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Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA) Unveils 2021 Tech Industry Policy Agenda; Urges State to Shore Up Support for Entrepreneurs, Startups, Small Business to Drive Economic Recovery

November 19, 2020 3:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • Indianapolis, IN – The Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA), the statewide association of Indiana’s technology-driven companies and partners, today announced its 2021 policy agenda during a virtual meeting with tech industry leaders and state legislators co-hosted by TechPoint.

    Technology is Indiana’s fastest growing sector, with more than 184,000 net tech jobs this year creating a $15.6B impact on our economy. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a detrimental effect on innovation and entrepreneurship that fuels tech job growth. According to new Kauffman Foundation research, the pandemic caused a sharp decline (37%) in new business creation in the first weeks of the pandemic, yielding a larger impact on entrepreneurship than the Great Recession. 

    Key to ITIA’s policy priorities this year will be shoring up support for state programs and efforts that facilitate entrepreneurs, drive new business creation, help grow tech and innovation jobs and attract tech talent to fuel our state’s economic recovery.

    “Ensuring Indiana’s entrepreneurs and startups have access to capital, talent and resources to grow companies and create jobs is more urgent now than ever before as our state and local economies work to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said David Becker, President and CEO of First Internet Bank and ITIA Board Chair. “Now is the time to double down on Indiana’s support for entrepreneurs, innovators, startups and small businesses as an engine to fuel our recovery, and ensure that Indiana is best positioned to welcome the tech jobs and workers of the future.”

    ITIA’s policy priorities include efforts to expand access to capital for Indiana technology companies, grow the tech talent pipeline, enhance quality of life and place in Indiana, and improve diversity, inclusion and equity.

    ITIA formed a new Equity Committee this year to help identify and close equity gaps impacting underrepresented populations in the tech industry and beyond.

    “Absolutely critical to creating a thriving tech community are efforts to improve diversity, inclusion and equity in our state,” said Ade Olonoh, founder of Formstack and investor at Starting Line and Chair of ITIA’s new Equity Committee. “ITIA launched a new Equity Committee this year to do our part as an industry to combat inequities, and ensure Indiana’s growing tech and innovation community is vibrant, diverse and representative.”

    Below are highlights from ITIA’s policy agenda:

    Expand Access to Capital

  • Encourage robust investment in the 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, which funds critical and proven programs to support entrepreneurs and early-stage tech companies, including the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants.
  • Strengthen commitment to the Venture Capital Investment tax credit program by raising the annual cap and supporting future expansions of the program to better compete with neighboring states that offer larger credits.
  • Invest in and accelerate deployment of the Next Level Fund, and focus on a dedicated state effort to promote, educate and facilitate the creation of new Indiana-based venture capital funds.

  • Grow Tech Talent Pipeline

  • Continued funding and resources to help Indiana schools meet the requirement to provide computer science education by 2021.
  • Incentivize and provide support for the creation of apprenticeships, internships and tech trade schools, and expand technology- and innovation-based Career & Technical Education (CTE) pathways.
  • Expand IT credentials offered through state workforce training programs including Next Level Jobs, and incentivize Indiana’s education institutions to offer IT credentialing.
  • Implement state- and local-based incentives for attracting individuals to move to Indiana who can work remotely, i.e. clarify that remote workers are eligible for EDGE tax credits.
  • Enhance Quality of Life and Place

  • Expand investment in the Next Level Connections Broadband Grant Program, and support the creation of state and local programs that help increase broadband adoption among consumers and businesses.
  • Continued support for high performing Certified Tech Parks (CTPs), and reauthorization of Indiana’s Entrepreneur and Enterprise District programs to encourage, develop and support entrepreneurship and small business development.
  • Identify and remove barriers to developing, testing and deploying autonomous vehicle technology.
  • Support efforts to make our state more friendly to clean energy technology and innovation, and oppose efforts to halt Indiana’s transition to clean and renewable energy sources.
  • Encourage the Indiana Destination Development Corporation to highlight companies, entrepreneurs and tech talent who have chosen Indiana as part of its efforts to rebrand and promote the State.

  • Improve Diversity, Inclusion and Equity

  • Require State-funded entities, such as the IEDC, Elevate Ventures, and Next Level Fund, that invest in Indiana businesses or venture funds receiving state dollars to record and report annually on the number of investments and the amount of money invested into women, minority and veteran owned companies.
  • Broaden Computer Science to be more representative of various tech disciplines to help attract girls and students of color to pursue tech credentials.
  • Support Governor Holcomb’s initiative to create a Public Disparity Portal to show how state programs are working and identify disparities.
  • Create a Statewide Public Law Enforcement Database and requirement for law enforcement agencies to collect, maintain and report data, including on egregious officer misconduct, detentions and use-of-force, as well as demographic information about arrests and detainees.

ITIA’s complete policy priorities can be found here.

Indiana technology speaks for itself.

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