Champaign-Urbana has landed on a pretty cool list of cities posted by Techie.com, which lists ten cities that are doing great things in the field of technology. This one is called Techie.com's "Most Promising Tech Hubs to Watch in 2014", and you can see all the cities below, as well as C-U's write up below that.
- Atlanta, GA
- Burlington, VT
- Champaign/Urbana, IL
- Detroit, MI
- Ft. Collins, CO
- Huntsville, AL
- Kansas City, KS/MO
- Orlando, FL
- Sioux Falls, SD
- St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN
Pop the cork in Champaign, Illinois
Champaign-Urbana is home to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (or ‘NCSA’, famed for installing one of the earliest web servers, and for developing the Mosaic web browser) and to Wolfram Research, which operates the sophisticated Wolfram Alpha search engine. [link - “Read about our visit to the Deep Waters Supercomputer in Champaign Illinois”]
Intel, too, has a campus in Champaign, and Research Park at the University of Illinois has some impressive tenants, including Yahoo, Dow, Anheuser-Busch, and Cytrix.
“Academic-industry partnerships [that are happening in Champaign-Urbana] are essential to ensure that leading-edge research addresses key sector needs”, says Professor William Sanders, interim head of the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UI. He is working with energy company Ameren Illinois on smart grid technologies – and sees these relationships between entrepreneurs and academicians as a major factor in fostering Champaign’s tech boom.
The proximity to Chicago, the presence of a prestigious University, and theavailability of Fiber all afford the city significant privilege as an emerging tech hub. Being centrally located, Champaign-Urbana is also home to a number of distribution centers, an industry itself on the forefront of our present tech boom.
Smaller startups have a solid opportunity at finding the support to grow in this ecosystem, thanks to a thriving tech social scene and support services from organizations like the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, which operates a Small Business Development Center that will advise business owners and direct them to any number of local resources.
If you’re in the area and looking for a place to start, someone has compiled a very useful list of tech-oriented social organizations over at github. Check it out.