An Amazon HQ2 Rejection Pushed Cities to Make These Changes

May 2, 2018, 5:42 PM UTC

After being rejected as the site of Amazon’s new headquarters, many cities are making changes that will make them more attractive for future tech companies.

After rejecting them, Amazon contacted several cities that had applied in order to explain why they hadn’t been chosen for its HQ2. For many, it was a wake-up call on their city’s shortcomings that has led to changes, reports The Wall Street Journal.

In Cincinnati and Sacramento, the cities are working on restructuring their workforce development programs to help foster more tech talent. In Orlando, they’re considering starting a new fund that would be used to invest in local startups, something the city feels will attract more potential tech entrepreneurs.

Detroit, which was rejected for Amazon’s HQ2 primarily due to its lack of a regional transportation network, has planned to put the initiative on the ballot in early June. Transportation had been a discussion point for the city already, but it lacked any evidence that it was holding back development — now it has that evidence.

While cities shouldn’t change based solely on Amazon’s wishes, many saw the experience as a way to benchmark themselves against other similar-sized cities around the country and see where they might be falling short.

“If we’re going to compete for the next HQ2 project out there, we know we’re going to have to fundamentally rethink our economy, and that’s what this is all about,” Rob Dixon, head of the Missouri Department of Economic Development told The Journal.

When they do, they’ll be ready when the next Amazon comes calling.

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