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What Will it Take to Grow the Silicon Prairie?

Businessmen and entrepreneurs want to build up new tech hubs in the middle of the U.S., but Midwestern humility and a lack of monetary drive hold them back.
June 20, 2012, 7am PDT | Akemi Leung
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Entrepreneurs, such as John Wirtz of Hudl, believe that start-up companies can thrive in the Midwest. But, as Eric Markowitz reports, companies need to keep the talent from running off to the coasts and businessmen need to shake their sense of farmer's humility.

Dusty Reynolds, director of entrepreneurship and innovation for the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged that farmers used to never talk about their farming practices or successes, and believes that restrained mentality has continued in Midwestern start-ups.

Investor Tom Chapman's opinion aligns with Reynolds's: "I think we're bad at PR. That creates two problems. One, the entrepreneurs are not going to go out and toot their own horn. The second problem is that we don't have enough guys who want to have a billion-dollar company."

But be sure not to underestimate the Silicon Prairie's companies. Wirtz warns, "We are destroying our better pay attention or else you're going to get beat."

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Published on Monday, June 18, 2012 in Inc.
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