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Colorado at Center of High-Tech Job Creation

Mark Marich

Granted, Silicon Valley has the sheer volume, but when it comes to the density of high-tech startups you have to look to Boulder—and Fort Collins—and Denver—and Colorado Springs. A new report that contrasts the job creation dynamics in the innovative tech sector against the entire private sector ranks the top 10 metro areas for high-tech startup density and Colorado dominates the list.

High-tech startups are a key driver of job creation throughout the United States, according to technology policy coalition Engine and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Though they start lean, new high-tech companies grow rapidly in the early years, adding thousands of jobs along the way. In fact, high-tech startup job creation is so robust that it more than makes up for the job destruction from early-stage businesses failures – a key distinction from the private sector as a whole where job losses from early-stage failures turns this group into net job destroyers.

Tech Starts: High-Technology Business Formation and Job Creation in the United States finds that high-tech startups are springing up at a higher rate than all private-sector businesses. Relative to their share of firms in the economy, high tech is 23 percent more likely, and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) as a segment of high tech is 48 percent more likely, than the private sector as a whole to witness a new business formation.

High-tech startups are becoming increasingly geographically diverse, while the opposite is true for new businesses across the economy generally.

"In the case of Boulder, a startup community whose evolution I've observed and participated in closely over the past many years, the cultural and economic transformation has been extraordinary," said Brad Feld, co-founder of Boulder’s Foundry Group and author of numerous books about creating startups and startup communities. "While there isn't one, definitive blueprint to building a technology industry, this research can hopefully inspire communities and policymakers to work together to ensure that the spread of high-tech entrepreneurship isn't just a trend, but a long-term phenomenon."

The top 10 metro areas according to high-tech startup density are:

  • Boulder, Colo.
  • Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo.
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
  • Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, Mass.
  • Seattle, Wash.
  • Denver, Colo.
  • San Francisco, Calif.
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-Va.-Md.
  • Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • Cheyenne, Wyo.

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