(Photo by Lindsay Podraza)
Some of the ideas were more concrete than others, and it remains to be seen if anything will come of the pitches. If participants want to move their ideas forward, they can seek guidance from Tech Forum members.
Six teams, which included people from local organizations and tech enthusiasts, tackled one of the following questions:
- How can our community better attract and retain top technology talent to this market?
- How can we attract talented tech startup leaders and future entrepreneurs to grow their companies in Delaware?
- How do we make Delaware competitive as a capital market where businesses can access funding to grow?
- How do we increase the number of people willing to “try Delaware” and make an effort to get to know our community as a place to do business?
Here’s what the teams proposed.
The Downtown Visions team said Delaware needs to do more to retain millennial entrepreneurs. Their solution is to create an umbrella organization to unite what team member Chris Williams (who is a Technical.ly contributor) called “tech evangelicals.” He said a lot of the components of that entity already exist, and it would just be a matter of formally bringing leaders together on a collaborative basis. Someone from the crowd jumped in and said talking to First State Innovation might be a good starting point.
The Great Dames and Inspiring Women in STEM team addressed city branding and how it needs to change. They suggested new-business start-up packages for budding entrepreneurs, alerts to business people when a new entrepreneur arrives to foster connections and encouraging youth to be more tech savvy.
To improve branding, they proposed that agencies from the federal government create a nonprofit for branding. The nonprofit would collect funds to allocate to social media and branding experts for specific cities.
The Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau team, with support from Cyberwolf Software, was chosen as the audience favorite. They pitched a Joe Biden-based website, JoeKnowsDelaware.com, that would offer information on jobs, neighborhoods and fun (recommended by Joe, with the assistance of databases and Facebook) in an effort to bring more people to the state. “Joe is the thing about Delaware that everyone knows,” said Gaby Indellini, the Bureau’s marketing and social media specialist.
In keeping with a Biden theme, the Small Business Administration team proposed the Beau Biden Center of Excellence, which would be a medical school and center for cancer and bioinformatics research. The team pointed out that Delaware is one of the few, if not only, states without a medical school. Bringing a med school to the First State would make sense, they argued, given its strengths in biotechnology, innovation, technology and healthcare. They would leverage universities and hospitals in the area, keep the tech infrastructure in the cloud and potentially use abandoned AstraZeneca or DuPont real estate for the school. The project would also align with Vice President Biden’s latest pledge to find a cure for cancer. The team said a med school would attract millennials, which would spur economic growth, which would then attract tech startups and larger businesses.
The Wilmington University team talked about marketing Wilmington’s businesses better by promoting awareness, social media and storytelling. The crux of their presentation was about making the state’s tax credits and grants more visible and easier to apply for, perhaps on a website.
The Christiana Care and Zip Code Wilmington team pitched a reporting organization that creates branding for Wilmington and connects people to social events and news happening in the area. That arguably already exists in several publications, but the group said their proposed organization would centralize everything with less of an emphasis on stories and instead focus on sharing upcoming events, attractions and meetups. The group gave Technical.ly some love: In their presentation, they praised Technical.ly’s model of relevant stories that are easy to navigate and its newsletter that is quick to read and links you directly to the story. (Thanks, you guys! You can sign up for our newsletter here.)
Organizer George Rotsch said he was pleased with the outcome.
“These groups showed that they care about Wilmington and they care about technology, and how a little bit of technology and a lot of collaboration can make a big difference in our city,” he said.
We’ll have to see if any of those ideas take.