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Tech Hub: Seattle

Surrounded by water, mountains and forests, Seattle is more than just one of the most picturesque cities in the northwestern U.S.

Home to tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft, Seattle also offers one of the most bustling technology and startup scenes in the country. The city has a strong entrepreneurial community, great schools, and a huge network of financiers and advisors. According to Business Insider, Seattle experienced 110 percent deal growth in 2015 and 26 percent average growth since 2012. “It has a history of great tech and manufacturing companies that has created a fertile environment for startups to grow,” says Danny Pickford, CEO and founder of elarm, a Seattle-based startup.

Startup Seattle

Under Seattle’s Office of Development, a program called “StartupSeattle” helps to foster startup communities, improve diversity and inclusion in tech and expand opportunities for entrepreneurs. “It’s a great way to find out about events and resources like co-working spaces and classes in the area,” says Pickford. However, like most tech hubs, there is still space for improvement to truly cater to entrepreneurs. “It would be great if startups were given a break on some of the Seattle business taxes when they were in the development phase of their products,” explains Pickford. Still, Seattle is moving in the right direction and Washington received a B+ in the “tax-friendly” category of CTA’s latest Innovation Scorecard.

University of Washington

Located about four miles from the Space Needle is the University of Washington. Its Arthur W. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship promotes innovative thinking for students. The center hosts many business and entrepreneur competitions throughout the year for its students and also offers an entrepreneurship certificate to help students gain real-world experience and mentoring from the best of Seattle’s thriving entrepreneurial community.

“The University of Washington has an exceptional engineering program that we have leveraged to source undergraduate interns,” says Pickford. “Also, the University of Washington teamed up with an accelerator and a VC fund to create Startup Hall, a public/private partnership by the University.”

Established Players

Companies like Amazon and Microsoft driving the Seattle technology industry give entrepreneurs goals to shoot for and companies to emulate. “They add to the talent pool. Established companies not only attract, but actively recruit tech employees to Seattle,” says Stacia Beer, marketing director of elarm. “Once a contract is done or it’s time to move on, sometimes people want to stay in the area and either start their own company or join smaller companies.”

Having tech giants around the city also contributes to networking opportunities that other cities lack. “Being able to network and surround ourselves with experts in the technology and startup world is a tremendous resource,” says Colette Courtion, founder and CEO of Joylux, another Seattle startup.

Justin Siraj, Coordinator, Publications, CTA