Queens Tech Council reconvenes to improve landscape for industry in borough

Hope Knight
Hope Knight returns to the borough to deliver the keynote address at the Queens Tech Council 2022 kickoff event in Long Island City. (Photo courtesy of Queens Chamber of Commerce)

The Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Queens Tech Council hosted their 2022 kickoff event Tuesday, Feb. 8, at the Boro Hotel in Long Island City. The evening featured a keynote address from Hope Knight, the president and CEO-designate of Empire State Development and former leader of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.

“Queens is rich in the resources that are in demand by today’s businesses — diversity, talent and energy,” Knight said. “The borough is uniquely positioned to be a leader in the tech field, fostering new growth of homegrown businesses, attracting companies looking to expand and encouraging its local entrepreneurs. Empire State Development’s productive partnership with the Queens Tech Council reflects Governor Hochul’s own vision of economic development: collaborative and community-based, supporting solid infrastructure and a skilled workforce to ensure New York remains competitive and prepared for the economy of tomorrow.”

The Queens Chamber of Commerce launched the Queens Tech Council last February consisting of major tech companies and startups, as well as business, government and community leaders. Its members include representatives from Amazon, Google, Facebook, Pursuit, Long Island City Partnership, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, Crown Castle, Cornell Tech, The Business Incubator Association of New York State and more.

“Whether you’re a recently launched startup or an established leader in the industry, Queens is a great place for tech companies to grow and thrive,” Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech said. “As we continue to recover from the pandemic, we will need to leverage all the wonderful assets our borough has to offer.”

During the meeting, speakers discussed the work the Queens Tech Council will be doing in the year ahead to promote incubators and accelerators; identify and drive investment to Queens startups; connect companies, schools and talent; and grow the brand of Queens around the world.

“We need to make sure that our training systems, the cradle-to-career systems, are funded, and again, are nimble and connect everybody,” LIC Partnership President Elizabeth Lusskin said. “The pieces are here. The community is here, and now we’ve just got to give it that extra little bit of battery-powered surge to get across the finish line and really have that world-rivaling life-science tech cluster in which Queens and Long Island City play a huge part.”

Jamaica native Jason Myles Clark, who was appointed executive director of Tech:NYC last month, believes the borough’s tech sector is among the strongest in the city.

“I grew up in Queens, so it’s no surprise to me that the city’s most diverse borough is producing some of the most innovative ideas,” Clark said. “Tech:NYC is excited to work with the Queens Tech Council and the Queens Chamber of Commerce to continue creating opportunities in Queens and beyond.”

The Council focuses on building an economy that embraces innovation and promotes tech adoption. This means ensuring that the borough is producing the talent that companies look for and that Queens-based tech companies are able to get the resources and capital they need, and that businesses in traditional industries are able to adapt to the changing economy, successfully integrate new technologies and upskill their workforces to remain competitive and thrive in the years to come.

“It was great to be here today, and hear from so many leaders about what we can do to ensure we’re supporting existing tech businesses in our community, attracting new companies to our borough, training the next generation of tech workers and ensuring Queens businesses across all sectors have the tech resources required to remain competitive in an increasingly global market,” Grech said.