At this point, entrepreneurship and Silicon Valley are synonymous with one another. To the extent that many view the separate consumption of peanut butter and chocolate as a mortal sin, so too do people see the separation of startups and silicon valley as impending doom for the former. Listen, I don’t have to make an argument for the staggering success of entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, its immense benefits for the country and the world as a whole, or the fact that talent abounds there. My goal is not to dismiss anything about the Bay Area, but whether to explore whether it is possible to posit other cities as promising and proven hubs for entrepreneurship, too.
In a digital world that is becoming increasingly flexible, it shouldn’t be a surprise that many are wondering if their business can thrive outside of the technologically-oversaturated Bay Area of America’s 31st state. Just as workers long for more flexibility, so to do startups founders and CEOs long for more geographical fluidity.
Are There Any Other Worthwhile Cities?
Californians often fall into the fallacious thinking that they are the only state in the country (or at least the only one worth living in if you wish to succeed) but the truth is, a lot of places are thriving — even places in the middle of the country. So, to name a few:
Yes, you read that correctly. Richmond has been on the rise for the past couple of years but was slow moving due to a lack of education. However, the current environment is one of bustling energy with an “on the come up” feel. The city is beautiful, historical, quaint, and looking to emerge on the entrepreneurship scene as a city that blends its historic roots with the exploding age of modernity in an unprecedented fashion. In fact, the town hosts the startup accelerator Lighthouse Lab, run by Larkin Garbee. The city also has an impressive art and culture scene, establishing itself as a hotbed for activity on the east coast.
In the past couple years alone, Cincinnati has seen a startup growth rate of 74%. Something unique about this city is its ability to draw in a host of different types of startups – everything ranging from Silicon Valley tech-style startups to advertising agencies and health and data companies – you can find it all in the home of the Browns. I wouldn’t be too surprised if journalists started to mention Cincinnati in tandem with Silicon Valley.
Combine the strong, small business feel with the added benefit of a lower cost of living, and you have Oklahoma City. Not only is this city listed as one of the places with affordable luxury apartments, but it also offers the ease of paperwork for starting a business – one can finish the paperwork in about a day. Oklahoma City is a great place for recent college graduates trying to make a name for themselves, as well as anyone who wants to get out to the home of the Sooners and make something happen.