Jim Cossler, chief executive at the Youngstown Business Incubator, said the story already has garnered the attention of start-up businesses interested in moving to Youngstown.A start-up from Austin, Texas, that was considering relocating to the incubator decided to make the move after seeing the article, Cossler said.“I think it is just one more piece in our arsenal,” Cossler said. “It is telling a new Youngstown story, and that has people excited.
That's right. A start-up left Austin, Texas for Youngstown, Ohio.
My post about rail transit for Cleveburgh has generated an interesting conversation. The crux of the exchange concerns the value of high-speed rail between Pittsburgh and Washington, DC. Shrinking the distance between the two cities could make the geographic arbitrage opportunities in Pittsburgh more viable:
I was thinking about this today and my entire office could just as easily work in Pittsburgh without a problem at all. The only exception might be the sales staff which means a small satelite office and I'm not sure even that would be necessary. As someone who works in the defense and security tech sector in the DC area, many of our customers aren't local. They're coming from a military base somewhere else so being DC based confers no advantages in that case. Even agencies like the NSA want to decentralize so the part of the NSA a contractor may work with in the future may not even be in the DC area. Again it's the same thing.There is also a lot of side benefits to signifigant portions the government, defense, & security tech in or linked to Pittsburgh. Since so much of the tech sector in the DC area is only here because of government in some way, the talent pool can sometimes be a bit insular. Being in or just linked to Pittsburgh would provide a broader based talent pool.
Generally, companies fail to take advantage of onshoring because they lack sufficient knowledge of places such as Pittsburgh. Ironically, they are more in tune with offshoring sites thanks to the well-established publicity about the benefits of locating in an emerging economy such as India or Ireland. In this regard, New York City is closer Bangalore than it is to Scranton. Scranton is aiming to change that:
Leaders in the Scranton, PA region, for that matter, crafted their Wall Street West strategy after 9/11 tobecome a redundant data solution for New York City’s financial firms. Their well-considered plans to house backoffice and secondary operations have garnered both federaland state support for necessary workforce and infrastructure investments, including a $25 million fiber optic network connecting Northeast Pennsylvania and New YorkCity to facilitate data transmission.
I think any kind of infrastructure improvements should focus on the above proximity benefit. Scranton is developing into an inexpensive alternative to New York City, a viable satellite city. Better to have a company relocate to Scranton than to another part of the world.
The emerging center of this value proposition is Youngstown, Ohio. The spread in this month's Inc. magazine is already paying dividends:
And the word is spreading quickly. [Eric Planey, of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber,] said a couple in Chicago read the article earlier this week and came here themselves."They actually drove, without announcement or without an appointment, straight to the incubator and ... knocked on the door and said we'd like to have a software company," said Planey. "We'd like to start one. What do we need to do."
Apparently, the couple was considering offshore outsourcing options before learning about Youngstown. The software company employs about 40 people and is looking to double its workforce over the next year. Forget pricey and crowded Chicago. Welcome to Youngstown. Imagine what you could here if the connectivity with Pittsburgh was better.
I get the sense that the Inc. piece has helped Youngstown reach critical mass. In my next post, I'll drill down into the burgeoning return flow of talent. Expatriates are keen to get in on the action of urban revitalization.