It was another interesting week from the front in the battle to find new resources to support technology based economic development in Connecticut. There is some good news to report…
The grant we have been pursuing with the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to help build our entrepreneurial development program that we are calling the “Innovation Pipeline Accelerator” is moving along again, and we received some of the key contractual paperwork.
This is a continuation of the Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge sponsored “FastTrack” program that grew out of the Software Cluster’s efforts to support and nurture more start-up technology companies in the state. It sounds complicated just writing it all down. In the end, it doesn’t matter what the name of all the programs are or under what aegis they are operated. This is because the real challenge is that the DECD is so under-funded, that even when up and operating, our program to help technology based start-ups will have about one dollar for every thirty that a state such as
So we can’t get upset with the state agencies. They are tasked with dividing up a very small pie into thin slices that will barely move the needle on the dial that says we are trailing much of the country and the world in statistics relating to job and business creation.
Therefore, our efforts are now focused on letting the legislature know that we really need to increase – by orders of magnitude – the amount of money we are investing in some key areas that are all part of what we call the “Innovation Continuum,” an inter-connected array of major policy initiatives that all contribute to growing our high value-added economy, including: talent creation, intellectual property creation, early stage risk capital and commercialization assistance.
We will soon be producing a document that will show our policy recommendations in a number of these areas. This campaign will probably take many years to fully implement and you will all be invited to help carry the message to your elected representatives. If you have not checked out the slides from our recent forum for the State Senate on these issues, click here to view the slides and if you have some spare time, click here to view the video
So while we have made some progress in convincing the legislator to invest in our technology infrastructure, it may be harder to find the money in the tight second year of our two year budget or in the surplus, which is where many states are getting their incentive funds. So, while Florida is spending over a billion dollars to develop bio-tech and places such as Ohio and Pennsylvania have launched annual programs worth hundreds of millions to solidify their innovation continuums, the new Connecticut state budget seems to have only $25 million earmarked for new investments in business creation, and not even all of that investment is going to what we would consider technology or innovation support.
As we begin the short legislative session, we need to make it clear that we are pleased to have support from the administration for a program that will help some firms get started here in the state but also be honest enough to tell anyone who will listen that we still need to find millions of new dollars to have the impact necessary to create the kind of economy we all desire.
Next week we’ll look at a new study of the economic future of the entire Northeast and what it means for Connecticut.
Matthew Nemerson President & CEO Connecticut Technology Council