Innovation is accelerating in the Southeast. Why? Because tech hubs like SF and NYC are saturated, and tech startups just can’t afford the overhead costs alone in these cities. This provides an immense opportunity for innovation in the Southeast for companies considering an east coast hub. Within the Southeast, there are some of the largest and most innovative research parks in the U.S. and the world offering a place for tech companies to thrive among tech giants and game-changers.
Research Triangle Park
To the north there is Research Triangle Park (RTP), located in North Carolina, which is the largest research park in the U.S. and among the largest in the world. Research Triangle Park is named for the major research universities surrounding it: Duke University, NC State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The park covers 7,000 acres, houses more than 200 companies, and employs 50,000 workers and 10,000 contractors. Some of the companies in RTP include the second-largest IBM operation in the world, one of GlaxoSmithKline’s largest R&D centers, Cisco Systems’ campus, Lenovo and Verizon. RTP provides an opportunity for tech companies in various sectors to be a part of a high-tech development center among some of the most recognized and pioneering companies in the world.
Cummings Research Park
Over to the west of the region, Cummings Research Park (CRP), located primarily in Huntsville, Alabama, is the second largest research park in the U.S. and the fourth largest in the world. The University of Alabama in Huntsville serves as the anchor university for the park, as most of its graduates earn degrees in science and engineering. CRP covers more than 3,800 acres, houses more than 300 different companies, and employs approximately 30,000 people. Some of the companies in CRP include Lockheed Martin, the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, and AEgis Technologies. The major industries at this research park are aerospace, defense, engineering, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, software development and information technology, so tech companies in these sectors can become a part of this innovation hub in the Southeast.
Central Florida Research Park
Down south, Central Florida Research Park (CFRP), located in Orlando, Florida, is the largest research park in Florida, the fourth largest in the U.S. based on the number of companies, and the seventh largest in the U.S. based on the number of employees. CFRP runs adjacent to the University of Central Florida, the largest university in the U.S., and hosts a variety of government organizations and private corporations. CFRP covers more than 1,000 acres, has more than 100 partners and employs 10,000 individuals. Some of the companies in CFRP include the Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, the Air Force Agency for Modeling and Simulation (AFAMS), Boeing, Aon Hewitt and Hewlett-Packard. Tech companies, especially those developing technologies that can aid the Department of Defense, should consider joining this research park in Florida and be among these tech notable organizations.
From North Carolina to Alabama to Florida, it’s clear that the research parks in the Southeast offer a hub for tech companies from all realms. So next time a tech company thinks of where their HQ should be, the Southeast region has a lot to offer as it’s on the cusp of innovation and technological advancements – plus the weather is pretty perfect year-round. I’d say that’s a win-win.