Some may call it a publicity stunt — and, since we are writing about it here, it would be a successful one — but we feel the open letter from the New Jersey Tech Council to the New York tech community encouraging its members to cross the river is more than that.
To us, it's another effort by forces in our state to help business and industry grow and flourish. And there can never be enough efforts in that direction.
The letter, penned by Jim Barrood, the Tech Council’s CEO and president, came in response to the latest battles new-era companies Airbnb and Uber are having with New York City and its seemingly anti-business Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“As the cost of living in New York City continues to soar and government officials place ever more onerous regulations on businesses, New Jersey offers a skilled workforce, a high quality of life and a government committed to fostering innovation and encouraging entrepreneurship,” Barrood wrote.
After noting New Jersey’s long history of being leaders in innovation — and we’re still pushing for our license plates to be changed to “The Innovation State,” but that’s for another editorial — Barrood touted efforts by New Jersey to improve the tech climate here, specifically noting the good work being done in Jersey City.
“Entrepreneurs and innovators should take note: While New York continues to shield legacy industries from the disruptive forces of technology, New Jersey is open for business, welcoming new ideas, new ways of thinking and new approaches to solving old problems,” he wrote.
Some would say the welcome isn’t needed — and that in this new world of tech, companies don’t necessarily have massive headquarters that bring a need for real estate, along with jobs and tax revenue. Airbnb and Uber already are operating in our state; this is not an either/or proposition.
The recruitment of business is everyone’s job and should come from all corners.
Choose New Jersey and the other groups in the state’s Partnership for Action (the Economic Development Authority, the Business Action Center and the Office of Higher Education) have led the recruitment and retention efforts, but active efforts by other associations and chambers of commerce are needed, too.
A publicity stunt? Sure. But it got us and others talking about bringing business to New Jersey. And that’s always a good thing.