Silicon Main Street

What is #SiliconMainStreet?

MAGIC’s vision and mission for the City of Westminster is to cultivate a startup ecosystem using technology driven economic and workforce development initiatives; building upon the success of the Westminster Fiber Network (which offers true, symmetric gigabit internet service to our residents and businesses).

Many startup and tech communities with similar objectives like to compare themselves to Silicon Valley, the region made famous by growing major tech companies like Hewlett Packard, Google and Facebook, and it has become commonplace to refer to other startup communities in major metro areas like Los Angeles, New York, or Austin as ‘Silicon Beach’, ‘Silicon Alley’ and ‘Silicon Hills’, respectively. But many of these communities are simply superimposing that moniker without all of the ingredients that made Silicon Valley what it is today.

Without getting too much into the history of Silicon Valley, it’s success can be attributed to 3 main ingredients: defense contracting, workforce development by local institutions of higher learning, and affordable quality of life. Many of the major metro areas attempting to recreate this formula simply can’t offer affordable quality of life, but that’s exactly what drew defense contractors and their workforce to Silicon Valley in the first place. The now famous Silicon Valley towns like Mountain View and Palo Alto were originally sleepy train depot towns between San Jose and San Francisco, and they were inexpensive places to live (before 1k sq ft bungalows were worth $1MM as they are today).

Meanwhile, many economically depressed ‘Main Street’ communities have become ‘bedroom suburbs’ for workforces seeking affordable quality of life, while earning salaries from nearby cities. And as businesses offer remote working, or open offices in those communities, it falls on the local colleges and universities to recognize those shifts and develop a workforce to accommodate those businesses. That’s exactly what is happening in Westminster, Maryland and why we believe that organic economic development of the next Silicon Valley will occur in Main Street communities — Silicon Main Street if you will — not only in Westminster, but throughout the Mid-Atlantic and beyond.

MAGIC is dedicated to building pathways to success in these communities, working with those ingredients and bringing all stakeholders in the business community, workforce, and education together.