(TNS) — Columbus is one of four cities that "punch above their weight" in the size and impact of its internet sector, according to a new study.
The Internet Association and National League of Cities released the research this week detailing the size and impact of the internet sector on cities throughout the United States. In addition to Columbus, the other cities that were cited include Kansas City, Missouri: Phoenix, Arizona, and Pittsburgh.
The report sought to highlight and draw lessons from cities that are actively pursuing a greater integration of technology into their economies, environments, and policy-making.
"We chose four cities .... as innovative models of how places and policymakers can evolve in the dramatically shifting economic and cultural currents of the past two decades," the report said. "These cities are not the stereotypical 'tech' hubs like San Jose (the Silicon Valley area), Seattle or San Francisco, and we highlight them here precisely because they are not (yet) regarded as tech powerhouses."
The report is no surprise because Columbus has been focused on making progress in the internet sector for more than a decade, said Tom Walker, president and CEO of the venture-capital and business-incubator organization Rev1 Ventures.
For example, Rev1 Ventures itself has its roots as a technology business incubator known as Tech Columbus.
"Even though Tech Columbus is no longer, we need to give that team and members credit for promoting and making impacts to the internet sector in the 2000's," Walker said.
"We also have the tech council initiatives that predated those efforts, spearheaded by the chamber of commerce. Fast forward to Third Frontier, the growth of seed capital and the support for tech-based entrepreneurs, and you simply have more knowledge-based professionals working and growing in the sector.
"Smart Cities, Drive Capital and others continue to add to the growth, importance and success," he said, referring to the transportation-focused 'smart' initiative and the venture-capital firm.
Using federal data, the report compiled information for all 382 metropolitan statistical areas and the economic contributions of the internet sector in them.
The study found that while the average city has 600 internet businesses and 9,000 internet-sector jobs, Columbus has 1,500 internet businesses and 25,400 internet-sector jobs.
The study cites the city's victory in the Smart City Challenge in 2016 as a moment when "Columbus became known, almost overnight, as an innovation hub."
"The strength and optimism of Columbus can be largely attributed to its admirable mix of environmental factors," the study says.
"The city has long since diversified its economy, implemented a thoughtful business approach and capitalized on its local institutions to build a well-trained workforce. Serving as the state capital of Ohio and as the home of a major flagship university, it enjoys a robust local economy, but has not rested on its laurels — the city ranks highly in terms of educational attainment for U.S. metro areas and is quickly gaining a reputation for culture, amenities and tech."
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