A VIBRANT TECH COMMUNITY
Champaign-Urbana isn’t just the birthplace of a remarkable number of innovations. We still believe that the best years have yet to come in our tech-crazed community. Maybe that’s why we were recently named one of the top startup cities in America. Impressed yet? Relax. We’re just getting warmed up.
Let’s start with talent. Champaign-Urbana is home to a nationally ranked top 5 engineering school and is renowned for graduates who have transformed the tech world. We have more than 2,000 computer science and computer engineering students on campus — that’s more than the total student population of MIT. From YouTube founder Steve Chen to PayPal founder Max Levchin to Tesla Motors founder Martin Eberhard, Champaign-Urbana has produced some world-changing talent.
LEADING TECH COMPANIES
And, of course, given the density of talented engineers and computer scientists, it should not come as a shock to learn that leading tech companies have flocked to the area. Yahoo, Wolfram Research, Volition, Intel, Citrix Systems, Grainger, Raytheon, Riverbed Technology, Amdocs and John Deere all have a significant presence in Champaign-Urbana. And that’s not the whole list. In fact, beyond the traditional technology companies, there are a growing number of major companies that have relocated to Champaign-Urbana to take advantage of the wealth of engineering talent. AB InBev, for instance, opened the Bud Lab, a data analytics and research initiative to stimulate innovation. And John Deere opened its Technology Innovation Center to accelerate innovation in advanced electronics, sensors, control systems and more.
VIBRANT STARTUP ECOSYSTEM
We’re also the home to a dynamic startup ecosystem with resources like Research Park at the University of Illinois, which provides a community for entrepreneurs to connect with talent and funding. Research Park also operates one of the top college town incubators in the nation, according to Inc. and Forbes. Called EnterpriseWorks, this 43,000-square-foot startup incubator is focused on helping science and technology entrepreneurs. Through the commercialization of cutting-edge research from the University of Illinois, its startups are working to address challenges from around the world such as farms of the future, better electric cars and saving water. They are also developing novel software that can protect your personal data and better wheelchairs that can help ensure mobility.
But, as a wise man once said, “Show me the money!” Well, it’s right here in Champaign-Urbana, which is one of the top 10 cities in the nation for venture capital per capita. We’ve also received 28 percent of all federally awarded grants to small businesses in Illinois — even though we only have .9 percent of the state population. If you have an idea, Champaign-Urbana is the place where it can become a reality.
LOCAL TECH GROUPS
Champaign-Urbana Data Science User Group
Urbana-Champaign Hadoop User Group (U-CHUG)
Central Illinois Digital Forensics User Group
Champaign Urbana AWS User Group
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