The communities of Hartford and East Hartford, led by the Hartford/East Hartford Innovation Places Planning Team, have been selected as an Innovation Place, announced yesterday afternoon by the CTNext Board of Directors.
The Hartford/East Hartford Initiative will receive up to $2 million in Implementation Grant funds in fiscal year 2018 to begin implementing the team’s vision for making Hartford and East Hartford a hub for innovation, entrepreneurship, and business growth.
The selection of The Hartford/East Hartford Initiative concludes a process that began last summer and culminated last month with a site visit and pitch.
“With a strong presence in the insurance, healthcare and aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries, Hartford/East Hartford is already one of the State’s—and the region’s—strongest economic center points,” said Glendowlyn Thames, Executive Director of CTNext.
“As a designated Innovation Place, we are excited to see the impressive leadership team bring together its existing resources and assets, many of which have been underutilized to this point, and take the Hartford/East Hartford communities to the next level,” she added.
Innovation Places is a CTNext-run program created to help the state’s communities become centers for entrepreneurship and innovation, magnets for talent, and launching points for growth-stage companies. The program will distribute $6.9 million in fiscal year 2018 to selected Innovation Places communities to support implementation of their strategic plans.
Senator John Fonfara (D-Hartford), who was instrumental in designing a comprehensive law to help Connecticut embrace the innovation economy, joined other leaders in applauding the decision by CTNext to invest in the Hartford area.
“I’d like to congratulate the core team that made this happen, in particular Michelle Cote of the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation,” Sen. Fonfara said.
“I am incredibly grateful to the dozens of entrepreneurs, education and business leaders, and city staff who developed a powerful vision for Hartford and East Hartford as a hub of innovation,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.
“Our proposal focused on Greater Hartford’s strengths in the insurance, aerospace, and medical technology fields, and this is exactly the kind of effort that will change the game for our region and for the state,” he emphasized.
“The entire Hartford-East Hartford Innovation Places team should be proud of their winning proposal, and I look forward to working together, in partnership with CTNext, to make the Greater Hartford region a truly vibrant ecosystem of innovation,” said Mayor Bronin.
“We are very excited to partner with Hartford on this regional initiative which will further strengthen our communities as a hub for innovation and growth,” said East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc.
“Together our communities provide many benefits to innovators and entrepreneurs looking for a central location at the crossroads of New England with easy access to collaborative partnerships with first class universities, other pioneering businesses, and established manufacturing and research centers of excellence,” she added.
“It has been remarkable for me to watch our community come together in service of creating the right conditions for entrepreneurs and innovators to thrive, and attract top talent to our community,” said Michelle Cote, Managing Director of the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the University of Connecticut.
“We have received commitments and investments from both Hartford and East Hartford, as well as the community’s anchor companies, educational institutions, and civic organizations. The strength of our strategy comes from cooperation, coordination, and collaboration in pursuit of a shared goal,” she noted.
The Hartford/East Hartford Innovation Places Planning Team includes several entrepreneurs and leaders from:
- The City of Hartford
- Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology
- Connecticut Children’s Medical Center
- Connecticut Small Business Development Center
- Goodwin College
- Hanover Group
- The Hartford
- The Metro Hartford Alliance
- The Town of East Hartford
- Trinity College
- University of Connecticut
- University of Hartford
- Upward Hartford
- XL Catlin
Each of these community stakeholders will play a role in the execution of the group’s strategy, and in making Hartford and East Hartford visible centers of entrepreneurship and innovation.