When Bill de Blasio announced his 60-person strong transition team would assist him in selecting the members of his administration, it was interesting to note that there was no international representative on the team, a fact which could be both positive and negative.
The positive: because the world is increasingly organized by topic rather than region, focusing on the topic experts in the transition is the right thing to do. But there are also reasons, or rather unique opportunities, why an international agenda for the mayor makes sense for all New Yorkers.
New York International examines what an international agenda for the new mayor could look like.
Broadly speaking, tech used to be separate from other business and life. Now, nearly all business and city life is tech-related or tech-supported. This means that dynamic urban hubs such as New York City are the global centers for innovation, both for government and for consumers. Governments, CEOs, and trend scouts travel to New York to get an idea of what the future will be. New York-based inventions like Etsy, tumblr, Foursquare, Warby Parker or the Cornell NYC Tech Campus are leading the way in their areas globally. An international agenda could leverage these successes and make a strong case why global companies need to be present and create jobs in the city – the place for applied technology.
HOW SHOULD THIS HAPPEN?
The launch of an “NYC Trend Center” that welcomes international groups interested in seeing the business future of the city would be a big step toward letting internationals know what is happening and where the potential opportunities might lie for starting up new businesses here. The center can as a one-stop shop and highlight some of the great products New York City businesses, universities and the media are working on as well as provide hands-on advice on how to start businesses targeted to international companies and their specific issues.
A New Direction:
– NYC Trend Center
– More international departments
– International House New York
– NYC Honorary Ambassadors
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership currently being negotiated between the United States and Europe will bring the two continents closer together. Not Texas, not the Bay Area, but New York can primarily benefit. An international agenda needs to look into this opportunity, host one of the next talks and let people know that New York’s attitude is: “Nice to do business with you.” Why should New York City get only 1% of the more than $50 billion in suggested economic benefits for the US?
Small affordable work space is no longer an issue. While it is still fairly expensive, there are plenty of options for emerging ventures. Finding the right talents will be the next big issue for the city. An international agenda will look into areas to collaborate with more affordable places like Berlin or Tel Aviv and enable city companies to stay. In addition, an international agenda will bring new vocational training models from successful role models like Austria. The importance of immigrants to the New York City economy cannot be stressed enough. Making it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to come to the US and start businesses is already a high priority on the new mayor’s agenda. A special focus should be given to a pragmatic and fast implementation of any new laws hopefully coming from Washington soon.
The mayor’s office for immigrant affairs should be updated and enlarged to include an “international department” within several of the city’s agencies and institutions. A 2012 report by the Public Advocate’s office included the results of a survey of 625 immigrant and minority-owned small businesses in all five boroughs. The survey found that: “over 90% of business-owners surveyed reported not receiving services from the City as they started up and built their businesses.” By expanding the department of immigrant affairs and using private agencies such as the New York City Economic Development Corporation these services can reach a wider group and be utilized more effectively.
The international agenda should make it known to the world that NYC is open for business by supporting the launch of an “International House New York” where international startups can get a foot in the door with office space, a business network, a place to stay, and mentors who will guide them in how to strategically launch their business in the city.
Make the City More Welcoming to Internationals
New York is a premium brand – internationals working and living in the city know that and choose to live here. However, every premium brand has to fulfill the brand promise, which has always been the dynamic and the opportunity to achieve something outstanding here. High costs are threating that promise at the moment.
While programs like “Immigrant Heritage Week” are wonderful commemorations of the city’s immigrant past, the new mayor should update it to reflect the changing face of New York’s international community – many of NYC’s internationals come here under very different circumstances than the city’s historic population which came through Ellis Island.
An international agenda should include a circle of “NYC honorary ambassadors,” leveraging the passion, commitment, and experience of internationals in New York and international New Yorkers. These honorary ambassadors will further spread the word about New York as a place not just to visit, but also to live and work.
We believe that an open view of world affairs is necessary now more than ever to keep the city prosperous. Other major international cities have a modern infrastructure and processes, which make it far easier for newcomers to find a home, set up businesses, and find their way around. International New Yorkers bring valuable experience and a passion to make the city even better.
An international agenda for New York City is an agenda of opportunity.