How does your city support business growth? Strong examples here.
“Chase your dreams but always know the road that'll lead you home again.” -- Tim McGraw
March 20, 2020
Good morning passengers!
As we've mentioned before, Silicon Valley is losing some of its allure to startups because of its soaring cost of living and fierce competition for investment dollars.
About 8.2 percent of Silicon Valley-based tech founders, or 1,240 startups, say they will move their companies to another city in the next 12 months, according to Startup Genome's May 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report.
Andrew Goldner, a tech investor with San Francisco-based fund GrowthX, moved to Nashville in 2016 because he believed "Founders shouldn't uproot themselves and move away from their friends and family and away from their customers and move away from the relatively low cost of their state to sit themselves down in the most expensive rat race in America, just so they can be close to their capitalists."
The so-called “flyover” cities are preparing for this sea change in many ways. Here are just a few cities that are aggressively ramping up their entrepreneurial game plans.
1. Indy’s innovation scene about to explode
IndianaMap Framework Data, Maxar Technologies, USDA Farm Service Agency Map data 2020 Google
The wheels are turning for Indy’s 16 Tech Innovation District, a $500 million project that’s been long in the works. The first office building, Innovation Building One, is fully leased and will open in June.
The building overlooks the future Innovation Hub, an “adaptive reuse project” that is expected to open by early 2021. It will house shared office and incubator space, a makerspace, and an artisan food marketplace.
Ian Nicolini, vice president of economic development for the Indy Chamber, described the project’s impact on the city:
“This is not just a real estate development,” he said. “This is a place where key businesspeople, entrepreneurs, people in research and development will all come together with bankers and venture capitalists to help Indianapolis be a city that competes for jobs of the future.”
2. Launch Minnesota Network helps high-tech startups take off
Launch Minnesota is advancing the state’s entrepreneur ecosystem by providing grants ranging from $50,000 to $75,000 to create a network of regional hubs. The grants, awarded to six organizations, require a one-to-one match. So far this has amounted to $900,000 in private funds.
Minnesota will have a hub in each region, and the organizations leading hubs will work with local partners to provide entrepreneurial resources, such as mentorship and workspace. The University of Minnesota is serving as a statewide partner to help support the initiative.
In a statement, executive director Neela Mollgaard explained the mission of the program. “The Launch Minnesota Network will empower and connect entrepreneurs across Minnesota to help get their companies off the ground,” she said. “Working together, we can make Minnesota’s innovation economy a national leader.”
3. Cincinnati launches women's entrepreneurial initiative
A downtown Cincinnati coworking space has launched a women's entrepreneurship initiative, which includes a residency program.
“This is the first residency-based program specific for women entrepreneurs in the region,” Colleen O’Connor, program manager of Women Empowered (WE), said in the release.
The WE initiative aims to empowers women who identify as entrepreneurs and self-starters by creating a growing and thriving community available through a centralized physical and digital hub.
It hopes to reduce barriers to education, development, and capital to help women in Cincinnati’s business community.
To apply, businesses must be defined as a women-owned (51%) organization and must be less than five years old with an established business plan or demonstrated proof of concept.
4. Kansas City training HR pros on how to attract top talent
A recent study by The Brookings Institution found that tech job creation in cities such as Kansas City and St. Louis is growing by more than 4 percent per year, and filling those openings has become a challenge against such rivals as Silicon Valley.
That's why more than 450 talent acquisition and human resources experts met for TeamKC's third annual training camp late last month.
The initiative was designed to help attendees learn the latest in recruitment, engagement, and inclusion, and featured myriad speakers on topics ranging from tech to diversity issues.
Gartner released a study in December that found HR professionals will need to focus on developing employee skills, broadening the skill sets of managers, and connecting employees to learning opportunities.
5. Nonprofit awards grants to develop high-tech talent pipeline
Wabash Heartland Innovation Network (WHIN), a 10-county consortium based in Lafayette, IN, has awarded almost $1 million in grants to help meet the need for skilled high-tech professionals in north central Indiana.
Indy’s Eleven Fifty Academy, which runs a coding boot camp, received a $99,400 planning grant to evaluate regional needs and coordinate with area chambers of commerce to create curricula and programs aimed at developing next-gen agriculture and manufacturing talent.
WHIN awarded almost $900,000 from the Regional Cultivation Fund to seven organizations: Indiana West Advantage of Montgomery County, Ivy Tech Lafayette, Bane-Welker Equipment, Co-Alliance, Stan Mithoefer Scholarship, Beck’s Hybrids, and Farm Credit Mid-America.
6. Knoxville celebrates regional business excellence
With 11 local companies landing on the Inc. 5000 list, Knoxville business leaders are in a celebratory mood.
The Inc. 5000 list, which ranks the fastest-growing private companies in the US, was the subject of a “conversation” event hosted by the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center in January and the Pinnacle Business Awards in February. In April, the East Tennessee Business Hall of Fame will induct three new honorees.
FUNDING THE FUTURE
KC cloud security company closes $9M Series A funding round
A Kansas City cloud-based security management platform, DisruptOps, has raised $9 million in Series A funding from Drive Capital, along with a previous investor, Rally Ventures.
13 Minnesota tech startups receive $344,000 in Innovation Grants
Launch Minnesota has distributed a second round of grants to promising tech startups in the state.
Pittsburgh’s nanoGriptech raises $6M
In a recent news release, Pittsburgh manufacturer nanoGriptech announced that it has secured $6 million in its latest funding round. The company produces dry adhesive solutions.
Twin Cities’ SalesReach lands $1.2M in seed funding
Sales and marketing firm SalesReach, headquartered in Minneapolis, has announced that it has closed on $1.2 million in funding.
Sports tech startup Gryppers backed by nine investors
Gryppers, based in Raleigh, NC, has raised $215,000 in equity thanks to nine investors. The startup’s founders, both athletes, created the company to develop a product that’s “halfway between athletic tape and a football glove.”
It's ... Name that Flyover city!
In honor of Women's History Month, we want to see if you can identify each of the following badasses with her place of birth. If you know the city, good job! But we're not cruel, so we'll accept the state as well.
Click here for today's answers.
Please click the button below to share stories and offer suggestions or comments