Silicon Prairie: US Invests in Middle America

By: James Flippin · May 15, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Innovation Infusion

The American government has set its sights on the heartland as the next frontier for technological growth, pledging an impressive $500 million investment. The aim is to transform metro regions across middle America into bustling hubs of tech innovation.

This initiative marks a strategic move toward diversifying the nation’s tech scene, which has long been concentrated on the coasts. The funding aims to create a platform that will nurture tech start-ups and attract talent, ultimately driving regional economic growth.

Tech for Tomorrow

According to the Department of Commerce, the funding opportunity forms part of the Regional Technology and Innovation Hub program, or Tech Hubs, for which Congress has authorized $10 billion between now and 2027. This year, $500 million will be available to up to 10 eligible applicants, which must include representatives from: higher education, a government subdivision, relevant tech/industry firm, economic development group, and labor/workforce training organization. If chosen, each hub will be awarded $50 to $75 million to start building out capacity in their respective regions.

These hubs aren’t simply tech incubators. Rather, they have a distinct focus on several key technological areas expected to shape our future. These include artificial intelligence, robotics, biotechnology, cybersecurity, natural disaster prevention, and energy efficiency.

Silicon Rally

In creating these Tech Hubs, the government is investing in the future of the country. The overarching hope is that these funds will stimulate regional economies and establish them as vital centers of technological innovation. This could lead to more high-paying jobs in a wider range of locations.

In other words, it won’t just be Silicon Valley churning out unicorns anymore. It could soon be Silicon Heartland, Silicon Great Lakes, or Silicon Appalachia. In addition to creating jobs, this initiative could lead to diversified economic growth across the nation. It could also transform regions historically reliant on manufacturing or agriculture into tech powerhouses.

The ripple effects of this investment could even extend to local businesses and services, benefitting entire communities. The landscape of America’s tech industry might look very different, very soon: perhaps more innovative, definitely more flat.

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