Chamber Announces New Foundation For Tech in LIC

Frank Casale and Tom Grech discuss the need for tech innovation in Queens. Credit: Jean Brannum

By Jean Brannum |

The Queens Chamber of Commerce announced a new foundation on May 14 to raise $40 million to support tech startups in Queens. 

At the Shi restaurant in Long Island City, the Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Grech spoke with technology entrepreneurs about the plan to make Queens a diverse technology hub. 

Grech highlighted the Chamber’s accomplishment of adding six incubators to the borough. Queens only had two, one at Queens College and another at Laguardia Community College. He gave a shout-out to Greater Nexus, the first accessible shared workspace in Jamaica. There will be fifteen tenants in total. Grech mentioned that 70 percent of the businesses are minority-women owned. 

Grech said that he wants people to establish startups in the borough, especially college graduates who usually leave to start a tech company elsewhere. 

Deputy Queensborough President discusses the need to make Queens a tech hub. Credit: Jean Brannum

Also in attendance, was Deputy Borough President Ebony Young, who spoke about the borough president’s office platform for tech innovation. Young said that after hearing from a report that black and brown people were 100-150 years behind in the tech innovation sector, the borough president’s office wanted to close the gap in Queens. 

“Part of that solving is making sure that you create an ecosystem that fits the diverse spectrum of individuals that live in Queens,” Young said. 

Recently, Young and other members of the Borough President’s office traveled to Lagos Nigeria to learn more about creating a diverse tech hub. Young wanted to connect with black-owned tech companies and decided to travel to what is commonly referred to as Africa’s “Silicon Valley.”

Technology can be integrated into every industry, Young said, and AI is the newest technology everyone can use in their business. 

AI expert Frank Casale gave a short statement on the widespread use of AI and how people can use it to help their business like building websites. Casale said his overall goal is to make Queens a global tech hub, which he has already seen happening. 

 “I will tell you, there are people now in the Czech Republic, talking about Queens based on these discussions,” Casale said. “There are people now in South Africa, talking about Queens people in Medellin, Colombia, talking about Queens.”

A Startup Genome report from  June 2023 put New York City in the second spot in the global ecosystem ranking. Second to Silicon Valley.

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