Have you heard of the notorious Silicon Prairie? If not, no worries, because it will be on your radar soon enough. As the Midwest begins to gain attention as one of the leading tech hubs for entrepreneurs around the country, there is no doubt that what was once thought of as the ‘flyover states’ will begin to be seen as something much more. So without further ado, let’s take a deep dive into what the Midwest is coining as ‘Silicon Prairie.’
What is Silicon Prairie?
Silicon Prairie is a combination of Iowa, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Kansas, Minnesota and Missouri. The term Silicon Prairie is a spin on the well-known tech hub Silicon Valley, located on the west coast in California. Each of these states is comprised of their own unique tech hubs that have begun to gain national recognition, thus the name Silicon Prairie. And though our friends over in Silicon Valley are more widely known for being the leaders in the fast paced tech world, don’t overlook the heartland just yet.
Silicon Prairie | Des Moines, Iowa
Though there is so much to discuss regarding all of the Midwest states taking part in the amazing Silicon Prairie, we are going to take a deep dive into our community, Des Moines, Iowa. You may be asking yourself, what sets Des Moines apart? Well, a lot. From the low cost of living to the abundance of tech job opportunities and of course the influx of people relocating to the city, it is safe to say that Des Moines is flourishing at an astonishing pace. But don’t just take our word for it, we’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.
Cost of Living in Des Moines
There is no doubt that starting up a new business is hard no matter where you live, but it’s certainly more cost-efficient to build a startup in the Silicon Prairie and more specifically, Des Moines. In fact, Des Moines was recently named one of Sperling’s Best Places to Live due to the low cost of living, great schools, low crime rates and more. But the best part about living in Des Moines speaks for itself - see below:
San Jose, California “Silicon Valley”
Median Home Price: $980,000
Average Tech Salary: $123,910
Average Overall Salary: $75,770
Des Moines, Iowa “Silicon Prairie”
Median Home Price: $180,000
Average Tech Salary: $76,840
Average Overall Salary: $46,600
Shocking, right? We thought so too, and then we remembered we are currently reaping the benefits of living in this amazing city. For a second, just Imagine being a startup looking for business space in Silicon Valley instead of Silicon Prairie. It is hard to image for those of us who currently live and run our businesses comfortably at Des Moines’ cost efficient pricing. And though struggling with financial growth is difficult no matter where you are located as a business, prices as high as they are in Silicon Valley can make the growth even more difficult and potentially impossible for some entrepreneurs.
The Rise of Des Moines Job Opportunities
It’s simple. There are nearly three million people living in Silicon Valley, while there are only 207,510 people in the growing city of Des Moines. Once again, the numbers speak for themselves. That being said, just this year, Des Moines has gained national recognition once more as the 9th best city to live in the U.S.
Need another reason to live in Silicon Prairie and Des Moines in particular? The commute. In some of the largest cities across the United States, individuals can spend well over an hour a day just going to and from work. Whereas, when you live in Silicon Prairie, an average commute is roughly 19 minutes. If the facts above weren’t selling you on living in Des Moines, then the significant difference in commute time should be the icing on the cake.
We’re not done quite yet! There is no doubt that Des Moines is becoming a force to be reckoned with within the tech industry. According to a Kauffman research study, 86.9 percent of new Iowa entrepreneurs started their business in 2015 because they saw market opportunities.
"It's been incredibly rewarding to see the strides Des Moines has made in technology over the years. The city has become known for its strong tech scene. The ingenuity and expertise coming out of our corporations and startups are truly impressive. This is an incredible place for tech companies, digital marketing and young professionals."
Des Moines, Iowa | Top Recognitions
“Best City for Young Professionals” - Forbes 2014
“Three Best Cities to Start a Business”- Forbes 2013
“25 Cities Worth Moving to If You Want to Launch a Business” - Entrepreneur 2015
"Best Cities to Start a Business" - The Street, 2013
“Emerging Startup Cities of 2015” - Investopedia 2015
“10 Most Pro-Business Cities in America” - MarketWatch 2015
“2017 Best Places to Live” - U.S. News and World Report
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to highlighting what the nation has to say about Des Moines. Here are some other rankings where Des Moines was crowned among the nation’s best.
Des Moines, Iowa | Leading Silicon Prairie Tech Hub
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