Small Cities Becoming Hotbeds for High-Tech Growth

By utilizing the strengths of existing business as well as government and academia, smaller cities are becoming hotbeds for the biotech, IT, renewable energy technologies, aerospace/defense, digital media, and a host of other high-tech endeavors.

U.S.-MapHow do you build a technology city? Cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, and Boston already have a substantial technology base and are considered to be vast technological hubs. How can smaller cities hope to rival such tech strongholds?

It’s not easy. A technology city is an intricate set of networks and social relationships — simply building a science park isn’t going to work. A city needs a comprehensive plan that encompasses the following:

• At least one major success story — A brand name draws world-class talent to a city. It also generates a stream of talented workers who often venture off and start their own spin-offs.

• A major research institution — An example is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which over the years has spawned more than 4,000 companies employing more than one million people.

• High-tech talent — Whether from area universities or existing companies, only a place with a rich talent pool can claim to be a tech city.

• Venture capital — Venture capitalists in Austin, Baltimore, Orlando, and other smaller cities are finally starting to understand the high risk/high rewards of the technology industry.

• The proper infrastructure — This includes Web designers, high-speed Internet connections, and law firms, banks, and business services that focus on high tech.

• And collaboration is needed between business, government, and educational institutions.

By incorporating all of these crucial elements, the following cities are making their marks in the high-tech arena.

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Source: Monique Wassenaar Silverio | Area Development Magazine