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Inward Investment Guides

Opportunities for Technology Firms Abound

From automotive to aerospace to life sciences, technology companies are taking advantage of the unique opportunities presented in the Southern United States.

John M. Rhodes, Senior Principal, Moran, Stahl & Boyer, LLC (Southern Tech Sites 2007)
(page 2 of 2)
Adjacent to many of the universities are research parks that host both existing companies seeking to co-locate with the university as well as emerging entrepreneurial businesses that have evolved from local research. Many of the parks also have incubators that provide low-cost space and business services to help companies get started and progress through their initial growth phase.

In 2004, industrial R&D within the region was nearly $33 billion as noted in (Slideshow, Page 5, Table 4). Examples of major collaborative research facilities in the region include:
• Scripps Florida (Jupiter, Fla.): biomedical research facility
• Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oakridge, Tenn.): Department of Energy's largest science and energy laboratory with emphasis on neutron science, biological systems, energy, advanced materials, national security, and high-performance computing
• Jefferson Laboratory (Hampton, Va.):  nuclear physics lab with accelerator and laser testing labs
• SRI International (Tampa, Fla.): marine technology research facility

Venture Capital Investment
There has been a significant amount of venture capital invested in the region that includes technology-related ventures. Over the 2005-2006 time period, more than $6 billion was invested as noted in (Slideshow, Page 6, Figure 2). Texas had the highest venture capital investment, with over $2.5 billion; followed by North Carolina, with over $925 million; Virginia, with $850 million; Florida, with $670 million; and Georgia, with $600 million.

Access to Qualified Labor
The education infrastructure of the region includes a network of community colleges and technical schools within each state that partner with employers to provide required technical training. There are also a number of public and private universities with engineering schools, including top-ranked schools such as Georgia Tech, Texas A&M, University of Texas-Austin, Virginia Tech, Duke University, Rice University, North Carolina State University-Raleigh, University of Florida, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Overall Assessment of Region
The region offers many attributes that are attracting new technology-related businesses, including the presence of many large universities that not only engage in leading-edge research but also produce a large number of scientists and engineers. There is also a strong business-oriented environment that seeks to attract technology companies by offering incentives that include technical training resources to help prepare workers for new job skills. The quality of life within the region ranges from small college towns to world-class metropolitan areas and provides access to both mountains and beaches - options that are critical to attracting top talent. Overall, the region has a potential that has not been fully tapped and represents a unique opportunity for technology companies to grow and prosper.
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