Some 150 years ago, Mormon leader Brigham Young thought it was the right place to live; today, Salt Lake City continually racks up mentions in lists of the best places to live and work. Low taxes, high education levels (anchored by the University of Utah), modest crime rates and a strong work ethic have lured businesses like Novell, Iomega and hot start-up PowerQuest. The latest figures peg the number of tech businesses at more than 2,000.
Michael Lawson, president of the Economic Development Corp. of Utah, fills us in with more details:
Why it's hot: "The state's business infrastructure understands and supports start-ups," Lawson says. "The costs of doing business are advantageous, and the tax rates are among the most competitive in the nation."
What's not so hot: "There's nothing not hot about Utah," Lawson maintains. There is one drawback, though, he'll admit to: "Housing prices [in the area] have risen substantially."
Candice Steelman, vice president at PowerQuest, says one problem is the lack of diversity. "Like many landlocked states, we don't get the enriching experience of working with many ethnic groups," she says.
Hot networking spot: At functions of the Utah Information Association, says Lawson, movers and shakers as well as tech up-and-comers rub shoulders.
Power eats: "Who has time?" asks Lawson. Steelman says hot places include Park Cafe, Cafe Pierpont and Market St. Grill--all in Salt Lake--and Cafe Rio, Carver's or Macaroni Grill in Orem/Provo.