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We Are Made in NY: Tech Thrives in NYC

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On Tuesday I joined Mayor Bloomberg and the New York Tech Meetup to unveil We Are Made in NY, a program that celebrates over 900 locally based startups, and helps people find a job, learn to code, or launch a new tech company -- all with the full support of New York City government.

The goal of We Are Made in NY is the same as NYC Digital's mission: to make government services easier to navigate digitally, and to support NYC's booming tech industry. It was born because we regularly meet one-on-one with startups, or speak at industry events about the City's wide array of tech sector resources, and the response is always incredibly positive. But we wanted to reach more people, to make sure that everyone interested in innovation knew what NYC had to offer.

We also learned in our outreach that people were amazed to hear that some of the Internet's most powerful companies are based right here -- and hiring for thousands of jobs. Companies like 10gen, Appnexus, Artsy, Buzzfeed, Daily Beast, DoSomething, Fab, Gilt, H. Bloom, Kickstarter, LearnVest, Meetup, Quirky, Rent The Runway, Seamless, Songza, Shutterstock, Warby Parker, Vimeo and ZocDoc. We think it's important that people curious about moving to New York know that this critical mass exists -- that there is such a thriving technology ecosystem that if your first gig or startup doesn't work out, there are thousands and thousands of other opportunities -- and easier ways to find them.

The tech sector traction is living proof of the stunning sector momentum that we have witnessed over the past several years in New York City. Tech jobs have increased 30 percent from 2005-2010 in New York City, to 120,000. From 2007-2011, venture capital investing increased by 32 percent, even when it declined everywhere else, including Silicon Valley. And in 2012, tech acquisitions in New York City totaled $8.3 billion, ranking it second in the nation, and above Boston.

We launched We Are Made in NY to scale our outreach about these milestones and programs, and create a "one-stop shop"online that aggregates all the industry resources offered by the City of New York. To name a few: free technology classes for novices, help for women -- and minority-owned businesses bidding for government contracts, schools that focus on technology education, funding for early stage and civic-minded startups, competitions for free fiber build outs, support for immigrant entrepreneurs and up to $400,000 to fund training for your employees.

To help jobseekers, the We Are Made in NY website features the list of over 900 digital companies that base 75 percent or more of their development in New York City. It also features an updated version of the interactive Made in NY Digital Map, unveiled last year at the fifth anniversary of Internet Weeek NY, which plots the locations of all tech companies across the five boroughs, with direct links to job listings for every company hiring.

To introduce We Are Made in NY to the world, we let the city's innovators speak for themselves. Through the images, videos and words of a citywide awareness campaign, New York's entrepreneurs reflect the creativity, diversity and vibrancy of our technology community. Beyond the six companies featured in our campaign, which represent a diverse range of products, founders and locations, any New York City company is invited to make a video, or tweet and tumbl why New York City is an amazing place to launch a startup with hashtag #madeinny. Our hope is that a young student who sees these images on the subway or at a bus stop is inspired to pursue a career in tech. Or that a fledgling startup is able to attract engineers to join and launch its venture.

We are incredibly proud that so many innovators call New York City home. And we are grateful for their civic-minded spirit of giving and support. The impact of We Are Made in NY campaign is significantly larger thanks to generous support from our media partners, such as Advertising Age, Buzzfeed, Guest of a Guest, Mashable, Reddit, Shutterstock and Songza and WordPress.

The generosity does not stop there. Just last week in his State of the City address, Mayor Bloomberg announced the launch of Code Corps -- think national guard for techies to build digital tools in emergency situations. Already 14 partners have signed on, including Etsy, Facebook and graduate school engineering programs. This is only the latest example of the altruism of the tech community. During Hurricane Sandy, startups came together to share office space through the innovative Sandy Coworking initiative.

As Fred Wilson said at the opening of the visionary Academy for Software Engineering, there has never been a more exciting time for NYC tech. Through We Are Made in NY, through the resounding momentum of our City's innovators, through strategic investments in the City's infrastructure and STEM education system, and through the stories of our incredible tech community, we are proud to bring this message to the world.