Blog with Rob: Is New York the next Silicon Valley? Not yet.

What do New York City, Silicon Valley, and the rapper Nas have in common? All three have a desire to see tech-company growth from the ground up in America. Just a few weeks ago, Nas and NYC-based tech educator General Assembly announced the formation of the “Opportunity Fund” that will provide scholarships to women, veterans and minorities to learn basic coding, web design and data science. In addition students who accept the funds will be required to contribute 100 hours of mentoring to high school students in their communities.

And not a moment too soon, because New York as the next major tech hub is not progressing as quickly as tech heavyweights predicted or would like. While the amount of venture, angel and private equity investments in New York tech companies has increased 200% from 2009 to 2013 (from $799 million to $3 billion), Silicon Valley saw a total investment flow in 2013 of nearly 4 times that amount ($11.4 Billion).

But don’t completely dismiss the current Big Apple tech scene, either. Major companies like Etsy, Birchbox, Gilt and Foursquare got their start and are headquartered in NYC. But this NY Times article about the nascent NY tech scene hits on one key hurdle to the exponential growth of digital companies in the region: qualified engineers.

Hopefully more programs like the Opportunity Fund, which plans to support the complete basic technological educations of 17 budding engineers will continue to spring up and nurture New York City’s digital growth.

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Rob Basso is a recognized small business expert, successful business owner and entrepreneur.

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