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Erick Arndt: Startup community critical to SCV future

Posted: May 16, 2013 7:00 p.m.
Updated: May 16, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Erick Arndt

 

This morning I read The Top 12 American Boomtowns by Bloomberg about the most economically and culturally thriving cities in America.

The great state of Texas grabbed four of those spots (it must be something with those hats), with San Jose being the only city representing California.

It was interesting to see which cities made the list but also why they ranked.

The common thread throughout the list: technology jobs. From New Orleans to Washington, D.C. to Raleigh and beyond, it was tech, tech, tech.

The race is on across the country and the world for cities to establish themselves as tech hubs, and Santa Clarita should compete, too.

It makes sense for our economic and cultural future, as well as our quality of life. And, fortunately, we have the ingredients to manifest it right here in Awesome Town.

 

Tech jobs are good for SCV

If you’re wondering why tech jobs are so important, here’s a quick run-down:

Tech jobs add economic diversity. Texas is not purely relying on energy to butter their bread anymore. Not only did they have four of the 12 spots, but Austin was No. 1. Tech and Entertainment focused on New Orleans to grab the No. 2 position on the list. (Governor Brown, did you read that?) Diversity makes our economy more resilient through the ebbs and flows of the economic cycles.

Tech jobs increase quality of life. I know of dozens of highly-skilled tech people that get up each day to commute over the hill. They work at various companies, but their story is the same. They are sick of the commute, and they’d like to be home more to spend more time with family, be more active in their child’s school, be more active in the church and have more time for leisure. These highly skilled professionals don’t commute because they want to spend more time in their car listening to Tony Robbins CDs; they go where the jobs are. Fortunately, those talented professionals live in Santa Clarita. Getting them off Interstate 5 and more locally is a plus.

Tech jobs pay well. Spend three intensive months learning Ruby programming language, and you’ll find yourself swarmed with offers to start at $80,000 to $100,000. Tech jobs pay significantly more than the national average, and that’s good for the local economy and housing market.

 

SCV has an edge

Here’s the good news: Santa Clarita has many advantages. The attributes below give us more of an edge than most cities on the Bloomberg list.

The tech professionals to fill these jobs already live here.Santa Clarita has three great local colleges producing a constant flow of young professionals, a great quality of life and the tax-friendly enterprise zone.We have a thriving startup community with amazing young leadership launching new technology companies on a regular basis.We have hip and thriving tech companies, including Wayforward, 3D Systems and Influxis already in Santa Clarita.

 

Startups are key to success

Yahoo, Google and Facebook are acquiring startups at a rapid rate. They are competing, too, and they know the company with the best talent wins.

As much as I love it, SCV Startup is not a local rendition of “Shark Tank.”

It was the first step in creating a veritable ecosystem to establish and curate tech companies for years to come. With over 250 tech professionals in the group, we meet monthly to learn how to start and grow startup companies.

In just the last year, we have hosted some of the biggest names in the tech world: Brad Feld, managing director of the Boulder, Colo., venture capital firm Foundry Group, entrepreneur and author; and Jim Armstrong with Clearstone Venture Partners, with offices in Palo Alto and Santa Monica.

SCV Startup has also successfully launched new startups locally and is garnering attention in the tech community with the incredible help of Eric Hayes, Brian Tippy and Chaz Key.

Don’t forget, at one point Google was a startup; so was Facebook and Apple. Now Google is hiring 1,000 professionals for their new campus in Venice.

Tech companies don’t just hire programmers. They employ creative thinkers and artists to help grow the company in new directions.

As a nation, we seek to be more competitive in technology, just as cities like Dallas and Austin.

The race is on. With so many ingredients in place locally, and so much momentum already, this is our time Santa Clarita. Tell Bloomberg A-Town’s coming!

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