Charleston is a beautiful city located in the South with access to the great outdoors as well as an active nightlife. According to local residents, affordable housing, pedestrian-friendly travel, and easy access to nature is attracting budding technology professionals and firms. The city is attracting technology talent from Silicon Valley, Austin, Boston, and New York City in order to make up for its lack of skilled professionals. In addition, local colleges and universities are attempting to improve their technology programs in order to account for the growing business.
Although Charleston’s beautiful scenery, as well as artistic culture, is beginning to attract young and talented workers there is more that the city can do in order to support the industry. One of the major factors that is attracting young technology professionals from the Silicon Valley is the opportunity for affordable housing, as well as other things such as beaches and urban living that will fit their lifestyle. On the local level, people are beginning to make some changes in order to attract technological talent. For example, the city is creating more opportunities for public transportation, which is often important to young technology professionals. The city is currently working on a number of ordinances to improve bike lanes, protect the natural wildlife, and provide mixed-use urban housing options. The city is trying to make it so that there are few barriers for technology professionals to relocate to Charleston, including drafting ordinances that will match their lifestyles.
The local technology community is currently going through growing pains and attempting to support itself through scouting labor from technology hubs, growing technology programs at local colleges and universities, as well as securing funding from angel investors and venture capital firms. People who are a part of the community believe that businesses can get involved mentoring young students to move toward technology fields. Although many investors are nervous about putting money into a region where there is not another bigger hub of successful startups nearby, more companies are begin to relocate and crop up.
Although there have been some barriers for technology start ups in the region, the sector is continuing to receive more talent and funding. As a spin off of the Bay Area, Charleston is commonly known as Silicon Harbor where a festival on the digital economy happens each year. The conference hosts over one-hundred speakers from around the country in order to discuss social media, marketing, software and app development, as well as financing and startups. Charleston is beginning to resemble other cities that have become fertile ground for technology start-ups, like Boston, New York, Austin and Seattle.