Photo of Senator Leone.

State Senator

Carlo Leone

Representing Stamford & Darien

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Leone Announces Approval of Funding for First Round of “Innovation Places” Grants

Grants will be used by communities like Stamford to plan and create concentrated areas of talent for entrepreneurs and innovators

A critical step was taken in jump-starting Connecticut’s innovation economy at the recent meeting of the State Bond Commission. Senator Leone has announced that $500,000 was approved to support the first round of planning grants from the CTNext Fund, a program championed by Leone and his Democratic colleagues.

“Connecticut has a long history of being a state that innovates, and with these grants we will help solidify that reputation in many of our communities,” said Senator Leone. “I have worked with local officials, educators, and entrepreneurs in Stamford to start the conversation about how we can capitalize on the economic potential of the many assets we have in this city. By developing these ‘innovation places,’ we can encourage Connecticut’s top talent to start new businesses in the growing fields of technology, computer science and bioscience. New, growing businesses create jobs and economic activity at a faster rate than larger companies. That is the kind of growth we need in Connecticut, and these grants are a first big step toward that goal.”

A critical aspect of the innovation economy law passed this year is the creation of “Innovation Places.” The Innovation Places will be concentrated areas where entrepreneurs and innovators have easy access to tech talent, support organizations and research institutions. These dense areas are intended to be highly walkable, transit-connected, and mixed-use in zoning to facilitate interactions among entrepreneurs and innovators across different organizations, and to be conducive to the creation of startup companies. This environment is intended to be attractive not only for entrepreneurs to work in, but also to live in and for recreation, to help the community retain the most in-demand workers.

This $500,000 allocation will be divided and distributed as grants for use in the development of a strategic planning process to identify local conditions and build a master plan that identifies the resources and assets in each community (like a hospital, a university, a research firm, or a manufacturer) to create exciting new business opportunities. The program was designed to be publicly supported and privately led, with communities leveraging public funding to generate a larger amount of private investment and business growth.

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