
The current challenges to global capitalism, to our standard of living and to our governments’ ability to raise sufficient funds to keep the public sector viable may not rise to the level of past American crises, but they will test our leaders.
The Connecticut Technology Council, with our clear-headed ideas about growth and innovation, our unabiding focus on the future of Connecticut and our access to a broad-based membership and to a remarkable board of volunteer directors will be an important player as institutions and individuals struggle to provide leadership in the coming year. As the group speaking for 2,500+ technology-oriented firms and another 600 early-stage hopefuls, the Council can, and should, approach 2009 with optimism. Capital markets and looming state and town deficits may have us on edge, but still, the global appetite for innovation and making goods better and cheaper is unabated, especially as billions strive to raise their standard of living. Connecticut firms will be in that mix no matter what happens to the state budget come this June.
Today, there are many formal and ad hoc groups looking at what Connecticut should do this year. As your advocate, we are part of many of these efforts. We will be inviting you to contribute to the solutions and approaches that will be explored. Remember, every state will be searching for a unique set of answers to what will bring prosperity back quickly. There is no reason Connecticut cannot do the best job.
In 2009, we will use the web better to get you information and to rally your support while respecting your time and need to concentrate on your businesses. We will be a constant presence in educating government leaders on how to use incentives and build the kind of infrastructure that will grow the economy and create jobs while objecting to actions that will do the opposite. We will continue to celebrate innovation, success and talent where we find it across the state. And we will actively work to attract and help the new firms that have best chance of becoming big successes someday.
Before we stretch and flex in preparation for the 2009 challenges, let’s look back and thank everyone who helped us in 2008.
The Connecticut Technology Council produced over 60 events, recognized hundreds of companies and individuals, advocated for our industry and assisted more than 500 entrepreneurs. Congratulations are due to the exceptional honorees of the Tech Top 40, IPA Awards, and Women of Innovation program. Our partners included the State of Connecticut, and also hundreds of sponsors and members.
Leadership has been abundant from our Board of Directors, growing technology social networks. On behalf of our staff, we thank everyone for supporting the Council and for helping to create the strength that comes from the unique American form of leadership and idea creation that comes from trade associations and the public/private collaborations we produce.
Let not forget that strong, vocal and thoughtful business associations are vital during times of rapid and re-orienting economic change when policies are set by the public sector. Jobs will be created with more early-stage capital and incentives for first round funding sources. Smaller, more productive state and local government bureaucracies will have to emerge from our budget cuts. Funding for world-class infrastructure investments will need to be found.
Together we can find ways to make 2009 a year in which the technology and innovation community’s voice is heard loudly and helps influence the direction of Connecticut.
Matthew Nemerson President & CEO Connecticut Technology Council www.ct.org