Seattle may be known for its lush evergreen forests, steady drizzle and soothing view of Mt. Rainier on the horizon. But that doesn’t mean it’s a sleepy town.
The country’s coffee capital has plenty of nightlife, culture and shopping at Pioneer Square, an historic district known for its Renaissance Revival architecture.
It’s bursting with business opportunities, too. According to Forbes Magazine, Seattle is the fifth fastest growing city in the country and the sixth best place for business and careers.
An abundance of startup resources has done much to spark Seattle’s vibrant startup community and economic growth.
GeekWire identified 21 business accelerators and incubators, and 34 co-working spaces in the Seattle area this year. The list includes the SURF Incubator in downtown Seattle, and the CoMotion Incubator, a collaborative hub for University of Washington students, faculty, staff and the local innovation community.
The environment is helping some Seattle startups, like PlayFab, grow by leaps and bounds. Founded in 2014 to provide back-end services and tools for building and managing online games, PlayFab has raised $9.9 million in investments.
The king of startup resources are innovation districts and Seattle has one of those, too – South Lake Union. Once a rundown industrial complex, it’s become one of the most thriving business innovation hubs in the country. Amazon relocated to the district in 2010, accelerating its residential housing and entrepreneurial activity. South Lake Union was commended last year in the Brookings Institute’s study on the Rise of Innovation Districts.
Recognizing that small businesses thrive in neighborhood business districts, and removing barriers to college ensures a ready workforce, the Seattle Office of Economic Development offers business district grants and educational programs to incentivize that activity.
The public and private efforts are paying off. Seattle’s median household income is about $73,000, roughly 30 percent higher than the national average, and 43 percent of its residents have at least a bachelor’s degree.
A coastal seaport city and major gateway for trade with Asia, Seattle attracts jobs in maritime logistics, manufacturing, technology and healthcare. Many of its employers have become Fortune 500 companies, including Boeing, Amazon and Microsoft, and top retail brands such as Starbucks, Costco, Nordstrom and REI.
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Caren Burmeister is a retired newspaper reporter turned freelance writer who enjoys yoga and caring for her two fat cats.