While tech hubs like Silicon Valley, New York and even places like Boston and Austin tend to get all the attention when it comes to growth and innovation in technology, cities in the Southeast region of the U.S. are starting to shine among the aforementioned tech giants.
Take Charleston, for example. A city known as a top tourist destination is now outpacing the nation in tech growth, according to Huffington Post. It started several years ago with two tech giants, Blackbaud and BenefitFocus, making Charleston their home. Now, it offers more IT-related jobs than Austin or Raleigh (Research Triangle Park) and in 2015 it was growing 26% faster than the national average (the same pace as Silicon Valley).
Head further south to Florida and several Sunshine State cities are projecting growth in the tech sector. Orlando Sentinel anticipates the city will have a big year for virtual reality with the gaming, healthcare and defense industries moving into the market – all which have a strong existing presence in the community with the likes of Lockheed Martin and Electronic Arts. On the other hand, Miami is working hard to create a tech hub in the region with foundations like John S. and James L. Knight Foundation leading the charge. According to Miami Herald, the city has seen explosive growth in coworking spaces for entrepreneurs, with places like WeWork popping up and Cambridge Innovation Center putting down roots to house tech startups.
And it’s not just entrepreneurs putting down roots. Investors are seeing growth and potential in the region. The Brookings Institution ranked Charleston #12 for VC “first fundings” by population and deal concentration. And in Orlando, two large accelerator programs are better focusing investor efforts on the city’s startups, with more accelerators and incubators launching all the time. Work remains to be done, but all signs point to a bright future for the Southeast’s technology sector.