January 4, 2016

Before looking ahead to 2016, we should look back on the past year. In 2015 the business community got a lot done for the country when working with Congress.

The passage of the Trade Promotion Authority paves the way for the United States to move forward with new major deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

The business community also fought for the first long-term extension of the highway bill to fund and authorize roads and bridges. This bill will buy us time to work on longer-term solutions to maintain and modernize critical infrastructure.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its allies also supported the first real budget passed by Congress in six years.

We also moved forward on improving the nation’s preK-12 education policies.

Many challenges remain but we need to continue this work to further the kinds of policies and leadership our state and country needs to grow and prosper.

January 5, 2016

Salt Lake City was named the 12th “Best City to Found a Startup” by Datafox, a business intelligence firm, citing the need for a strong culture of growth and high standard of living.

Overall, Utah ranked highly in availability of capital, affordability, success of early-stage companies and entrepreneurial culture.

Salt Lake City ranked above average in three of the four early-stage startup metrics considered, which were: startup density, growth potential and affordability.

In addition, “Utah is the perfect example of striking the right work-life balance,” said Val Hale, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

What helps Utah’s economic success? Reasonable regulation, low tax rates, a diverse economy based in six strategic industry clusters and an unparalleled quality of life.

We know this is a large part of what makes Utah different. Supporting our entrepreneurs through collaboration can ensure we have  a foundation to thrive.

To view the entire list, visit: datafox.co.

January 6, 2016

Have you heard the official Salt Lake Chamber podcast, Building Utah?

Each episode looks into the topics, ideas and people that influence the Beehive state.

With this podcast, we will bring a business perspective to what you really care about. From finance to football, no topic is off limits and you never know what you might hear.

In our latest episode, for example, we spoke with Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance, about The Utah Compact and how that document has guided Utah’s immigration decisions.

We answered questions like: How do we deal with immigration as a state? How do we create a welcoming environment to attract top talent? And why is The Utah Compact so important?

Follow Salt Lake Chamber social media and visit: slchamber.com/buildingutah to stay up-to-date on the latest episodes.

January 7, 2016

Utah has seen the most economic growth in the nation over the past two years, with the technology industry leading the charge.

Utah has a strong history in the tech industry.

However, most Utah startups launched without the ability to bring in venture funding and this has created “a culture of delayed gratification around building a business with strong fundamentals. Most businesses in Silicon Valley wouldn’t have the patience,” said Aaron Skonnard, CEO of Pluralsight.

In the past, the lack of available capital forced businesses to have a greater focus on their business fundamentals from the start.

Our tech industry no longer has trouble attracting venture capital. Those investors who bet on Utah tech are likely to see some significant returns – once IPOs begin.

What’s more, Silicon Valley investors have now seen what’s happening in Utah and jumping on board.

We know the startup culture is strong in Utah, and the startup companies in Utah are built to last.

January 8, 2016

Is this the place? Recently, the Utah Foundation took a survey of Utah’s economy from local employers.

Topics included what inhibits business growth, the best and worst of our labor pool, the availability of potential employees, how Utahns stack up against their out-of-state counterparts, and what drives companies to relocate to or away from Utah.

The key findings were:

1 – That while we work hard comparatively to over states we are not skilled enough. 71 percent of employers say they struggle to find enough skilled workers.

2 – It also found that Utah employers offer less money for their skilled positions than the same positions in other states; meaning that if we attract businesses here with our low wages, we need to accept that our most skilled workers might leave if they can make more money elsewhere.

Most employers understand that a more educated workforce takes investment. The Salt Lake Chamber encourages investment in education.

To view the whole survey, visit: utahfoundation.org.