Booming Utah: Welcome to the “Silicone Slopes”

When I was a college student at Brigham Young University in the early 1980’s, Thanksgiving Point was full of cows and wheat fields. Driving home last night from a family outing I was in awe of the number of buildings going up where those pastures used to be. Adobe’s large headquarters dominates the hill next to Cabelas. Utah’s economy is booming, and getting better. The German high tech giant SAP bought the Provo- based software company Qualtrics, co-founded by CEO Ryan Smith, over the weekend for $8 billion. Salt Lake City and Utah is becoming a new gold standard for business. Reasons given are “entrepreneurial spirit,” quality of life, and the right policies to grow.

My wife shared this article with me this morning containing some interesting statistics. Like Qualtrics, there has been a boom in startups in the Beehive State. University of Utah student-created startups have gone form 1 in 2002 to 329 in 2017. The price tag for a startup has decreased from $10 million in the mid-1990s to $50,000 to $100,000 today.

Wage growth helped Utah become the nation’s hotspot for immigrants from other states. Utah’s wages increased 20.9% since 2012, the fastest growth in all fifty states. I complained last night of the continued construction on I-15 through the state, but the infrastructure growth has been a top priority of the Utah government. They need it to handle the influx of people coming to Utah.

Utah’s economic fortune increased the need for qualified workforce. According to the Census Bureau, Utah is the fastest growing state. People are leaving California in droves because of high cost of living and taxes, and now the numerous wildfires destroying thousands of homes and businesses.

The fastest growing business in Utah is in the tech world.  Utah has become the new home for the technology world, given the nickname “Silicon Slopes.”  Utah’s startups are attracting other companies to look at moving here. The cost of living and lower corporate tax flat tax of only 5%  makes moving to Utah lucrative. Best of all , there is a staggering amount of venture capitol coming to Utah.

And there is lots to do in Utah. I personally like the food variety, from Oreganos Italian Kitchen to Sensuous Sandwich… buy a custom sandwich by the inch! Arguably, Utah has the best snow in the US and Robert Redford owns one of the best ski resorts in the Wasatch Mountains.

If you are starting a new company, particularly in the tech industry, come on out to Utah and joins us. There are plenty of reasons to begin your new life along the Silicone Slopes.

About the author, Mark Hasara

Author of Tanker Pilot: Lessons from the Cockpit, Mark Hasara is a retired US Air Force pilot with 24 year in the KC-135 airborne tanker. He is a speaker and aviation industry consultant in campaign planning and cockpit architecture. Follow his weekly newsletter “On the Nations DIME”.