The City of New Haven has been designated as an Innovation Place, thanks to the efforts of the Elm City Innovation Collaborative (ECIC), a consortium of New Haven entrepreneurs and representatives from the Mayor’s Office, Science Park, Economic Development Corporation, Yale, and other New Haven colleges.
The CTNext board of directors announced on June 6 that the Elm City will receive up to $2 million in Implementation Grant funds in fiscal year 2018 to begin establishing the New Haven community as a hub for innovation, entrepreneurialism and business growth.
Established by the Connecticut General Assembly, Innovation Places is a CTNext-run program created to help the state’s communities become centers for entrepreneurism and innovation, magnets for talent, and launching points for growth-stage companies.
The selection of Elm City concludes a process that began last summer and culminated last month with a site visit and pitch.
“This award is a significant step forward in our vision of New Haven as a next-generation center of innovation and activity,” said Mayor Toni N. Harp ’78 M.E.D. “This grant brought together stakeholders from perspectives all around the city and will make it possible for New Haven to better draw companies and talent from around the country and support the growth of new ideas.
“I’m particularly pleased to see projects that make our existing networks more accessible and engaging, with spaces and training pipelines that equip and support local residents with what they need to participate in our innovation economy’s success,” she continued. “Working together, this group has made a proposal that lives up to the vision of the program developed last year by Senator Martin Looney and our state legislative delegation.”
Slate Ballard, chair of ECIC and co-founder of The Grove, said: ““This is an exciting award for New Haven and celebrates the highly collaborative efforts of ECIC. It is also a testament to the long-term grassroots efforts of dozens of organizations who have been working to build the innovation economy in New Haven for years.
“This funding will enable initiatives that will spark new connections, expanded space for growing companies, open-up access and support to New Haven’s residents, and build on New Haven’s dense, walkable cityscape,” he added.
"The selection of the Elm City Innovation Collaborative recognizes the many assets that exist in New Haven, including its colleges and universities,” said Rich Jacob, ECIC vice chair and associate vice president for federal and state relations at Yale University. “They are vital to innovation and economic opportunity, and they will play an important role in the plan that was recently approved. Yale looks forward to working with partners throughout the City to grow businesses and economic opportunity.”
State Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney said: “Last year, we created the Innovation Places program to invest in attracting the next generation of companies, investment, and workers to Connecticut’s urban economic engines. New Haven’s entrepreneurs, educators, and planners committed to the Innovation Places’ collaborative planning process and have developed together a strategic vision. The Elm City Innovation Collaborative and the new partnerships that these transformative projects represent will ensure that New Haven is a leader in the knowledge economy."
Noting that New Haven is home to Yale University and “the entrepreneurial community that both surrounds and emanates from it,” Glendowlyn Thames, executive director of CTNext, said: “As a designated Innovation Place, the city and the Elm City team have a wonderful opportunity to better connect its diverse communities, encourage growth opportunities for residents and realize its true potential.”
The Innovation Places program will distribute $6.9 million in fiscal year 2018 to selected Innovation Places communities to support implementation of their strategic plans.
CTNext is Connecticut’s go-to resource for entrepreneurial support. The goal of the program is to build a more robust community of entrepreneurs and to accelerate startup growth by providing access to talent, space, industry expertise, services, skill development and capital to foster innovation and create jobs for people in Connecticut. CTNext launched in 2012 and has more than 1,700 members in its network. Visit the CTNext website for more information.