Midwest emerging as bustling tech hub
Tuesday, March 06, 2018
Tech businesses are leaving
Amazon put out an RFP, and 238 municipalities of all sizes responded with proposals, many dangling luscious incentives to the expanding company — tax credits, tax exemptions, low-interest loans, in-kind rewards, acres of land, etc.
In early 2018, Amazon announced its first cut of 20 finalists. As expected, these included huge megalopolises like
The Amazon cut and other examples signify a marked increase in the
Tech investors, fund managers, developers, property managers, lenders and others creating so-called tech incubators are coming to the table. Incubators are companies dedicated to grooming other startup companies, mostly by offering them services like management training and lower-cost, more congenial office space.
Certainly the smaller, so-called 18-hour cities (compared to "24-hour cities" like
The study also showed that the 18-hour cities have an existing, viable technology hub integrated into their economic base. As well, they boast the synergistic presence of at least one major institution of higher learning — one proven to enrich the community in more ways than by just supplying talented, tech-savvy workers.
And so, increasingly, investors are focusing on the
The selection by Amazon of Chicago, Indianapolis and Columbus as HQ2 finalists has galvanized state and local officials in
For example, late last year Wisconsin, peddling a $3 billion package of incentives, managed to lure Foxconn, the world's ninth-largest IT company (after IBM), to the state. The Taiwanese electronics giant will build a huge $10 billion plant in
The Midwestern states' officials seem to recognize that for every Amazon HQ2 or Foxconn video display plant seeking and/or finding a home in one of their states, dozens more 40- to 50-person firms, manufacturers and otherwise, will consider moving to the region.
Hence the council's role in reminding state officials of the 11-state region's notable strengths: relatively cheap land, plentiful water resources, connected transportation systems, quality schools, highly educated workforces and more.
Predictably, however, such incentive packages as
One legislative fiscal analysis concluded it would take
The council, for its part, has taken the opportunity to remind its members' state and local officials that, in judging such deals, they should not only look at government's recompense and benefit. They should also duly look at the putative benefits to the supply chain, a state's infrastructure and a healthy, robust job market.
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