Last week, John DeStefano, the twenty-year mayor of the city of New Haven was kind enough to invite me for a cup of coffee. We discussed many different issues affecting both the city and the university, and I thanked him for the productive collaboration between town and gown that developed especially during his time in office. This partnership has focused on developing the retail climate around campus, home ownership, school reform, and community service, among other initiatives.
The mayor and I discussed the importance, as well, of economic development, and especially how Yale can invest “idea capital” to stimulate job creation in the city and the region. As you know from my past comments, I am very interested in helping entrepreneurially oriented students and faculty pursue these interests locally. I think of the word “entrepreneur” in the broadest possible sense to include not only the commercialization of technology developed at the university and the creation of new businesses, but also the leadership of non-profit organizations, participation in the local arts scene, and civic engagement.
If these ideas interest you, I noticed that the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute is holding a kick-off event tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at the YEI Incubator, 55 Whitney Avenue (see the Yale Entrepreneurial website for more information). New Haven is a great place to live and work, and especially to start a business or work on urban policy issues.