October 19, 2018

Malloy, officials tout CI, other state biz investments

HBJ PHOTO | Matt Pilon
HBJ PHOTO | Matt Pilon
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy at Thursday's third annual VentureClash in New Haven.

Before the winners of Connecticut Innovations' third annual VentureClash were announced at the Yale School of Management in New Haven on Thursday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other state leaders took to the stage to make the case that state investments like the ones CI makes have provided an important boost to the economy in recent years.

Malloy, who will leave office in January, noted that the state has created over 23,000 private-sector jobs over the past 12 months, including more growth in manufacturing jobs than at any point in the last 50 years.

"We've done something that's really quite remarkable, and yet that's not fully appreciated in this state," Malloy said.

The state's economy has become a top issue in this year's governor's race, with GOP candidate Bob Stefanowksi taking constant shots at Malloy's economic record.

Matt McCooe, CEO of CI, which booked record investment returns last year, said the state's investments helped create those positions.

"They took a while to get here, but they're here now, and it's because of the risks that you took," McCooe said, introducing Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner and CI Vice Chair Catherine Smith, who, like many commissioners, will likely be departing when the new administration takes office in January.

McCooe said that in the wake of the last recession, the state could have "battened the hatches."

"Catherine and Gov. Malloy went the other way. They invested in the state and they believed in the state," he said.

Smith said that four years ago, when CI was planning the creation of VentureClash, she was skeptical Connecticut could pull off a Mass Challenge-style event in short order, but the contest has since brought dozens of entrepreneurs from around the world to come consider a location in Connecticut.

"If you get the right people and you give them the matches, they're going to start a great fire, and that's what's happened here with VentureClash," Smith said."I think the state is on its way back and will do even better in the coming years."

CI Board Chairman Michael Cantor, an intellectual property attorney and co-managing partner of Hartford law firm Cantor Colburn, said CI is helping to transform Connecticut, and urged attendees to think of that at the ballot box in a few weeks.

"Vote for people who are going to support CI in the next administration," Cantor said. "I think that's really important."

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