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Tech Impact Collaborative Advances Effort to Grow Digital Economy of the Berkshires
08:07AM / Wednesday, May 11, 2022
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Tech Impact Collaborative, an ongoing collaboration of 1Berkshire, the Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC), and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at BCC, completed their initial two phases of work to grow a more inclusive digital and tech-enabled economy in the Berkshires. 
 
This collaborative of three organizations, initially formed in 2020, has held over a dozen classes, workshops, webinars and panels through the OLLI platform, engaging more than 1,000 individuals across the Berkshires and beyond. 
 
In September 2021 this collaborative, through staff capacity of 1Berkshire and the BIC, and volunteer capacity from OLLI, began working with the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) through a facilitated assessment of the Digital Economy of the Berkshires. This assessment was immediately followed by a three-month-long series of deep dive strategy development workshops and focus groups with CORI, leading to the eventual establishment of a series of seven core strategies to grow the region's digital economy over the next five years. 
 
Supported by financial support of Greylock Federal Credit Union, National Grid, and Berkshire Bank, the Tech Impact Collaborative shares the results of its work to date as it begins the process of building a network and programming Board of Directors. This Board will utilize the assessment and strategy as a scaffolding through which to develop and launch programs, efforts, and initiatives that tactically and strategically develop this emergent and high-growth industry set in the Berkshires, with a heavy focus on equity and support for populations historically underrepresented within this industry. 
 
Both the assessment report and the seven core strategic components of this ongoing work are now publicly available on 1Berkshire's website at https://1berkshire.com/tech-impact-collaborative/.
 
"Working hand in hand with the Center on Rural Innovation has linked us to immense talent capacity and meaningful validation through an outside lens," Benjamin Lamb, 1Berkshire Director of Economic Development said. "To hear we are a prime candidate for scalable digital economy growth is not only reassuring, but also inspiring as we now seek to activate the opportunities in front of us." 
 
As the first two phases of this work came to a point of completion, the Tech Impact Collaborative also became new members of the Rural Innovation Network, a group of 26 rural regions and communities from across the country all tackling the issue of rural tech innovation and digital economy growth. 
 
"The caliber of work by CORI, and the access to a talented peer network from across the country, is truly laying a fantastic foundation for us to build off of," Ben Sosne, Director of the Berkshire Innovation Center said. "With our partners across the region, we can see how valuable and meaningful this work is, and how beneficial it will be as we launch into applying for funding to bring potential opportunities to reality." 
 
By making both the assessment and seven core strategies publicly available on the 1Berkshire website, the Tech Impact Collaborative hopes that individuals, organizations, and partners from across the region can leverage this resource to both join in on the collaborative's work, and also take ownership and action through a collective impact approach. 
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