7 Reasons to Do Business in the Silicon Slopes


7 Reasons to Do Business in the Silicon Slopes

If you’re reading this, then you want your business to have every advantage. Levying the market in your company’s favor can help you increase capital, optimize production, and get the maximum return on your investment. But knowing where to set up shop can be difficult.

For decades, tech companies have chosen to work in the Silicon Valley. The close proximity of so many innovative minds created a pull to California. Today, that pull has shifted. Modern tech companies look to the mountains of Utah and the Silicon Slopes to build their businesses.

For the last three years, an annual study by Forbes Magazine ranked Utah in the top three spots for the Best State for Business in 2010, 2012, and 2013. Listed below are seven reasons to do business in the Silicon Slopes.

1. We Have a Highly Educated Workforce

As Utahans, we value education. We boast one of the highest literacy rates in the nation, and the majority of our high school graduates go on to complete some form of post-secondary training. For the younger generations still in school, our educators are focusing on training students in math and science.

In addition to their post-secondary education, many within Utah’s labor pool are fluent in a variety of foreign languages. Thirty-three percent of the workforce in Utah speaks a second language fluently. In fact, nearly 130 different languages are used to conduct daily business, from Arabic and Chinese to Spanish and Samoan, and just about everything in between. These foreign language skills are often accompanied by experience living and working in another country.

2. The Silicon Slopes Are Connected by an Ever-Expanding Highway and Mass-Transit System

The current infrastructure began in the years leading up to the 2002 Winter Olympics. Cities expanded and improved highways and roadways so visitors from across the world could travel in safety to and from the Olympic events.

Utah’s Department of Transit (UDOT) spent nearly 89 million dollars in federal funding to improve existing roadways. In addition to these improvements, a state-of-the-art traffic operations center was constructed to help manage transit in the area. Ultimately, UDOT was able to increase traffic speed during peak hours, decrease freeway delays and accidents, and save commuters in the Salt Lake Valley millions of dollars.

You can see all of the Silicon Slope businesses and how they line the highway in this fun, interactive infographic.

3. Our State Economy Is One of the Strongest in the Nation

We currently boast a 3.5 percent unemployment rate. During the Great Recession, Utah was able to increase job growth by 0.6 percent annually. Today, only about 500,000 Utahans are employed, and it’s only projected to get better.

In a report created by the David Eccles School of Business, the state drew nearly one billion dollars in venture capital investments in 2014. There’s money waiting to be invested, and a lot of it is coming to the Silicon Slopes.

4. We Have Business-Friendly Legislators

In order for Utah to increase its economic appeal, our legislators and governing body have offered a wide variety of incentives for companies looking to relocate. These incentives include grants and tax credits and are based on:

  • Amount of tax revenue generated
  • Financial history of the company
  • Industry needs
  • Types of jobs created

Our legislators cut hundreds of stifling regulations in order to foster growth, and our state has not changed the corporate tax rate for more than 15 years. Utah’s 5 percent corporate flat tax is one of the lowest in the country. A study performed in 2012 by The Tax Foundation measured the tax burden on a variety of industries in each of the 50 states. Utah ranked sixth for existing firms and tenth for new firms.

Every cent of the income taxes you do pay, whether corporate or personal, goes directly to public education, which you can consider an investment in your future labor pool.

5. More Bang for Your Buck

There is one area where California as a whole has a slight edge on Utah: the average salary. According to 2013 census data, California’s median household income is 60,190 while Utah trails closely behind at 59,770. However, while the salary difference is less than 500 dollars per year, money goes farther in the Beehive State than it does in the Golden one. In fact, the cost of living overall is cheaper in Utah than in California.

Homes in the Silicon Slopes can cost up to 170 percent less than comparable homes in the Silicon Valley. A comparison performed with the Bankrate Cost of Living Calculator shows the same home that would cost you $280,000 on the Slopes would cost you $930,000 in the Valley. This cost gap is indicative of the majority of major living expenses between these two locations.

So while Utah’s workforce might receive a slightly smaller salary, the value of every dollar they receive is drastically increased.

6. Just Look out the Window

In Utah, we work hard and we play hard. You can leave work on a Friday afternoon and visit one of our five national parks, three top-rated ski resorts, and two national recreational areas. Spend your evenings or weekends in the backcountry camping, hiking, hunting, fishing, or 4-wheeling. Our picturesque landscapes provide the perfect entertainment for the high-adventure enthusiast and the weekend warrior alike.

If the outdoor life is not for you, our cities and towns play host to a wide variety of cultural events. We have a wide variety of entertainment venues for you to enjoy. Catch the latest Broadway show at the Capital Theater, or hear live music at Abravanel Concert Hall in Salt Lake City. You can experience the old country when you visit Cedar City’s Shakespeare Festival or enjoy the next great film at Park City’s Sundance Film Festival.

7. Join the Other Businesses Who’ve Already Made the Move

Utah is already home to a number of multinational businesses from a wide variety of industries including:

  • Adobe Systems
  • American Express
  • Boeing
  • eBay
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • UPS
  • Wells Fargo

You and your business can live elevated when you set up shop in the Silicon Slopes.

Thaddaeus Brodrick
[email protected]

Thaddaeus is the Quality and Education Team Lead in Boostability's Orem office, where he manages quality assurance and training. In addition to his work at Boostability, Thaddaeus is a freelance blogger who writes and manages the site GoingNerdy, which looks explores all things nerdy.