Friends. Brian Gerney, a graduate student at University of North Carolina, is researching how smaller cities and towns grow tech clusters, without “the standard advantages of … large population, major research universities, high number of related firms, etc.” he says.

Gerney is focusing his study on Bend as one of the places that has an active startup scene, especially around technology, despite, you know, being in the middle of the desert. He wants to know WHY.

While it certainly appears that Bend has developed into a hotbed of all sorts of entrepreneurial activity and especially for technology related firms I’m sure it has been due to the hard work and commitment of its residents who may have had an easier path if they had located in an already established tech cluster like Silicon Valley or Seattle.  So I would like to know about the experience of tech workers and entrepreneurs in the area to see how they have overcome these obstacles, or if the obstacles even exist in the first place, to present a case study of growth that differs from the Silicon Valley model of a major university, military funding, and early large firms driving success.


He’s also looking at St. George, Utah. So if you work in tech here or have a tech company, please take his survey. There’s 13 questions and it should only take 5 to 10 minutes of your time.


Gerney plans to use the results for his master’s thesis in geography. “Ideally it would be useful for policy makers in small towns or outlying regions looking to develop their own technology related economies by showcasing how to do it organically and with local talent and effort,” he says.

But … the results, which will reveal the economic strengths and weaknesses of our region in a systematic way, would also be interesting for us to know as well. At StartupBend, we call that a win-win. Please pass this along to tech workers or entrepreneurs who may be interested. We’ll keep you posted on the results.