“New Tech City”: Improve Education, Expand Broadband, Reform Immigration

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Education and immigration reform are vital for the continued success of startups and of the American economy as a whole. A study released on Wednesday highlighted startups’ importance to the economy and recommended broader efforts to incorporate technology in schools and more innovative approaches to the U.S. visa system. In no place are these needs more apparent than the focus city for the study, New York.

The study -- “New Tech City” -- was conducted by the Center for an Urban Future with support from AT&T and the Association for a Better New York. The findings of the study demonstrate New York’s place as a tech hub, eclipsed only by Silicon Valley and San Francisco purely in terms of growth. The study identified 486 startups that had received angel, seed, or venture capital funding in the city of New York since 2007 and more than 1,000 web-based startups, most of which haven’t received funding. The number of jobs in the New York information technology industry grew 28.7 percent over the past five years, increasing by about 12,000 according to data the study drew from the New York State Department of Labor.

The study addresses key issues facing startups around the country, emphasizing the need for the reform of key issues that are affecting startups today. We need immigration reform to allow more highly-skilled immigrants to work at startups, enhancements of broadband and wireless infrastructures to connect businesses and consumers, and support for schools to prepare teens for careers in STEM fields.

Silicon Valley and New York City are known centers of innovation, but the startup story of these places can be replicated in communities all across the United States. To achieve these successes, policy should support small companies, which play a vital role by creating new jobs, improving local economies, and providing consumers with innovative products and services.