The CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity (CenterState CEO) released its Agenda for Economic Opportunity Thursday, detailing a plan for future development initiatives Thursday that was two years in the making. After intensive research, planning, and development in partnership with the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, the CEO released five key findings for shifting Central New York's economic profile in a more positive direction:
- The region holds strong potential to excel in new technology fields
- The growth in global markets can boost the region's exports and global fluency
- The region's innovation ecosystem is still emerging and requires new investment
- The region must retain and expand a skilled workforce, grow economic opportunity and develop employ-driven approaches to align workers and jobs
- The 21st century economy requires modernizing local government
The CEO says that four major initiatives are already in implementation stages, including the creation of a Data to Decisions Innovation Alliance to produce growth through research and development and through the attraction of world class talent tot the area. The Corporation has also established a Commission on Government Modernization, to evaluate the current government and engage the community to plan for the region's future, and has begun the CenterState Export Initiative to enhance exports from Central New York and target foreign investment opportunities.
The final major initiative to come out of the CEO's investment plans is Armory Square Ventures, a venture capital group for seed business funding. Somak Chattopadhyay is a managing partner with the fund. Following a recent Fortune Magazine article about the fund and his hopes for business growth in the area, Chattopadhyay said he was blown away by the positive response from potential entrepreneurs and fellow venture capitalists:
Kathy Rapp, Chair of the Economic Development Committee of the Onondaga County Legislature attended the CEO's release event, and said that she's most excited to see the venture capital arm of the plan finally come to fruition:
"I was just talking with the fellow who's starting the Armory Square Venture venture… To me, that was the most exciting part of this, because for years we've been working on the workforce development and the government consolidation, and now the idea of bringing the industries together. But all of it has always lacked the funding - the catalyst to make it come about. And now the idea are moving here from New York City, starting venture capital fund that is attracting so much attention, I think is the most exciting part. ...He was very well-aligned down in New York City, but saw opportunity here in Syracuse, and I think that says a lot. Just the beginning."
Stephen Chabot, Vice President of INFICON, believes that the most important focus Central New York can adopt is the recruitment and long-term attraction of a skilled and innovative work force:
The business plan came together with the help of a number of local governments, development associations, universities, companies, and foundations. For a complete list and description, visit the CenterState CEO website.