Greentech innovators don’t work in a vacuum. Turning their vision into reality takes the right mix of forward-thinking inventors, a highly skilled and experienced workforce, and leaders willing to give the right kind of support to startups and established players alike. In short, it takes the right team in the right place.
You’ll find both in Connecticut. It’s a place where greentech leaders are empowered -- not just to create revolutionary products, but also to turn those great ideas into something tangible. How? By drawing upon the unique advantages Connecticut offers -- like the fifth-highest percentage of engineers and scientists in the nation, and a workforce with a 33 percent higher concentration of high-tech workers than the national average.
While Connecticut is ranked among the four most innovative states in the country by Bloomberg news, that history of innovation is nothing new here. Connecticut’s been blazing trails in the fuel-cell industry since the 1960s, when a Connecticut manufacturer led the development of fuel cells for NASA’s space missions.
Today, Connecticut ranks third in the country in total fuel cell patents, and nearly a third of all the nation’s fuel cell jobs are in Connecticut. And Connecticut’s expertise continues to extend throughout the nation’s green energy economy, as the state creates jobs for the design, construction and installation of energy-efficient materials like solar technology.
Find a home for powerful partnerships
When it comes to helping greentech reach the next level, state government and the private sector are truly on the same page, combining efforts to help Connecticut companies stay at the forefront of innovation and finding equally innovative ways to fund their leading-edge work.
Take the Connecticut Manufacturing Innovation Fund, for example, a brand-new, $30 million package of special programs and incentives geared to help manufacturers lean up, retrain and recapitalize. The goal is to ensure Connecticut companies can be among the most competitive anywhere when it comes to producing greentech products -- be they solar modules, fuel cell stacks or something that hasn’t even been conceived of yet.
But chances are it soon could be. After all, Connecticut is home to the Fraunhofer Center for Energy Innovation, just one of seven such research centers in the country, which will focus on developing new technologies to advance the field. The center is the result of an innovative partnership between The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the University of Connecticut, and Fraunhofer USA, the American subsidiary of Europe’s largest applied R&D organization.
What's more, the state has made funding and deploying greentech a top priority through a series of initiatives aimed at increasing greentech use across the state. The state’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy will mobilize public and private partnerships to enhance the sustainability of clean energy initiatives.
Among the successes of this strategy: Connecticut is home to the nation’s largest fuel cell plant, an infrastructure investment that is accelerating the reliable generation and distribution of fuel cell power. On a similar note, one of the state’s major transportation networks -- CT Transit -- has operated fuel-cell buses since 2007. And New Haven, one of New England’s largest cities and home to Yale University, now hosts a number of significant fuel cell installations, including a fuel-cell-powered city hall.
And to help get more greentech projects off the ground, Connecticut created the nation’s first “Green Bank,” The Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA), which offers incentives and low-cost financing to encourage homeowners, companies, municipalities and other institutions to support renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Launch in a hotspot for greentech growth
Entrepreneurs and companies face a wide range of technical challenges when it comes to creating a greentech product. Fortunately, choosing where to establish their businesses isn’t one. Choose the state that’s continually ranked among leading hotspots for innovators and greentech gurus. Put the Connecticut advantage to work for you.
Visit http://ctforbusiness.com/ind/greentech to learn more about how innovators are leveraging Connecticut’s advantages to build the green technology economy of the future.