Building NYC’s Tech Industry

A week ago we asked our readers to comment about why NYC’s middle class has vanished 44% faster than in the rest of the United States since 1970. We cited reasons suggested by a NYC think tank, the Center for an Urban Future. One of them: a NYC job mix that had “shifted away from positions that provide middle-income wages and benefits.”

In a companion 2009 report, “Building New York City’s Innovation Economy,” CUF suggested specific ways for NYC to encourage job growth in the tech sector, including linkages between research universities and tech entrepreneurs.

Such linkages already have been developed by individual research universities; in Brooklyn, SUNY Downstate Medical Center has been operating an Advanced Biotechnical Incubator for several years and is working with the NYC Economic Development Corporation to establish a biotechnical manufacturing center called BioBAT at the Brooklyn Army Terminal.

CUF’s recommendations have been embraced by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who recently announced “the creation of a Presidents Council for Manhattan’s Innovation Economy, [to be] made up of the presidents of the borough’s leading scientific universities and research institutions.”

Where this initiative goes depends a lot on the Presidents Council leadership and its ability to attract entrepreneurial capital. But, with major research institutions throughout the five boroughs, it’s an idea worth trying on a city-wide basis.

We hope Mayor Bloomberg and the other four borough presidents are paying attention.

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2 responses to “Building NYC’s Tech Industry

  1. There is also NYC Seed for budding internet entrepreneurs. Its incredibly underutilized. The best thing about web based businesses is that they can be done efficiently from anywhere in the city. There are lower tech positions at most companies, and with a little training most people can become proficient in some aspect of the process. I think this is the way for NYC to expand its middle class; by making the city a hub on web innovation.

  2. I think the problem in defining these things is that a family with a $200K income is middle class in NYC. maybe they’re not in the middle income-wise, but they live what is considered to be a middle class life by U.S. standards. after paying for a mortgage, childcare (and our kid is in public school), insurance, taxes, car payments, etc. there is nothing left for us and our $200K just like there’s nothing left for the middle class family in Tulsa that has a $65K combined income. Of course, if you shift the income parameters upward for NYC, you’d have to drop a lot of folks at the bottom into lower middle class who make a $65K annual family income, which would be fine in Tulsa, but is probably desperation time in NYC unless you get some sort of rent/housing subsidy/control/stabilization.

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