New York Throws Down Silicon Gauntlet at Boston’s Feet at Tech Meetup

8/3/11Follow @jpruth

A bit of chest-thumping kicked off last night’s NY Tech Meetup, a large gathering of startups grown in New York. Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel took the stage with Seth Pinsky, president of the New York Economic Development Corp., at the onset to push Applied Sciences NYC—a plan to build up the ranks of local technology talent in order to outdo other cities with burgeoning startup communities.

New York seems to think it can snatch the thunder from hubs such as Boston by creating more local technology education opportunities. Steel said after the economic crisis exploded in 2008, the city asked local leaders in academia and venture capital what was needed to better prepare New York for future economic growth. “The resounding voice back was that we were deficient in strong skills in science and engineering,” he said.

Steel said the city wants to leverage its post-secondary schools—including universities, commuter and community colleges—to grow a larger crop of technology professionals to fill that void. “When people talk about college towns, they talk about Ann Arbor or Cambridge or Boston. The facts are New York City has more college students than Boston has people,” he said. “So I think it’s very clear when we call out the bragging rights on where we’re going to have innovation happen, that New York’s going to be the place.”

Steel said responses to a request for proposals are due this fall for the Applied Sciences NYC plan to expand or build an applied sciences and engineering campus in the city. He said the initiative is open to local as well as out-of-town post-secondary schools.

Pinsky said New York is gaining on its rival hubs as a place for private investment in new technology, but more work needs to be done. “In the last couple of years, for the first time in our history, we surpassed … Next Page »

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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