Friday, June 8, 2012

There are people who live in parts of this country, particularly the Midwest, West, or even far Northeast, who don't know much about southern states and cities because they've never visited the region. Some of those people are the ones who confuse Charlotte with Charleston. Sure, the first five letters of the cities' names are the same and they're both in the Carolinas, but, as you know, one is in North Carolina and the other is in South Carolina. And as landscapes, tourist attractions, and prevalent industries go, they couldn't be more different. To put it simply, Charlotte is more of a southern metropolitan city whose downtown boasts skyscrapers, condos, headquarters of large companies, and professional sports teams; Charleston is an historic coastal city with beaches, plantation-style homes, and revered for its food and arts festivals. I know I'm just summing up those cities very briefly and that they each have so much more to offer, but I've never thought the two cities had a whole lot in common.

Then I learned there's one thing Charleston has that I already knew Charlotte possesses: a burgeoning technology industry.

Fast Company published an article this week titled, "Introducing "Silicon Harbor": Charleston, SC, Home Of TwitPic And Amazon's CreateSpace," where it illustrates how and why Charleston is one of the top-10 fastest growing cities for software and Internet technology, despite being the 75th largest metro area in the U.S. "TwitPic and Amazon's CreateSpace count among the household names to emerge from Charleston. Additional prominent companies with footprints in the city include Blackbaud, Boeing, and Google," the article states.

It also goes on to describe some of the prominent tech startups and partnerships in Charleston. But you know what, Charlotte has many comparable entities:

Now, there are a couple of things Charlotte can learn from Charleston in terms of growing its tech community. For starters, Charleston has given itself a cool name for the industry: "Silicon Harbor." Charlotte needs a moniker too. Any suggestions? How about "Silicon Bank"? Secondly, Charlotte needs to land a large technology company. Sure, Apple has built a new data center in Maiden, about 45 minutes northwest of Charlotte, and Google built a data center in Lenoir, but those are both large facilities mainly used to house servers. We need a large tech company in Charlotte, proper, where developers go to work every day. Charleston specifically uses state tax incentives and grant programs to target tech companies. But one area where Charlotte has an advantage, we have a lot more access to venture capital because of all of the current and former banking executives that live here and have started investment funds. Securing sources for capital is essential to startups' survival.

The Fast Company article talks about how software developers, engineers, and other techies are moving to Charleston because they're finding it to be a great place to live. That's the same case with Charlotte, as is illustrated in the video below on the tech community by the Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee, as part of their Carolina Stories series.


Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails