Our Thoughts on Cleveland as a Rising Tech Hub
When Forbes has a headline like, “Why Cleveland Is America’s Hottest City Right Now,” you know it’s been a big year. From the Cavalier’s NBA Championship win to hosting the Republican National Convention, it is safe to say that Cleveland has made it to the big leagues.
So, when I was asked to speak on a panel about Downtown Cleveland as a Rising Tech Hub, I jumped at the chance. The panel was moderated by Kevin Schmotzer, from Cleveland’s Department of Economic Development, and included Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Kevin Bobowski, with BrightEdge, and Reg Shiverick, from Dakota Software.
The dialogue was interactive and engaging amongst the four of us. Each of us shared our stories about why downtown Cleveland is an exciting and strategic location for our offices, and voiced our opinions about why we think Cleveland has catapulted in the ranks. In part, here’s what I said:
The Cleveland technology economy is growing and becoming more diverse every day. What’s behind the growth?
Talent. With a wealth of higher education, Cleveland is a hot bed of academic achievement and research. Our universities – such as John Carroll, Cleveland State and Case Western – are graduating engineers, scientists and mathematicians.
Space. There’s affordable infrastructure in Cleveland that can’t be compared. In terms of real estate, there’s shared spaces, office co-location and access to dark fiber.
Community. Cleveland celebrates a vibrant tech community – a lot of young, ambitious, talented professionals that are passionate about IIoT, open source, and the age of the shared economy.
Location. And geographically, we’re centrally located – strategically between San Francisco and New York. With a great airport that affords easy access to anywhere.
What are the trends that are making Cleveland a great destination for technology companies?
I believe it’s the lack of trends – and instead point to the stability and diversity in the market that make Cleveland a great destination for tech companies. With Cleveland you have a great foundation of meaningful businesses that are spawning new technology opportunities. Start-up companies are growing from the base of companies that are already here. What do I mean by that…?
Our vast base of medical expertise — from Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and others — is the foundation for medical innovations and spin-off businesses like CardioNomic.
When you have history and depth in publishing it builds the base for a stronghold like the Content Marketing Institute — and creates opportunities for ancillary companies like BrightEdge.
Traditional manufacturing and industrial companies, like Parker Hannifin, are being guided by the IIoT to become and act more like technology companies; and they are in a better position to more nimbly partner with start-up companies such as Park Place Technologies.
How does having a downtown Cleveland location impact your customers?
Proximity. About three-fourths of the clients we manage in this Cleveland office are Northeast Ohio companies. Interesting though, of those Cleveland-based companies that we work for, more often than not we’re supporting their business globally. This further demonstrates that even global companies find Cleveland to be a great place for their headquarters.
Growth. Our clients are thriving because Cleveland is thriving. This is a hot bed for opportunity and our clients are growing because of it.
Fahlgren Mortine has made a strategic decision to have a Cleveland office because of all the opportunities here. It’s an important part of our business plan, and we expect our Cleveland office to continue to grow and diversify our business with the community around it.
People not from here might be asking Why Cleveland? But those of us who know and love this city are asking Why not Cleveland?