Hartford Innovation Place Planning
Mass Economics worked with Hartford and East Hartford stakeholders to designate an “Innovation Place” and accompanying initiatives with the goal of accelerating regional innovation, entrepreneurship, and attractiveness. As one of four winning plans from the across the State of CT, the team successfully secured $2 million in State funding to create Hartford’s Innovation Place, as well as millions of additional dollars in matching funds and in-kind donations from stakeholders.
To identify the location and strategic focus areas of Hartford’s Innovation Place, Mass Economics advised the planning committee in how to best capture key economic opportunities in the region, identify the ideal geography for Hartford’s innovation place, and address strategic opportunities and risks affecting innovation and entrepreneurship. To identify the Innovation Place’s economic focus areas, Mass Economics evaluated the region’s economic context, cluster performance, innovation economy, and innovation and entrepreneurship support services. Mass Economics also conducted interviews and roundtables with dozens of stakeholders ranging from early-stage entrepreneurs to the Mayor of Hartford. Mass Economics then led the planning committee in a quantitative and qualitative assessment of six potential Innovation Place locations. The Mass Economics team assessed potential districts with metrics including density, transit accessibility, presence of amenities and mixed-use development, and district R&D, commercialization, and entrepreneurship activity.
Mass Economics then proposed economic, physical, and networking initiatives for the identified Innovation Place. These initiatives were tailored to Hartford and East Hartford’s unique opportunities and risks. Economic initiatives included an InsurTech Hub to strengthen innovation in Hartford’s insurance industry, a MedTech Innovation District to increase collaboration between Hartford’s hospitals, colleges, and entrepreneurs, and a workforce development initiative to support East Hartford’s aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries. Physical place and networking initiatives were designed to improve local amenities, establish neighborhood gathering spaces, and create networks linking entrepreneurs and students to emerging resources and established companies. Mass Economics then worked with the planning committee to refine the Innovation Place initiatives, gain sponsorship commitments, and submit a successful application for State funds to establish the district.