Expanding access to capital, developing and attracting new talent, improving quality of life, and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion are the top four items Indiana’s tech industry would like to accomplish in 2022.

he Indiana Technology & Innovation Association (ITIA) recently announced its 2022 policy priorities for the tech industry during its annual Legislative Update event co-hosted by TechPoint which brought together Indiana tech leaders and state legislators.

ITIA is the statewide association representing Indiana’s technology-driven companies and partners.

ITIA’s 2022 priorities focus on accelerating deployment of Indiana Next Level Fund dollars into Indiana-based funds and companies, attracting tech talent and remote workers to Indiana, improving statewide digital connectivity, and improving diversity and inclusion in state job training and workforce development programs.

Technology is among Indiana’s fastest growing sectors, with more than 184,000 net tech jobs posted this year generating a $51 billion impact on our economy. With an average wage of $69,813, median tech wages in Indiana are 73% higher than the median state wage (CompTIA Cyberstates 2021).

While the tech industry is poised for continued growth, Indiana ranks low in the amount of venture capital being deployed to Indiana companies and low for entrepreneurship, which are critical drivers for the industry. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce 2021 Report Card shows that while investment dollars to Indiana companies have increased in recent years, the state’s ranking for venture capital activity declined from 30th to 36th compared to other states. Indiana also ranks 42nd out of 50 states for entrepreneurship, according to the Kauffman Entrepreneurial Index.

“Indiana’s technology and innovation industry continues to demonstrate its growth, resilience and ability to transform our regional economies with high-skilled, high-wage jobs,” said David Becker, Chairman and CEO of First Internet Bank and ITIA Board Chair. “There is also an incredible amount of untapped potential in the industry which can be unlocked by injecting capital into the ecosystem to ensure Indiana entrepreneurs can access needed funding to start and grow their companies.”

One of ITIA’s key priorities for 2022 is to accelerate deployment of Indiana Next Level Fund dollars, direct investment into Indiana-based funds and companies, and support the creation of new Indiana-based venture capital funds. The Indiana Next Level Fund was established by the Legislature in 2017 allocating $250M to make investments in Indiana venture funds and businesses.

“We’re incredibly supportive of Indiana’s Next Level Fund and want to ensure those dollars are deployed as quickly as possible into Indiana-based funds and companies to make the most impact at a critical time in our economy,” Becker said. “We also want to achieve the goal of creating new venture capital funds in Indiana that can support ongoing entrepreneurial activity across the state.”

ITIA is also advocating for incentives to attract high-value tech talent and remote workers to the state to help address talent needs for the industry.

According to a June 2021 Remote Worker Survey by Indiana-based MakeMyMove, more than thirty million workers are now permanently remote and nearly one third of these workers plan to move in the next 18 months.

“There is a real opportunity to attract high-value tech talent to our state, particularly workers who are now remote and have greater mobility,” Becker said, “Indiana can capitalize on this opportunity and bring in talent to contribute to our economy and help expand our tech talent pipeline.”

ITIA’s policy priorities encompass four key pillars to encourage growth in Indiana’s technology and innovation industry, and 2022 focus areas include:

Expanding Access to Capital

  • ITIA supports policies to accelerate deployment of Next Level Fund dollars, direct investment into Indiana-based funds and companies, and support the creation of new Indiana-based venture capital funds.

Developing and Attracting Tech Talent

  • ITIA supports state- and local-based incentives for attracting individuals to move to Indiana who can work remotely.
  • ITIA supports innovative ways to update the state’s economic development tools to assist in bringing high-value talent to Indiana, as well as ways to help communities finance talent attraction efforts that drive regional growth.
  • ITIA supports new incentives or adjusting Indiana’s existing incentives, such as the Skills Enhancement Fund (SEF) or EDGE tax credits, to include the creation of internship or apprenticeship programs that train tech talent and lead to employment.

Improving Quality of Place

  • ITIA supports efforts to accelerate fiber deployment to improve connectivity across the State.
  • ITIA supports the continued expansion of high performing Certified Tech Parks (CTPs) by increasing the maximum allowable CTP capture per year from $100,000 to $500,000.

Promoting Diversity, Inclusion and Equity

  • ITIA supports efforts to promote and market state job training and workforce programs, specifically in tech fields, to women, minorities and veterans.

You can hear Becker in the Leon-Tailored Audio above.  It runs approximately 18 minutes.