Tech leaders pushing Indiana lawmakers to spur entrepreneurship and talent growth
The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA), which lobbies the Indiana General Assembly on behalf of the tech ecosystem, will focus its efforts in the 2023 legislative session on expanding access to capital, supporting a diverse tech workforce and enabling a thriving tech and innovation ecosystem to support tech job growth and fuel entrepreneurship.
ITIA announced its priorities late last month at its annual Legislative Update event co-hosted by TechPoint and sponsored by AT&T and Salesforce. Nearly 130 tech leaders, two dozen state legislators and several members of the Governor’s administration attended. The event coincides with the General Assembly’s Organization Day where leadership roles are defined for the upcoming session, which runs January 9, 2023, to no later than April 30, 2023.
TechPoint CEO Ting Gootee and Senior Vice President for Talent Dennis Trinkle outlined strategies to grow Indiana’s digital economy through tech talent and digital innovation initiatives.
Indiana’s tech sector contributes more than $51 billion to the state’s GDP and employs about 200,000 Hoosier. Continued digitalization is driving productivity and economic growth across multiple sectors. Gootee and Trinkle said, there remains a need for continued support from state lawmakers if Indiana is to overcome global talent challenges, to attract more capital and to raise its reputation as a national hotspot for digital innovation.
Trinkle’s comments bolstered TechPoint’s Mission41K, which seeks to inclusively grow Indiana’s tech workforce by 41,000 workers by 2030. See their presentation here.
ITIA Board Chair David Becker, Chairman and CEO of First Internet Bank, said it’s time to accelerate Indiana’s commitment to supporting and growing the high-wage, high-tech jobs of the future and called on lawmakers to join the effort.
“Indiana is well-positioned to embrace and be a leader in the innovation economy, but it’s going to take an intentional, collaborative effort to unleash capital, address our talent needs and dramatically boost entrepreneurship,” he said.
Indiana’s technology industry contributed $51 billion to Indiana’s Gross Domestic Product in 2021. The state’s median tech wages are 99 percent higher than the median state wage, per CompTIA Cyberstates 2022. While new companies are responsible for most job creation in the U.S., Indiana’s tech sector ranks 44th out of 50 states for rate of new entrepreneurs on the 2021 Kauffman Entrepreneurial Indicators.
“We need to do everything we can to support and accelerate entrepreneurship in Indiana,” said ITIA Executive Director Jennifer Hallowell. “The State of Indiana can continue to lead by removing barriers to entrepreneurship and investing in the talent and capital needed to start and grow an innovation-based venture.”
ITIA’s 2023 Policy Agenda includes the following priorities:
Policies that Expand Access to Capital at All Stages of Growth
- Continued and robust investment in the 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, which funds critical and proven programs including Elevate Ventures and the SBIR/STTR matching grant program.
- Additional state investment into the Next Level Indiana Fund to further accelerate the availability of capital for Indiana companies at the growth stage.
- A focus on ensuring women, minority and veteran entrepreneurs have access to capital at all stages.
Policies that Develop, Attract and Retain a Diverse Tech Workforce
- Including computer science and technology as a high school graduation requirement to equip more students with technology skills, particularly girls and students of color.
- Funding and incentives for technology-focused career exploration and discovery programs, such as robotics.
- Support for apprenticeships, internships and other pathways into the tech industry.
- Incentives and efforts to retain and attract talent in Indiana.
Policies that Enable a Thriving Tech Ecosystem
- Removing barriers to entrepreneurship and a dedicated effort to support new business creation.
- A data privacy law that is interoperable with other state privacy laws in order to create consistent robust privacy protections and reduce implementation burdens.
- Continued expansion of high performing Certified Tech Parks (CTPs) by increasing the maximum allowable CTP capture.
- Efforts to accelerate broadband and fiber deployment.
ITIA is the statewide association representing technology and innovation-driven companies, entrepreneurs and partners working together to advance the state’s tech and innovation ecosystem.