City ranks 10th nationally in study focused on job creation

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A new report on high-technology entrepreneurship ranks Corvallis among the top cities in the United States when it comes to launching new, job-creating businesses.

The report — released Wednesday by two pro-technology nonprofits, the Kauffman Foundation and Engine — compared levels of tech business startup activity in 384 metropolitan areas.

Using population data, author Ian Hathaway calculated the startup density for each metro area compared to the nation as a whole. A density number greater than 1 indicates above-average business generation, while a number less than 1 lags behind.

Corvallis posted a startup density of 2.0, or exactly twice the national average. That was good enough to finish in a three-way tie for 10th place with Cheyenne, Wyo., and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Boulder, Colo., topped the list with a stunning startup generation rate of 6.3.

Two other Oregon cities cracked the Top 25. Bend, with a 1.8 startup density, finished at No. 16, while Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, with a density of 1.6, tied for 22nd.

The rankings focus on new businesses in the fields of high technology and information and communications technology, for several reasons.

According to the report, those two sectors are far more likely to generate startup companies than the economy as a whole. Moreover, new and early-stage firms, especially in high tech, are the primary creators of new jobs, not just small businesses generally, as is often claimed.

In fact, that report found that all net job growth in the United States over the past three decades has come from new businesses. As a group, companies more than a year old have shed jobs in that time.

“Of new and young firms, high-tech companies play an outsized role in job creation,” Hathaway writes. “High-tech businesses start lean but grow rapidly in the early years, and their job creation is so robust that it offsets job losses from early-stage business failures.”

Another interesting finding is that high-tech startups don’t appear to be tied to any particular geographic area. While traditional technology hotbeds such as Silicon Valley, Seattle and Boston rank high on the list, more unexpected entrepreneurial locales include Grand Junction, Colo., Sioux Falls, S.D., and Ames, Iowa.

Hathaway cites three key characteristics that exist alone or in combination in regions with high tech-startup densities:

• They are well-known tech hubs with highly skilled work forces.

• They have a strong defense or aerospace presence.

• They are small university cities.

Contact reporter Bennett Hall at bennett.hall@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9529.

Reporter Bennett Hall can be contacted at 541-758-9529 or bennett.hall@gazettetimes.com.

Special Projects Editor, Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald

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