Friday, December 12, 2008

Chasing Technology - great article on Columbus

Great Chris Nelson article on central Ohio's entrepreneurial climate in the Industry Business Journal:

Chasing Technology

Columbus, Ohio, tops list of growing tech cities, increases efforts to lure innovative new entrepreneurs, companies


The evening skyline of Columbus, Ohio, is not as recognizable as some of its famous brethren, but the growing influx of innovative tech companies could change that. Photo courtesy of Columbus Chamber of Commerce

COLUMBUS, Ohio – As a child growing up in the relatively new city of Phoenix in the early to mid-1980s, I would occasionally fantasize about what the great municipalities of the 21st century would look like. I imagined they were very Jetsonian, complete with moving sidewalks that whisked people about, office towers that soared miles into the sky and flying cars. And each city was covered by a vast dome.

Suffice it to say, I am no Edgar Cayce. In the real world, of course, urban areas are comprised of complex layers of development and decay, and so constructing the metropolis of the future is not that simple. What, then, makes a city technologically cutting-edge?

Click here for the rest of the story

A few other excerpts

" Midwesterners are known for their humility, and this is particularly true with Columbus; the people there were very warm and friendly. It was rather disarming. But it can also prove detrimental to a city that wants to promote itself as an up-and-coming technology hub. Some of the officials that I spoke to at TechColumbus suspect this is the reason why Columbus’ expanding tech sector is such a well-kept secret. As Isaac Asimov once said, “It pays to be obvious, especially if you have a reputation for subtlety.” "

" Since its founding, the TechColumbus Incubator has graduated more than 60 companies and created 293 jobs. In the last five years, incubator tenants have brought in combined revenues in excess of $87 million, raised approximately $53.4 million in capital, and secured $14.73 million in research grants."

"The next day, we visited Dublin, a fast-growing suburb of Columbus with an approximate population of 35,000 and an incredibly dynamic economy. At an early-morning briefing in a conference room at the newly built Dublin Methodist Hospital, Dublin’s deputy city manager, Dana McDaniel explained to us how the community is trying to attract high-tech firms and grow startups. The approach revolves around a concept known as “the long tail” – the ability of the Internet to support microcosmic segments of life. In this case, the Long Tail is the budding entrepreneur.

“I want the long tail,” McDaniel told us. “I want the two guys in their garage that will eventually expand and become the next big win.” The problem is, companies like this aren’t exactly prolific in number, and once they achieve success, they’re likely to take off for larger, more cosmopolitan cities – particularly those located in the Sun Belt.

But Dublin is a neat city with a cool vibe – its central business district features numerous bars and restaurants – and it is pedestrian friendly. Yes, you really can walk to work from your home. That alone makes Dublin an attractive destination for tech entrepreneurs"


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