As the Triangle enters a phase of tech-related growth, you may have questions about how these companies will help the area and what their effects will be. Apple and Google alone have plans that will create exponential payroll growth and millions of dollars of infrastructure investments for schools and community initiatives throughout Raleigh-Durham. Upon completion of their campuses, these companies, and others like Fujifilm Diosynth, Biogen, and Gilead Sciences, will bring thousands of jobs to the area.
The draw to the Triangle also suggests the housing market will continue to grow as people from major cities across the country look for more affordable locations to call home.
If you’re thinking about the future of Raleigh-Durham’s tech boom, check out these three cities to see how their tech growth is bringing economic success to their communities.
Austin started building its legacy as “Silicon Hills” when Dell chose the city as its corporate headquarters in the 1980s. Since then, Austin’s become a home to giant tech companies like IBM, Apple, Facebook, and Cisco, as well as RetailMeNot, Vrbo, and Chive Media Group.
Like the Triangle, Austin is home to a world-renowned research university, the University of Texas, which brings talent from across the globe to their central Texas location. Home to South by Southwest (SXSW), it’s also been a destination for creators and innovators since 1987.
In 2021 alone, companies like Amazon, Samsung, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Firefly Aerospace, and Tesla have brought thousands of jobs to Austin. Apple has already invested $1 billion into its Austin campus, which is also their plan for Raleigh, and over 5,000 jobs have already been created as it nears completion of its campus. Apple will also spend $282 million within the Austin community over the next 10 years. Even bigger is a recent announcement by Samsung, which is investing $17 billion into a chip plant.
Austin’s population has boomed as these new jobs are bringing people to the city, growing by over 170,000 people in 2020, which was up 21 percent from 2010. Like Raleigh, Austin’s housing market is extremely hot as the job market continues to boom thanks to these new opportunities within the city.
While Boulder is only about half the size of Durham, it’s quickly earning accolades as a tech-forward community that’s attracted major companies for decades, including IBM in the 1960s. But it’s been within recent years that big tech businesses have joined the Boulder community, thanks in large part to its intelligent workforce, brought in by the University of Colorado, one of the country’s leading research universities.
Google expanded its Boulder presence with a $150 million project that opened last year and now employs over 1500 people. The company also acquired additional space late in 2021 to expand their campus. The company reports its Colorado employees have donated more than $20 million to nonprofits since 2004 and awarded more than $8 million to Colorado nonprofits and organizations. The company has also invested over $40 million for affordable housing solutions throughout Colorado.
Companies like Amazon, Apple, and Twitter also have a presence in Boulder, but it’s the city’s smaller startups that are contributing to its tech ecosystem. Boulder is attractive to entrepreneurs and startups, and many companies are launched with the help of venture capitalists, who are investing within the community. In fact, Boulder is ranked as one of the top cities for venture capital investments per-capita, ranked just behind San Francisco, Silicon Valley’s Palo Alto, and Boston.
LinkedIn named Madison one of the top 10 U.S. metros for engineering talent, just above the Triangle. Their data showed cities like Madison and Raleigh-Durham have been resilient through the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks in large part to their talent pool and access to top universities. For Madison, it’s the top-ranked research institution, the University of Wisconsin, that is training and helping retain highly sought-after talent.
Google’s first Madison-based office opened in 2007; in 2019, the company doubled its size with a new office. The Madison site lead and principal scientist, Jeff Naughton, credited the company’s job creation to the pipeline of talent the university offers.
Microsoft also has a major presence in Madison with its Gray Systems Lab, which employs scientists and researchers with six-figure salaries and partners with graduates and faculty from the university to drive innovation.
Merck is expanding its facilities in Madison with a $69 million facility to manufacture therapy medications for cancer treatments. Madison also offers hubs for major global biotech companies like Exact Sciences, Nimble Therapeutics, and BioSentinel Pharmaceuticals. In fact, between 2008 and 2018 alone, Madison added 54,000 jobs related to the tech sector. The city is currently poised to become one of the next major tech hubs in the United States.
Tech influence on the Triangle
Like Austin, Madison, and Boulder, Raleigh-Durham is preparing for the boost these tech and biotech companies will bring its communities. From thousands of new jobs that will bring major payroll dollars to the area to millions of dollars in infrastructure spread throughout the state to the growing connections with local universities, the Triangle’s residents, businesses, and cities will enjoy noticeable growth in the coming years.
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