What We Do

The Digital Corridor is a creative effort to attract, nurture and promote Charleston's tech economy through a combination of technology-enabled initiatives and business incentives, private business support and member-driven programming.

Talent

Opportunities Abound
"Attending courses at CODEcamp allowed me to hone my web development skills while giving me the opportunity to interact with professionals that are driving Charleston technology community."
  • Ryan Barrineau
  • Developer
  • Blue Acorn

Spaces

Get Working
"As an early stage software company, it was not only important to have a location to grow in but also the means to mature as an organization. The Flagships afforded this flexibility and infrastructure."
  • Earl Bridges
  • Co-founder
  • Good Done Great

Community

Peer Networking
"The Charleston Digital Corridor serves as the central hub for technology companies in the area and what that has done is create a sense of community around the companies that are a part of it."
  • Grier Allen
  • Founder & CEO
  • Boomtown

Capital

Accelerating Growth
"While there are many opportunities for investment, our fund is happy to make growth capital available for Charleston’s tech companies. Michael Knox, Managing Partner, Silicon Harbor Ventures."
  • Michael Knox
  • Managing Partner
  • Silicon Harbor Ventures
STATS

Latest News

View all

9 Tips For New Graduates From Charleston's Tech Leaders

Graduation season is around the corner. As the latest class of graduates prepares to join the workforce, the Charleston Digital Corridor highlights advice from local tech leaders.

ASK QUESTIONS

Don't be afraid to ask questions. Business and careers are intimidating things to talk about. No one has all the answers, so feel free to ask questions because chances are you are going to strike up a conversation and actually be able to talk about something.

Good example, if you get on a plane to fly somewhere, you have a choice to make – do you put earphones on, or do you have a three-minute conversation with the person next to you on the plane? Most people put their earphones on just to zone out. But you're making a conscious decision to pass by a truly captive audience for three hours. I'm not saying that you're going to harass them, but they might have some really interesting things to talk about. And maybe they need someone just like you to work for them. – Eric Wages, Hardware Operations Manager for Google's Berkeley County Data Center. Read more insights from Eric Wages.

USE YOUR NATURAL ABILITIES

The most important thing is to do what you love and what your personal attributes will allow you to succeed at. For example, there are creative people that will never be good accountants. Although there are some creative people working in accountancy, and their jobs are horrendous because they aren't using their natural skills. So try to find the combination of those two. – Jerry Callahan, Founder and CEO of ISI Technology. Read more insights from Jerry Callahan.

KNOW YOUR STUFF

Be competent. Know your stuff. I think that education in the United States has moved to a race, but when you rush through and you're doing calculus in middle school, to use an extreme example, you lose something. I personally would rather have that employee who learns slow but very deep rather than one who raced through to doing differential calculus as a junior in high school but really only knows things about an inch deep. You really need to know what you're going to do at a deep level. That's what makes a standout employee. Knowing a little bit about a lot doesn't really make you that valuable of an employee. – Keith McElveen, President, Chief Technology Officer and Founder of Wave Sciences Corp. Read more insights from Keith McElveen.

SEEK AN EMPLOYER WITH STAYING POWER

There's not nearly enough talent in technology right now. So I would say get into it and find a business that's doing something real. Find one that you really believe is serving a need and will be there for the long haul. – Levi Morehouse, Founder and CEO of Ceterus. Read more insights from Levi Morehouse.

FIND PEOPLE WHO WILL INVEST IN YOU

Find your first job that can support some aspect of learning. Find a job that's going to pair you up with people and surround you with more experienced people who will spend the time to not necessarily train you, but to give you the opportunity to learn. You need to find that first job that's going to invest in your learning. – Marc Murphy, CEO of Atlatl Software (formerly CEO of SPARC). Read more insights from Marc Murphy.

SAY YES TO EVERY OPPORTUNITY

Volunteer while you are not working and always say yes to every new opportunity. You won't really know what you like until you try it, and even if you hate it, you have learned something and gained experience. And you never know what person you are going to meet at that job that you didn't think was perfect for you who might be the gateway to the next thing in your life. – Valerie Sessions, Chair of the Computer Science Department at Charleston Southern University. Read more insights from Valerie Sessions.

PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT

The advice I always give my fresh graduates: I tell them that you've invested a lot of money, time, sweat and tears into your college education so far, and now you've graduated. Like any investment, the value of that investment can go up or down. When you go to apply for your next job or promotion, and somebody looks at your resume, they're going to see the college or university you attended. They're going to determine the quality of your education based upon how much that degree is worth at that time. Not how much it's worth now.

So I tell them, try to protect your investment. You can help protect your investment by giving back to the university by participating on their advisory board, going back to talk to their students, leading an industry projects course. Not financially – some of our students who make a lot of money can invest financially, too, and we will be happy to help them with that. But it's more investing their real-world expertise by going back to talk to the future generation of students. – Sebastian van Delden, Chair of the Computer Science Department at the College of Charleston. Read more insights from Sebastian van Delden.

HIGHLIGHT YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS

For graduates that are interested in cybersecurity or interested in working in technology – we interview a lot of people here, and a lot of them are smart, and a lot of them have work experience. The No. 1 mistake I see, or missed opportunity, perhaps, is to highlight accomplishments. I would much rather know about how someone accomplished a project that had meaningful impact for the company than to know that they understand 14 different programming languages and can write mobile apps in their sleep. – John LaCour, Founder and CEO of PhishLabs. Read more insights from John LaCour.

PROVIDE VALUE TO YOUR COMPANY

I would encourage people entering the workforce to consider that we are still in an age where corporate entities are kind of a requirement. Not everybody can be a freelance developer or an independent consultant.

What people need to understand is that the organization has needs, too. Young people entering the workforce need to understand that the organization exists to provide value to its stakeholders – that's both internal and external. But external customers, they reciprocate to the organization by virtue of money, payment. The internal stakeholders, the employees, need to remember that they are responsible for the care and feeding of the organization.

While they give their time and their skills and their talents to the organization to provide value to the external customer, they also have to remember that the organization needs nurturing. All of that is to say that they shouldn't look at it as, "What can the organization do for me?" They need to say, "How do I help the organization achieve its goals? Which, in turn, helps the organization do good things for me." It really needs to be a symbiotic relationship. – Peter Woodhull, President and Founder of Modus21. Read more insights from Peter Woodhull.

Charleston Cybersecurity Startup PhishLabs Replaces Founding CEO With Early Investor

The Charleston cybersecurity firm PhishLabs has replaced its founding chief executive with one of its earliest investors, saying it hopes the move will fuel more growth at one of the Lowcountry's most prominent startups.

John LaCour, the company's founder, will stay with the company as its chief technology officer, where he'll be tasked with shaping its anti-phishing software and raising its profile in cybersecurity circles. He'll also keep a seat on its board. Read more HERE.

Snagajob Plans to Expand On-demand Service for Hourly Workers in Bid to Reshape Restaurant Jobs With Gig Economy Model

Soon after the job board Snagajob purchased the Charleston startup PeopleMatter, the company made plans to try a new approach to find workers for hourly restaurant gigs: It would fill openings on demand. The idea marked a novel attempt to reshape hourly jobs in the mold of the gig economy, the emerging model of working made popular by companies like Uber. In theory, it would give workers flexibility to choose when they pick up a shift and employers the ability to adjust their staffing in real time. Read more HERE.

Todd Lant, Blackbaud CIO

Charleston, Blackbaud Make An Easy Recruiting Story, Says CIO Lant

The Charleston Digital Corridor's Leadership Profile Series is focused on the individuals who are driving the Charleston tech scene forward. This series is brought to you with support from Charleston Southern University.

Todd Lant is chief information officer of Blackbaud. Headquartered on Daniel Island, Blackbaud provides software, services, expertise and data intelligence to nonprofits, foundations, corporations, education institutions and individual change agents. Blackbaud, founded in 1981, has about 3,000 employees. 

Where did you grow up?

I moved around a good bit as a kid. So cities I would call home are Chicago, Detroit, Nashville, Atlanta, and Boston. All those have fond places in my heart.

How did you come to be in Charleston?

Blackbaud called me up. I had a great opportunity to be part of a company that does more than just deliver product. We do a lot for our customers, and that really excited me. So I hopped on the opportunity and found myself here.

At the time, I was at a place called the Houston Independent School District. It was the first job I'd had where the outcomes of what we delivered were more than just corporate financials. Everything you did impacted students and their potential futures, so that really probably lit my passion for working someplace where there was more to it than just the corporate operations.

In your own words, what does your company do?

We lead uniquely at the intersection point of social good and technology. We provide software, services, data intelligence, and meaningful thought leadership for the social good space. That social good space is pretty comprehensive. It includes nonprofits, foundations, corporations, learning institutions, and now, it also includes the individual change leaders who support them in leading that change.

What was your first job, or most memorable early job? What did you learn from it?

I had a great opportunity right out of college. I joined a company called Lithonia Lighting. It's a large manufacturing company in Atlanta and they were in the middle of a large IT transformation. There were four of us selected for a leadership training program for IT, and we were able to spend a short period of time in every area of the business learning about how their business worked and how technology enabled that. That was really a great start to a career that gave me a lot of diversity and married the technology side of things with business.

How would you describe your organization's culture?

It starts with a passion for social good. We're a purpose-driven company that is passionate about helping customers use technology to make a difference in the world. Oftentimes we say it's as important as code here, and having a culture that people are attracted to and continue to facilitate is really important.

We're a technology company – innovation is paramount to what we do, and we're in a state of innovation now that's really unprecedented. So that permeates into everything we do culturally. We work very hard to ensure we foster that at all levels of the organization.

And then we've got a set of corporate values that I think really reflect the culture here. "We work as one" is about working together to do more than we could do working individually. "We bring heart" is about the passion we have for our customers, for the outcomes we deliver. "We expect the best" is about operational excellence and making sure we put quality into everything we do. "We invent possibilities" is back to the innovation idea – you've always got to be inventing, always got to be innovating. And then, "We give back" is a big, big part of our culture here. We do a lot to give back to the community. Most of our employees volunteer for various events around the cities they live in. Most of our executive leadership serves on nonprofit boards. We have a variety of CSR initiatives, such as volunteer for vacation and employee-led community grant-making, which really reflects our culture quite nicely.

What is your management style? Why is that your approach?

I'm really passionate about outcomes, about what I do, about bringing technology to bear in business. So my management style tends to reflect that. I like people around me with energy. I like people that challenge me. I challenge my folks, so I expect them to deliver, not always with a lot of direction but in the right direction. I like to have fun, too.

What lessons have you learned from good bosses? Bad bosses?

I've worked with a lot of really successful folks that have been successful in very different ways. So there are different paths to success. It's very easy when you pick up the latest self-help book to get so focused on the path and lose sight of the outcomes. But what I've really learned is that outcomes matter and everybody succeeds in different ways. So working toward successful outcomes at your own pace is really important.

What's the hardest or most important lesson you've learned in business?

It's really important to continue challenging myself. If you're the smartest person in the room, get out of the room. Go learn something, go talk to a customer, or go get a product demo. Go figure out an area of the business that you don't know a lot about and figure out how you can make it better. Without that challenge, I think you're just sub-optimizing your potential.

Do you have a routine that's important to your day? A morning ritual, meditation, etc.?

I'm not as superstitious as hockey players, but I do have a routine. A healthy prayer life really helps keep my priorities in alignment. Hugging my girls daily is very important to me. It brings me back here every day to fight hard to change the world, to make a difference.

I start every day with my team first thing in the morning and have a stand-up meeting. Starting the day with the team, getting us focused, making sure there's good, solid communication is important to me. I like to exercise every day. It keeps my head clear, keeps me physically in better shape.

And I do like some loud music. When I ride to work, when I'm working – I like my music, and I tend to wear headphones in the office. I'm a rock guy. Ranges from groove metal to just about any other kind of rock.

What obstacles have you faced building your business? How have you overcome them?

Every place I've ever worked in IT, you face similar challenges: There's always way more to do, way more that you want to do, than you have resources to get done. So it's really important to start at the top, making sure your IT strategies align with your corporate strategy, making sure that's very clear for everybody on the team. And then when you drop down to the next level, making sure your priorities are very clear, that you are executing well against those priorities and measuring outcomes, focusing the resources you have to maximize them to get the right things done.

What do you look for in the people you hire?

The hiring world has changed quite a lot. We now hire folks very differently from when I was starting my career. We hire folks we expect will change jobs or roles every two to three years. And so, it starts with culture. It doesn't just start with skills. We're looking for future leaders in the company. We want folks who are passionate about our mission. Those who fit well with our values that I talked about a moment ago, so as they do progress in their careers, the strongest ones desire to stay here at Blackbaud and they are successful because of that.

We care about aptitude and technical ability obviously, as well. We are a tech company and that's paramount to what we do. But it starts with culture and our values when we recruit folks here.

What is your biggest pet peeve in business or amongst colleagues?

I am fairly high energy. I love being around high-energy people who are passionate about what they do, who drive things forward, who care about outcomes. When I work with folks who start to get a little bit complacent at times or don't seemed to be focused on outcomes, I really give them a lot of attention to help get them to a place where they're on board with aggressively moving the agenda that we have forward.

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?

Doing what you love and loving what you do go hand in hand, and that generates not only passion but the drive you need and the fortitude you need to be successful. I think sometimes we lose focus. I've mentored some folks who chased a title or chased dollars or chased a business opportunity and let go of that focus. And they really were less successful because of it in the long run.

What advice would you give new graduates seeking to work in the tech industry?

First of all, congratulations. I think it's a great career. It's a career that is going to be around for a long time. Tremendous, diverse opportunities. And it's a challenging career. The advice I would give is, it is constantly changing, and that is going to accelerate and continue to accelerate, so remain focused on career learning, constantly staying abreast of what's going on both in business and technology. And you'll have a great career and have fun doing it.

What do you see as the future of your company?

Blackbaud is the world's leader in delivering cloud solutions to the social good community, and we're really just getting going there. Our vision is to power the ecosystem of good that builds a better world. . In order to do that, it looks like a couple of things. It looks like continuing to innovate in what we do, in delivering those solutions. It looks like figuring out new ways and improving the ways we already have connected our customers to advance the social good movement. Ultimately, it's about building the tools that our customers need to succeed at their missions.

What one person has been the biggest influence on your business life? And why?

I'm going to give you two. First, my mom. My mom was very successful in her career. She was masters educated, and when I was a freshman in high school she decided she wanted to change careers. She went back to school – tremendous work ethic, tremendous confidence – and reinvented herself and ended up being the controller of a multi-company conglomerate. Very successful. And so I go back to that often. You can change yourself. You can make a difference. You've got to work hard to do it.

I also have a professional mentor that I've worked with for many, many years in the technology space. He's really been tremendously helpful in keeping me true to who I am, keeping me focused on really delivering what I can, not only for my company but for customers and what they do. Keeping me tied to my personal strengths. He had some adversity in his life that really changed him and changed his focus in his career, and I've been able to learn from that, too, which will hopefully save me some pain in the process.

Are you a Mac or a PC? iPhone or Android?

I'm multilingual. I truly carry both a Mac and a Windows Surface Book. I typically carry an iPhone, and I do carry an Android phone from time to time. I have five different tablets that I carry; both Android and Apple. I love technology. I love to learn the differences and understand them, and a lot of that's about knowing my internal customers and our external customers, understanding how those technologies are used in different ways and what their strengths are.

What is your usual Starbucks order?

I like a little bit of dark roast to go with the cream. That's my usual order. When I'm international, I love a flat white. I don't know what's different about it in the UK or in Australia, but I love a flat white internationally.

Outside of work what keeps you busy?

I stay quite busy outside of work. I havetwo daughters, a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old, so I'm busy with their activities and their lives. They challenge me as much as work does, oftentimes. I also serve on a number of boards for local nonprofits, and I really enjoy that work as well. I enjoy triathlons, so I spend time on my bike, in the pool, and going out for a run.

What has it been like building your technical team in Charleston?

It's been good. We recruit nationally, and we recruit in Charleston; it's our largest home. It's a great market for us. It's an easy story when you take Blackbaud's story, Charleston as a great place to live, and a growing and emerging technology community.

Do you see any challenges recruiting tech talent to Charleston?

I think the challenges are national and global more than local. There are technology jobs that are in very, very short supply and very, very high demand. You look at areas like information security, all areas of data intelligence, analytics – we're competing across the globe for the same talent, and there's not enough of it. So there are certainly challenges there. Again, Blackbaud's story and the local market tends to help us with that. But we must be creative like everybody else.

What are your thoughts on how Charleston's technical landscape has grown?

It's been fun to watch. I've been here 13 years now. Blackbaud was one of the early ones, if not the early tech company in town. So two things have happened. One is we've watched folks grow and spread. I attend events such as the iFiveK and sometimes it's kind of a reunion. You see folks move around and start new tech companies. The tech space has really grown, which is fantastic.

We are also in the midst of a digital transformation across the world, all companies have become companies that have tech talent and are doing similar things. So it's fun to watch that community grow as well. We have a big health care market here; we have a big hospitality business here; wehave many other industries. So seeing the technology in those areas grow as well as ours has been really nice to watch. Obviously, aerospace and automotive have grown significantly. So it's a very different space today. It's a great place.

Prepare S.C. Students For Tech Future

It used to be that graduating high school with keyboarding class as our only "technology" course was a reasonable expectation. We probably drove in cars without airbags, and our TV rabbit ears only brought in a few channels clearly.

Luckily, technology-enabled improvements in consumer goods mean that we're safer on the roads today than ever before in the modern era, and with cable, Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, our entertainment options are unlimited –- and available at 30,000 feet.

Unfortunately, in many South Carolina K-12 schools, students are still graduating with technology skills as relevant and reliable as a Ford Pinto or black and white TV. The vast majority of high schools in the state do not offer a computer science course –- and, far too often, keyboarding classes are being used to meet current state graduation requirements for computer science.

Today's workforce demands that we innovate in education. Graduates need to have computational thinking skills and the ability to create and apply technology, not just use it –- all skills developed through exposure to rigorous computer science education. It doesn't matter whether a student is going to major in computer science and take one of the fastest growing, highest paying jobs in the economy. Simply exposing students to K-12 computer science as a foundational subject is critical for all of our students given our technology-enabled workforce and society.

The State Legislature and Department of Education are both supportive of expanding computer science in our state. The Legislature is proposing a bill to meet this goal by expanding access to K-12 computer science. The South Carolina Computer Science Education Initiative would require all public and charter high schools to offer at least one rigorous computer science course, and it would provide the professional learning funds schools would need to prepare educators to teach it.

Research shows that if students' interest in computer science is harnessed early on and developed through the Advanced Placement level in high school, they are much more likely to pursue tech-related careers in college. It's a career field that is growing, both in terms of job opportunities and earning potential. Currently, the average salary in computing occupations in South Carolina is about $73,000, which is nearly double the average salary statewide. But these jobs demand strong candidates, and strong candidates are grown in our schools.

In 2016, only 32 schools offered an Advanced Placement Computer Science in South Carolina. Less than 400 high-schoolers –- the majority of whom were white and male –- took the exam. Less than 1-in-5 were female, and only 27 were black and 12 were Latino. These outcomes are not feeding a workforce hungry for qualified candidates. Rather, these outcomes signal to employers that creating a diverse, skilled workforce is not a top priority.

In South Carolina, we have more than 4,000 open positions and demand for these jobs is growing at 3.7 times the state average. And we're making progress.

Blake Vaught –- a computer science teacher at the Academy for the Arts, Science and Technology in Myrtle Beach –- teaches computer science as a necessary skill for students, comparing it with teaching kids how the car works and not just how to drive. His students are developing problem-solving skills as they become exposed to the design and operation of computer hardware and software. Vaught is also working with area business leaders to provide mentoring and internships for students, allowing them to make real-world connections to their learning.

In Charleston, The Citadel is partnering with Code.org to provide high-quality computer science professional development opportunities for South Carolina teachers in kindergarten through high school.

These efforts should be celebrated. But they need support from this legislation to work toward a goal of computer science for every student that wants to take it regardless of income or race. Jobs in this field are high-paying and growing quickly. Ninety percent of parents want computer science in our schools. Students who take rigorous computer science cite it as one of their top three favorite subjects. And it is a truly foundational subject just like biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics. Why aren't we providing widespread access to a truly rigorous and engaging K-12 computer science?

The answer is that we should be, and we need the South Carolina Computer Science Education Initiative as an investment in our future. It recognizes and adheres to the evolving demands of today's economy, and it signals to employers that we care about producing a skilled and diverse workforce. Let's be sure not to miss out on this opportunity to prepare the next generation of South Carolinians for success.

Kirk King is chairman of the Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation. Ernest Andrade is director of the Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation.

The 6 Best Cities To Start A Business Right Now

Silicon Valley, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Austin and more have well-established and booming startup scenes complete with big companies and investors to impress. But all of those cities have another thing in common. They are pricey and the competition is steep.

Many founders are looking for the next up-and-coming startup scene–a chance to have similar access to investors and large companies but also stay lean.

Andrew Yang, Founder of Venture for America, has been contributing to those new cities for the last five years. His 501(c)(3) places "recent graduates at startups in cities with emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems."

But it also has an Executive in Residence program that brings executives from Slack, LinkedIn, PayPal and more to a smaller location for a year. The executive gets to build growth in another location while being by paid by their company. The company gets to create impact in a community.

What Makes a Location Attractive?

"The things that attracts young people the most is other young people," said Yang. "They would be petrified of Cleveland. But if you are moving with 10 of your friends and there are already 25 there it makes more sense. We are creating a cohort, a community. We see them visiting each other in our other cities. A friend sees someone in Cleveland with an Instagram feed thinks, 'Hey I didn't know that's what Cleveland looks like."

Seattle wasn't "Seattle" until Starbucks, Microsoft and Amazon helped it grow. Before that it was just Boeing and Nordstroms. "How a city like Pittsburgh or Detroit brands is with a hit company. Groupon helped in Chicago. You need a couple of hits. One hit even. Starbucks and Amazon are the best brander you can have," said Yang.

Why Each Of These Cities Could Be the Next Seattle

There's no replacing Silicon Valley so the expectation has to be set first that all nine of these locations have a long way to go. But with continued investment, the right hit company and continued incentives each makes a case for being the next breakout competitor in a crowded space.

1. Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is often described as a city in the heart of the so-called "rust belt," but what so many don't know is that Pittsburgh is now home to Google, Uber and Amazon, some of the most progressive companies in the nation.

"Carnegie Mellon was ranked #1 by Business Insider for schools specializing in software development and have deep core competencies in computer science, robotics, and machine learning," said Brendan Carroll, CEO & Founder of Skycision, a local startup that uses aerial technology and data to aide farmers.

There is an unprecedented revitalization going on in the city driven by universities and talented workforce, making Pittsburgh one of the country's greatest innovation hubs. It's the breeding ground for autonomous vehicle technology – or what we call self-driving cars – a technology developed decades ago by CMU's leading robotics engineers. Now, Uber's Advanced Technology Center calls Pittsburgh home, and in 2016, Uber launched a pilot fleet of autonomous vehicles in the Steel City.

2. Indianapolis

Downtown Indy's largest skyscraper is about to get a big name change – from Chase Bank to Salesforce and they're decking the tower out in shared working spaces, local retailers and more along with 800 new employees.

Financial tech company Smart Asset listed Indy as its 4th best city for women in tech based on gender pay game, jobs filled by women, tech growth and income after housing costs. 1 in 50 engineers in the U.S. were trained at Purdue University. Purdue has the 3rd largest international student population in the U.S. which has contributed to CBRE–the world's largest commercial real estate firm–naming Indy a 2016 Top 5 City for Tech Job Growth.

For those that live there it's a test market for AT&T's new 5G network, Forbes' best place for renters in 2017 (avg. Indy rent is $806), and CNN Money's #1 Most Affordable City.

Companies like The Finish Line (second-largest athletic retailer in the US), Simon Property Group (malls), Angie's List are from Indianapolis.

3. Providence

The State of Rhode Island has made major investments in entrepreneurship. In 2016 they attracted GE Digital, Johnson & Johnson, Virgin and a world renowned Cambridge Innovation Center–an accelerator for innovation enterprises.

Rhode Island has created college tuition incentives to attract new talent and used the existing talent of top nearby research institutions like Brown and Harvard to create an emerging Silicon Valley clone. USA Today ranked Brown #1 in the country for applied mathematics.

"We had to make connections to eds and meds, especially for existing companies," said Stefan Pryor, Secretary of Commerce at State of Rhode Island. "We have an Innovation Voucher Program. If a company is looking for R&D we'll pay for a college or university medical center to do that R&D research. We have made 22 of these arrangements so far and increase the funding year after year. It's helping to fuel the innovation economy."

4. Columbus

It's a wonderful time to start a business in Columbus, OH. Home to The Ohio State University, already one of the largest universities is growing with it's largest applicant class this past year and a record setting year of fundraising.

The city is home to five Fortune 500 companies and is rapidly growing in the healthcare industry with major players like Cardinal Health, CoverMyMeds, and CrossChx..

According to a 2015 report by VentureOhio–an organization that looks to advance entrepreneurship in the state, Columbus office space is 40 percent less expensive than Chicago and 60 percent less expensive than New York City.

Columbus ranks #1 in scaling startups, as well as as #4 for entrepreneurial growth according to the Kauffman foundation. Behind OTAF (the largest angel investing group in the Unites States), Rev1 Ventures, NCT Ventures, and Drive Capital, we are attracting more and more startup companies and entrepreneurial talent.

"We committed $90M in private sector funding if Columbus won the first ever Smart City Challenge with $50M at stake from the USDOT and Vulcan Inc. (which we then did win). That's $140M to develop Columbus, Ohio, to be the benchmark for smart city and innovation in the United States. We're talking autonomous vehicles, public Wifi, a consolidated transit pass, and more," said Jay Clouse, Commissioner at Create Columbus.

5. Charleston

Consistently ranked one of the best cities in the world, Charleston is home to 250+ tech companies and its digital economy ranks highly: 11th in the nation for high-tech industry output and the fastest-growing mid-sized metro for IT.

Charleston was also just ranked on TechNet's "Next in Tech" metro startup economy index. Plus, the Charleston metro ranked 12th in the nation for first funding rounds by deal concentration per capita in 2014.

Charleston attracts 35 new people each day (12,700 net new people each year), two-thirds of which are 18-44 years old and highly educated. Many of the tech professionals behind Charleston's top companies hail from places like New York or Atlanta and cite Charleston's unbeatable lifestyle and collaborative tech community as reasons why they chose to relocate.

6. Chiang Mai

Why is a city in Thailand called "the top destination for digital nomads." Forbesand Tech.co writers have both made interesting cases for this. Travel + Leisure named it #2 on its lists of World's Best Cities. Charleston, mentioned earlier, was ranked #1.

More than half of the battle in entrepreneurship is keeping costs down until profitability is reached. You can live in this city of 1.6 million on less than $500 a month and connect with a community of other like-minded entrepreneurs.

There are some obvious hurdles like pollution and language barriers that don't exist in the other five cities. You wouldn't move a whole team to Chiang Mai. It only fits for certain kinds of businesses. But it still makes the list for risk-takers–which happen to be all entrepreneurs.

Upcoming Events

View all

CODEcamp Kids Summer Camp

CODEcamp Kids Summer Camp is a week-long half-day camp designed for middle school students to promote an interest in computer science and tech careers while expanding on the core STEM concepts from their other classes. Students learn the fundamentals of web development (HTML, CSS and Javascript). CODEcamp Kids - Summer Camp classes:

  • Introduce middle-school students to coding & web development in a fun, engaging format
  • Help students discover a passion and potential career path in the high-wage, high-demand tech industry
  • Engage middle schoolers with several fun projects in front of their computer and has them coding from the first class
  • Are delivered by specially-trained and passionate middle-school educators

Learn more and register HERE.

CODEcamp Kids Summer Camp

CODEcamp Kids Summer Camp is a week-long half-day camp designed for middle school students to promote an interest in computer science and tech careers while expanding on the core STEM concepts from their other classes. Students learn the fundamentals of web development (HTML, CSS and Javascript). CODEcamp Kids - Summer Camp classes:

  • Introduce middle-school students to coding & web development in a fun, engaging format
  • Help students discover a passion and potential career path in the high-wage, high-demand tech industry
  • Engage middle schoolers with several fun projects in front of their computer and has them coding from the first class
  • Are delivered by specially-trained and passionate middle-school educators

Learn more and register HERE.