What Has Spurred Significant Job Creation and Industry Growth in NYC with Karen Bhatia


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Karen Bhatia is the Senior Vice President at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, leading Creative and Applied Tech strategies and initiatives to promote economic development and entrepreneurship throughout the city. Karen is also an attorney, entrepreneur and startup advisor. She was the principal of her own law firm advising tech startups on corporate issues, financing and overall business strategy. 

As an entrepreneur, Karen founded ActionCam, an educational platform explaining public policy issues and providing resources for people to take action. Karen also founded and is President of Stanford Startups NY, a business network of over 650 Stanford entrepreneurs and investors in the area. 

She is also on the Board of Trustees of Mott Hall, a middle school in the Bronx. Karen has a B.A. from Stanford University, a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a J.D. from George Washington University Law School.

Episode Links:  

Karen Bhatia’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karenbhatia/ 

Karen Bhatia’s Twitter:  https://twitter.com/karenbhatia 

Karen Bhatia’s Website: https://edc.nyc/

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Here’s the timestamps for the episode: 

(00:00) – Introduction

(03:25) –New York City Economic Development Corporation, NYCEDC, is responsible for driving and shaping economic growth throughout the five boroughs as the city’s economic engine through real estate used for strategic development, building infrastructure, bringing together public and the private sector academia for all and investments in tech.

(05:24) –Some reasons why New York is such an attractive place for technology: NYC access to capital, extremely diverse industries, top-notch educational facilities and organizations, an extremely vibrant startup community and the largest and most diverse workforce in the country.

(09:58) – All of the industries now integrate technology and need a workforce that’s well-versed in technology too. It’s not just technology that’s growing in New York, but also the applications that industries are leveraging there.

(11:24) – Some of the new centers that have been launched in the last five years: Varick Street Incubator, The Cornell and the Technion relationship, the Data Science Institute in Columbia University, NYU’s CUS program, the Urban Tech Hub, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, as well as a program at Grand Central Tech now called The Company, Future Works, The Grid, New York City Blockchain Week in partnership with CoinDesk, New York City Blockchain Resource Center and a Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality lab also located at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

(19:36) – How we ensure that New York stays at the forefront of innovation is the most critical component of all of this. There’s a workforce development component of training for VR and AR technologies as well. Our strategy for technology is to think about how we ensure that tech growth in New York is equitable and inclusive. 

(23:30) – The New York City Center for Responsible AI, an applied research lab focused on real pilots, real applications of AI that are being developed in particular industries or in the public sector.

(26:45) – New York City Center for Responsible AI is intended to come away with practical solutions for people as they’re developing AI. The second component is to think about access to data. The third part is training.

(33:04) – The Fourth Industrial Revolution and what’s coming up, it’s about how we ensure that everybody has access to opportunities, that everybody is able to maximize and realize their potential as well. The second aspect is the future of work. 

(39:39) – Ultimately it comes down to people first and ensuring that whatever it is that we’re working on has an ethical component and is actually used for purposes that we believe in. To ensure that tech is taken to the next level that it’s responsible and that it’s inclusive as well.