While everyone is familiar with the famous Silicon Valley in California, not everyone knows about the “Silicon Slopes” of Utah. Not yet, that is. There are a growing number of software development and information technology firms rising up along the Wasatch Front that are pioneering the way for innovative memory process technologies.
For the third year in a row Utah has been named Forbes “Best State for Business”. Since 2006, the economy in Utah has expanded at an annual rate of 2.3%. Compare this with the 0.5% rate that the nation as a whole has been growing. Utah has the advantage for three main reasons. First, Utah has a flat 5% corporate tax rate, which is the lowest in the country. Second, Utah has a young, vibrant workforce. Powerhouse universities like the University of Utah, Brigham Young University, and Utah State University are producing some of the most elite workforce in the nation. The median age of the state is 29, which is four years lower than the next youngest state, Texas. That demographic also tends to be largely bilingual because of the international missionary service that much of the state’s population serves for 2 years at age 18 for men and 19 for women. Lastly, Utah has the third best state for a positive regulatory environment, meaning that it does not promote or reward frivolous lawsuits or judgments.
Big companies are taking notice of the gold mine of a workforce that is available in Utah. Some big names that have moved here in the past decade include eBay, Adobe, 1800-Contacts, Oracle, Google Fiber, and Instructure.
Founded in 2005 by two close friends, Shaun Ritchie and Dan Caffee, Neutron Interactive is a pioneering online marketing and lead generation company. They work to enhance marketing for companies by engaging audience, attracting interest and creating conversions. One of the things that Ritchie and Caffee have stressed from the beginning is individual innovation within their small company team. Every one of the employees is given room to innovate and contribute to the company’s strategies. With innovative solutions born in the collective brain of their teams, they are able to do more faster. Since 2005, the company has grown from a small bootstrapped startup to a successful, award winning Inc. 500 company. Neutron was recently voted as one of the “Best Companies to Work For” by employees throughout the Utah Business Magazine.
This rapidly growing company began as a home security system sales company known as APX Alarm in 1999. Initially, the company focused on door to door home security sales and found a lot of success in that niche. Their key transition however was in 2009 when the company rebranded itself as Vivint. With the intelligent redesign, Vivint jumped on disruptive technologies that would have otherwise made their products and services obsolete. Home solar technology, integrated smart home control, and energy efficiency became the focus of this company’s objective. More advanced technology is coming from the innovation center located in Lehi, UT. They are now an international company and one of the top 5 fastest growing companies in Utah.
These aren’t the only companies thriving in the Silicon Slopes, there seems to be a thriving culture of innovation in Utah. Job seekers are filling up the local housing communities which also happens to be a huge business opportunity for companies like Perry Homes and other home construction agencies. This is a huge contrast to the rest of the nation which is still trying to recover from the crippling recession of the past decade.
These companies and others had to fight to overcome the challenges that Utah faced along with the nation during the economic meltdown. Despite the economic setbacks, the economy in Utah has steadily risen and is setting the pace for the rest of the country. The entrepreneurially friendly climate in Utah has created a fertile soil for such companies to thrive.