Utah has a fast-growing reputation for becoming one of America’s new tech powerhouses. It’s not quite on the same level as the titanic technology hubs of Silicon Valley. That doesn’t mean it’s not an important player in the industry, though. In fact, many of those same Silicon Valley behemoths are setting up shop in Silicon Slopes, too. What’s going on with Utah tech companies, and what does it mean for life and work in Utah in the future?
Bigger Than it Looks
When you compare it to other states with economies of similar size, Utah stands out for its tech sector. Relative to those similar states, Utah has the biggest technology sector.
This is an outstanding fact, since Utah is still one of the smaller states in population. Yet, with a little more than 3 million people in total, half of whom are workers, Utah has over 210,000 technology jobs. Those are spread through over 6,700 companies in the state.
These jobs and companies are generating over 30 billion dollars per year, or 18% of the state’s GDP. Think about that. That’s less than 2% of the state’s workers generating almost a fifth of its wealth. Silicon Slopes is a big deal, and it’s having a huge impact.
Benefits and Burdens
One of those impacts is that those tech jobs pay extraordinarily well. In fact, the average income in the Utah tech sector is over $100,000 per year, about double the state’s average. It’s a major incentive for workers to pursue retraining. Likewise for the state to promote STEM education in public schools.
In all, it means that a small group of workers is enjoying great success to an unusual degree. That rising tide could lift all boats as Utah tech companies grow and their workers add to the economy. But there are some trends to keep an eye on that could make life more difficult for others.
One of the biggest issues facing Utah in the future is a shortage of housing. The cost of living in the state has been rising. Housing developers are running out of suitable land to build new neighborhoods on. As Silicon Slopes continues driving growth in the state, Utahns are likely to see their cities start to get more expensive, denser, and taller. More apartment towers will be needed to handle more residents. It might mean more traffic, or it might mean more walkable cities with better public transit.
One thing that it definitely means is that everywhere you look, there are opportunities to capitalize on the growth. The people of Utah will have to make choices about which ways they will let the success of their tech companies affect their society. They can choose, via their leaders and public policies, how to harness that success for the good of everyone in the state.
Starting Up a MadCap Future in Utah
With all these factors in play, Silicon Slopes is becoming a new hub for startups. There is no shortage of ways that entrepreneurs could try to make life better through technological innovation. And so many of them keep aiming for the sky.
This is especially true given the wealth of educational opportunities Utah features. The way those institutions combine with Utah’s business-friendly culture is key.
MadCap Ventures is a quintessential example of the intersection of those values. Our principal team members are a university marketing professor, and an entrepreneur who built and sold his first business from his student apartment.
Since we’ve been down this road on our own, we believe in making the road easier for others who follow us. We invest in and build up companies of all kinds by helping them redesign their websites and marketing strategies. We especially focus on helping student entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground when bigger venture capital firms don’t give their viable ideas fair consideration.
Utah tech companies are driving innovation and growth in the state, and making it an American powerhouse like never before. But behind the scenes are companies and people like ours, who are driving the drivers of the future.
We are confident that it’s a bright future, indeed!