This week in the Heartland Tech section, we have a great guest post about what it took for one tech worker to leave the Bay Area and take a job at a startup in his home state of Minnesota.
I know many economic development organizations and startup leaders are researching what it will take to get talent to “boomerang” back to the coasts, but I think one of the best ways to gain insight is to talk to people who’ve actually made that move.
Ahmed Siddiqui, now a product manager at Minneapolis SaaS startup Branch, explains why he decamped for the Bay Area in the first place:
I left Minnesota in 2010 after being frustrated in the lack of startup ecosystem or a tech scene. I would go to events to seek mentorship, yet nobody was interested in helping out. In contrast, I could cold email just about any startup founder or investor in the Bay Area and get a coffee meeting. I think this is because the Bay Area has a great “pay it forward” mentality.
However, every time I would come back to Minnesota to visit my parents, I would try to meet up with folks in the Minnesota startup ecosystem and found that things were slowly shifting in a positive direction.
One of the most important takeaways here is that convincing coastal tech workers to move back can be a long process. Basically, it takes more than just one visit home for the holidays to build a rapport with the local tech community.
This offers an important lesson for Heartland tech leaders: Use repeat visits home — especially for predictable events like the holidays — to reach out to prospective talent. Robert Hatta, a partner at Columbus venture capital firm Drive Capital, published a guest post for us last year with a sample itinerary for Bay Area transplants who want to check out their hometown tech community over the holidays. I think startup organizations could also use this template as inspiration to plan programming and recruiting events.
Heartland Tech Reporter
Check out this video from Powderkeg, on Cincinnati startups and the tech community
From the Heartland Tech channel
I finally found investors and founders in my home state of Minnesota who had the same “pay it forward” mentality as startup folks in the Bay Area.
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San Diego’s status as a tech hub is becoming increasingly important, with a growing pool of engineers and a surge in VC investments.
Chattanooga mayor Andy Berke talks about the city’s efforts to ensure all residents benefit from its impressive startup boom.
IVP, Accel, and LinkedIn have all invested in G2 Crowd, the peer review site cofounded by a serial enterprise software entrepreneur.
U.S. Representative Tim Ryan announced the creation of the $2.25 million Comeback Capital Fund this morning at the Youngstown Business Incubator, created to bridge the divide between Silicon Valley investors and Midwestern startups. (via Youngstown Business Journal)
Customer service platform company Zendesk celebrated last week the grand opening of its new Midwest regional hub in downtown Madison. (via American Inno)
After plastics maker Covestro last year convened a summit in Pittsburgh to address how businesses, nonprofits and other community stakeholders could implement a long list of sustainability goals crafted by the United Nations. (via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
No tech degree? No problem. Tech Council launches Apprenti program to meet Nashville’s demand for skilled employees
When Nashville’s new program to address demand for tech talent, Apprenti, launches in November, the class will be comprised of 15 Nashvillians seeking a new path to a highly paid field. (via The Tennessean)