It all started with a computer chip.
Coined 40 years ago, the term “Silicon Valley” originally referred to the silicon chip manufacturers that helped build the high-tech movement in the San Francisco Bay Area. The region has been a technology hot spot since, but today, it’s evolved from hardware giants into social technology and consumer internet, thanks to companies like Google and Facebook. “Silicon” is no longer literal, but a metonym for the entrepreneurial spirit that’s fueled the region’s growth for decades.
But the Bay Area isn’t this country’s only pocket of innovation, and “Silicon (fill-in-the-blank)” is an increasingly popular shorthand for regions with brewing start-up scenes. With predictions that start-ups will bring the United States out of its recession, entrepreneurs across America are stepping up to the plate. Here’s where the action is happening.
Silicon Mitten (Michigan)
In the state shaped like a cold-weather accessory, Michigan residents fondly refer to their homeland as “The Mitten State,” and they’re not letting the cold—or the region’s economic decline—keep them down. From Ann Arbor’s clean tech scene to Detroit’s manufacturing-based start-ups, young entrepreneurs and forward-looking investors like Detroit Venture Partners and Ludlow Ventures are taking their state’s future in their own hands. As Texts From Last Night founder Ben Bator explains, “We realize that our dream job doesn’t exist, and so we have to make it.”
One thing Detroit isn’t short on is available real estate, and projects like the revitalization of the Madison Building downtown and Phil Cooley’s Pony Ride property in Corktown will provide much-needed incubator space for Motor City entrepreneurs.
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