Delaware Prosperity Partnership promotes Delaware as a premier location for companies to locate and expand, and supports local entrepreneurs and innovators.
In keeping with this edition’s theme of entrepreneurship and optimism, we shine the spotlight on one of our own, Ariel Gruswitz, Director of Innovation at Delaware Prosperity Partnership.
What does innovation mean in terms of what you feel is the mission of your job?
Gruswitz: I think there are a couple different aspects to it. In the science and technology world, innovation is asking, “Is there a more efficient way to do this?” or “How can we think outside the box in a way that’s beneficial for the business or the organization, but also for society?”
The stereotypical use of [the term] is in the science and tech areas, but it really applies to any kind of organization or company that’s trying to do things differently, whether it’s making a new product or creating a service.
I also think there is a cultural aspect to it: In Delaware we also focus on making the culture more inclusive and welcoming to all people, which then supports an even more robust ecosystem.
What is it about Delaware that helps it be more innovative?
Gruswitz: Just as our ads say: “Delaware is much bigger because of its size.” And it’s not only size, it’s access in another way as well—access to thought leaders, entrepreneurs, start-ups and researchers. Time and time again we hear that access in Delaware makes connectivity easier.
We have a rich 200+ year history of science and technology in this state. In many ways, this is a unique place. And we’re focused on convening the entrepreneurs and start-ups to ensure we can better understand the resources needed to truly capitalize on this remarkable talent pool and its potential.
Is there any particular area where you think Delaware could compete in that push for innovation?
Gruswitz: Actually, I think we are on that journey now. Because of my background, I see a real opportunity with agriculture, and I spend a decent amount of time trying to connect the stakeholders together. How do we connect the digital technologies that are being developed in the northern part of the state with the growers downstate?
Agriculture is one area. Another is biosciences, where we have an interesting community. It’s not a stereotypical scenario and points to another value-add of Delaware’s science and tech community. For us, it’s all the companies that make life sciences discoveries possible whether it’s creating instrumentation, research organizations, manufacturing organizations, or the mix of chemistry/bioscience companies.
What opportunity are you most excited about for Delaware as you look at 2020?
Gruswitz: One event that a lot of us are working on together is NeoFest. It’s going to be May 7 at the Chase Center.
For us, NeoFest means the celebration of what’s new in tech and start-ups. There are a few different elements to it. It’s a tech start-up competition, which DPP is sponsoring along with the State. We’re offering three significant top prizes. Start-ups from anywhere can apply, but if they win, they have to build their tech start-up in Delaware.
It’s also going to be an entrepreneurial summit, where people can learn about entrepreneurship in technology. There’ll be an innovation showcase for start-ups. And large existing companies can come in and talk about exciting new technologies they’re working on.
It’s really been a great exercise so far. It’s inviting and encouraging [a variety of organizations] to work together… If we’re all pulling together, I think we’ll all benefit.
Have a suggestion for our spotlight? Email us at email@example.com