Mayor de Blasio and Digital NYC
MAYOR DE BLASIO:
“Technology is driving innovation across New York City’s industries – from fashion to finance to manufacturing, making it more necessary than ever for the City’s digital community to have a central platform. Digital.NYC is a ground-breaking resource that will seamlessly connect members of the City’s tech hub to training, jobs, and funding and make our city’s digital economy accessible to all New Yorkers.”
“Digital.NYC will have a tangible impact on the City’s economic growth, connecting companies to resources and introducing more New Yorkers than ever to opportunity in the tech ecosystem. By bringing together the latest news and information about the companies, jobs, classes, events, financing, and workspaces that power New York’s burgeoning startup community, we are showcasing the diverse elements of the fastest growing digital and tech center in the world. We’re proud that engagement between the public and private sectors has resulted in this remarkable innovation.”
ON BACKGROUND ATTRIBUTED TO ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS–
What is your vision for New York City’s future concerning start-up ventures?
de Blasio: We are determined to ensure NYC remains the best place in the country, if not the world, to start a business. We’ll continue to cultivate the diversity that represents our greatest strength and competitive advantage, and make sure that people with an idea have access to the resources they need to transform that idea into a successful business. Our goal is to ensure that whatever happens next happens here in New York City.
How do you see technology playing a role in creating new business?
de Blasio: Technology isn’t a discretionary element for businesses now—it’s a force that underpins nearly every industry and drives the City’s economy to the tune of $125B each year. Because tech will continue to play such a critical role in creating business in NYC, Digital.NYC was created to make access and exposure to tech tools, resources, and companies as easy as possible for all New Yorkers.
What do you need now in order to get the message out that New York City is open for new business?
de Blasio: The City will continue to make powerful investments across the City that address the tech, workforce, real estate, and infrastructure needs of businesses here. We’ll continue to communicate with businesses and industry stakeholders to ensure they’re aware of these investments, and get feedback on what else can be done. And the economy also speaks pretty loudly for itself: the NY Metro region’s 123 deals in Q3 2014 resulted in $1.7 billion in funding, the highest quarterly funding total since Q4 2000 and a 36% increase on the previous quarter’s funding.
What new projects are on the horizon that will foster partnerships with new businesses?
de Blasio: A number of incubators and step-out space (for businesses who have graduated from incubators) will be coming online, supporting emerging businesses. Across sectors—like fashion and life sciences—specific initiatives are underway with the specific intention to help early-stage talent and ideas grow. (See the Fashion Production Fund and the Life Sciences Funding Initiative.) In tech, the City’s flagship civic tech program BigApps is designed to give anyone with a new idea for an app that improves quality of life in NYC an opportunity to pitch, develop and receive advice from luminaries of the tech ecosystem.
How does the average New Yorker take advantage of these exciting opportunities, such as the partnership with Gust & IBM?
de Blasio:That partnership facilitated the creation of digital.nyc, which anyone can take advantage of simply by exploring the site. And on the site, other active City programs—such as BigApps or NYC Generation Tech (GenTech) and many more—are detailed and participation guidelines posted.
How is your office promoting diversity in these initiatives?
de Blasio: We want every New Yorker to connect to economic opportunity. That’s why our tech and other economic development programs are developed and implemented throughout the City—from business incubators in the South Bronx to biotech institutions in Harlem to the GenTech program, which trains high schoolers from disadvantaged communities in app development and entrepreneurship—and, of course, far beyond.