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As Hartford region evolves, so do chances for growth

BY David Griggs

7/30/2018
David Griggs
The businesses and leaders that call this region home are world class in what they do on a global scale.

We may be a small state, but we are big on innovation, technology, leadership and influence … all on a level that spans the globe.

This is what I have learned in my short time as president and CEO of the MetroHartford Alliance, which aims to be a top-performing economic development partnership that grows the Greater Hartford regional economy. For more than 100 days, I have sat in various conference rooms, offices, restaurants, coffee shops and taverns meeting key influencers from throughout the Hartford region. Listening was key, and what I have found is the evolution of a region that believes in itself.

The ‘Hart’ of a global economy

Business is what makes this region such a contributor to the local, national and global economy on many levels. I have learned early on what success looks like:

• The Insurance Capital's global brands are leading the charge and are recognized worldwide as industry leaders in innovation. Insurtech is now. The insurance sector in Hartford continues to harness technology and data, recharging company culture and exploring new markets to refine, rethink and reinvigorate.

• The Hartford region aligns with the state's longtime tradition of manufacturing, and it is becoming more innovative and cutting edge than ever before. In addition, more than 1,000 aerospace manufacturers and components firms are located in the state, mostly within the Hartford region.

• The Alliance's young professionals group — Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) — works to attract and retain talent. It is one of the largest and most active organizations of its kind in the country with nearly 4,500 members who work in this community and network, participate in civic projects and engage with companies and educational institutions in the region.

• Health and accessibility to world-class health care is one of the state's biggest assets and a key reason to do business here. Connecticut's citizens rank third in the nation in health, which speaks to the access of quality care that exists in Hartford and the entire state.

• The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Hartford with many innovative projects taking place throughout the region. One example is Stanley Black & Decker's recent announcement of the creation of Manufactory 4.0, an Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence in downtown Hartford. It is also developing the Stanley+Techstars Additive Manufacturing accelerator, which will be managed by Techstars, one of the world's most recognized accelerators.

• In addition to world-class Bradley International Airport and the new Hartford Rail Line connecting Hartford to Springfield, New Haven and points beyond, our proximity to Boston and New York only enhances our viability as a place to do business.

The future is now in Hartford

The Alliance is starting to look at compiling data and research to tell our story more concretely. Those looking to do business here will certainly want to see the numbers around their industry and this region before they invest. We will also take our story on the road, meeting with site selectors, business leaders and other decision-makers to ensure they know what Hartford has to offer.

We have all the assets in place to make Greater Hartford one of the most economically viable markets in the country — top businesses, sports and recreation, arts and culture, tourism and hospitality, improved transportation systems, vibrant cities, and top colleges and universities — and we look forward to working with our community and prospective businesses to ensure long-term economic growth. But economic development is a team sport, and we must collaborate to ensure sustainable success for generations.

David Griggs is president and CEO of the MetroHartford Alliance.