WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today named the states best poised to thrive in the rapidly evolving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) focused economy.
The Foundation’s sixth annual Enterprising States: States Innovate study ranks the top 10 states in the categories of economic performance; transportation and trade; innovation and entrepreneurship; business climate; talent pipeline; and high-tech performance.
Virginia ranked seventh in the nation for both high-tech performance and talent pipeline.
“Strategic public-private research investments fuel Virginia’s impressive innovation driven economy,” said Carolyn Cawley, managing director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. “Now a national leader in the development of driverless cars, solar energy efficiencies, cybersecurity and bioscience, the Commonwealth is well poised to continue draw some of the best and brightest STEM workers provided it remains steadfast in its technological focus.”
While Silicon Valley continues to be the epicenter of U.S. high-tech activity, high housing costs are driving the migration of skilled tech talent from coastal regions to more affordable, family-friendly locations. Virginia remains an attractive option for technology innovators by issuing grant awards to startups through its celebrated Center for Innovative Technology. The state’s $4.2 million investment in this program has generated $7.4 million in matching funds and helped 52 startups take root in 2014 alone.
As the study whos, the formation of the Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority by the general assembly earlier this year has also ensured the state an early foothold in the alternative energy sector.
The Virginia Bioscience Initiative is another hallmark of the state’s determination to lead in the nation in resourceful application of high-tech solutions. By easing the commercialization of translational research from public universities, the multi-year effort aims to spur the speed at which innovation reaches a patient’s bedside.
For Virginia to continue to its success, the report prescribes a combination of policies and actions to continue to spark growth across a large spectrum of industries not necessarily associated with the mainstay tech economy.
“While Virginia has faced economic headwinds from sequestration, our high marks in high-tech business and the talent pipeline give us a foundation for future growth,” said Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “We will continue to work with lawmakers in Richmond to build on these competitive advantages.”
Infographics for top performing states available here.