330 North King Street • Hendersonville, NC 28792
Phone 828.692.6373 • Fax 828.692.6658
Contact UsSite Map

Archive for November, 2011

Could Henderson County Be The Next Silicon Valley?

The article below was written by Zac Northup of NiSi, presented on Business Insiderread the full article here.

Where will the Internet’s next greatest business be born?

While most people immediately associate the phrase “start-up” with Silicon Valley, or New York, the fact is that there are millions of budding entrepreneurs outside of America’s existing technology centers.

As broadband spreads into rural areas and small towns across the United States, economies are emerging in places that haven’t been considered viable markets by traditional investors and hardware manufacturers looking for areas to expand.

That is about to change.

According to the United States Census Bureau, small towns, cities, and counties with 10,000 to 50,000 residents are considered “micropolitan statistical areas.”

Sometimes, these are college towns filled with young Mark Zuckerberg wannabes who have grown up using all of the gadgets that drive today’s economy.

These young Turks of suburbia can’t remember life without the Internet, and many have viable ideas that, with a little love and mentoring from a tech-savvy angel investor or two, could become successful technology businesses.

Doubt this?  Consider the fact that many colleges and universities with computer science and engineering curricula require students to write mobile applications or develop engineering prototypes for various classes.

Unfortunately, more times than not, all the student is left with at the end of the semester is a good grade and pat on the back.

Science and technology programs at these schools aren’t structured to provide institutional help in finding investors or even teach tech students how to market their great ideas.

But the fact is that it’s easier to teach a computer engineer how to become a marketer than it is to teach a marketer how to become a computer engineer.  All of these dormant apps and technology projects represent a huge untapped market of intellectual property.  Investors just need to know where to look.

With this in mind, we have dug deep into the U.S. Census data and discovered 20 micropolitan areas that meet certain demographic requirements for a budding technology economy.  These factors include a high level of broadband accessibility, a sizable workforce (in relative terms), a vibrant local economy, and the presence of a small college or university.

Interestingly, all of these locations have unemployment rates as much as five points below the national average, and the top five have a broadband availability rate of 100%.  Even though the list is ranked from one to twenty, all things being considered, each of these locations present equal opportunities.

  1. Craighead County, AR
  2. Fayette County, GA
  3. Story County, IA
  4. Pottawattamie County, IA
  5. Ascension Parish, LA
  6. Calvert County, MD
  7. Cecil County, MD
  8. Saline County, AR
  9. Daviess County, KY
  10. Lafourche Parish, LA
  11. Platte County, MO
  12. Madison County, MS
  13. Gallatin County, MT
  14. Comanche County, OK
  15. Roanoke County, VA
  16. Ozaukee County, WI
  17. Buchanan County, MO
  18. Henderson County, NC
  19. Grafton County, NH
  20. Monongalia County, WV

In today’s global economy, companies spend millions of dollars trying to break into emerging markets overseas but are either missing the fact that 15 years into the Internet Revolution, there are still areas of this country that have yet to fully realize the promise of a technology-based economy.

Great ideas don’t stop at the edge of Harvard Square and tomorrow’s Farmville could actually be written on a farm.   The question is who is going to make money when that happens.

Member Profile: National Technical Honor Society

In an effort to recognize and promote members of the Partnership, we will be featuring a member each month on this blog, and also in the Membership Minute newsletter. The profile highlights the assets of the business and civic community in Henderson County and is a way of saying ‘thank you’ for investing in economic development.  This month’s featured member is the National Technical Honor Society.

National Technical Honor Society based out of Flat Rock, NC, is a non-profit, educational organization. The organization was established in 1984 in Inman, SC and located to Henderson County in 1999.

The Society serves over 3,200 schools and colleges in the US, Canada, and overseas. NTHS membership is recognized by education, business and industry as the nation’s highest award for excellence in career and technical education. Member schools provide recognition for their top-achieving technical students and business-industry leaders in their local community. NTHS also supplies graduation regalia for its members.

In addition to local and national recognition, the NTHS ‘Jon H. Poteat Scholarship Fund’ will provide over $125,000 in scholarships to its members in 2012, and the number of scholarships given increases each year. Members also enjoy the benefit of NTHS personal letters of recommendation when applying for jobs, college admission, or for additional scholarships. Additional benefits include the opportunity to be recruited by national and international corporations, colleges, and universities.

Q&A with Allen Powell, Co-Founder and Executive Director:

What do you love most about what you do?
I love helping to honor and lift up top career and technical education students, teachers, and industry leaders. It brings us great joy!

How many do you employ?
Here at NTHS HQ, we employ a total of eight full-time staff, and outsource to local organizations for IT support, graphics and printing, construction, and building and grounds maintenance, etc.

What is your most exciting accomplishment?
Our greatest accomplishment is awarding of scholarships, and a number of these are given annually to NTHS members at Blue Ridge Community College. We also hope to establish more chapters in Henderson County high schools so that more NTHS scholarships will be given to deserving young people in our own county.

Why are you a member of the Partnership?
We have been HCPED members since 2005 and joined because of our strong interest in advancing career opportunities for our membership and for the people of Henderson County. The Partnership has been very effective in bringing new jobs into our community, especially those jobs requiring advanced technical skills and ability. NTHS could not have found a better home than here in Henderson County. We love it!

Thank you NTHS for your support!