Washington State: A Hotbed of Culture, Creativity, and Business Success

Seattle Skyline at sunset.

The birthplace of legendary enterprises like Amazon, Boeing, Costco, Expedia, Microsoft, Nordstrom, and Starbucks, Washington offers businesses, site selectors, and investors a critical mass of highly-skilled workers in the aerospace, agriculture, clean technology, information & communication technology (ICT), forest products, life science/global health, and maritime sectors.

Well known for having a culture of creativity and collaboration, Washington brought the world the age of jet travel; spawned an international coffee culture with a language all its own; built digital empires out of slivers of silicon and strings of binary code; and fundamentally changed the way people around the world shop, travel, eat, drink, relax, dress, and think.

According to the Association of Washington Business (AWB), the state’s infrastructure serves as the foundation for a strong, competitive economy and thriving communities. Boasting a diverse economy, the state is uniquely situated to leverage federal investment. Home to 15 different Fortune 500 companies and nearly 6,000 small businesses, Washington’s business base exports over $79 billion in goods each year. In total, Washington contributes well over $300 billion annually to the U.S. economy, making it a critical player in the nation’s economic success.

Here are some other facts that make Washington a great state to invest in:

  • The state is home to 7.5 million people (versus 4.2 million for Oregon and 1.8 million for Idaho).
  • Washington has had a per-month increase in population of 8,452 since 2010.
  • The state ranks first in the U.S. for exports per capita.
  • Approx. 8.8% of Washington State’s private sector jobs are linked to manufacturing.
  • Seattle is a leading trade partner with Japan. Flights from SeaTac to Asia are one to two hours shorter than from Los Angeles or San Diego to Asia.
  • One of the leading trade hubs on the West Coast, Seattle is the gateway to Asia through its deep-water ports and an international air hub.
  • The Seattle-Tacoma-Everett port region is the third largest container complex in the U.S. not only serving the Pacific Northwest but also cities in the Midwest, on the East Coast, and in Canada.
  • A transcontinental Interstate Highway that runs from Seattle to Boston, Mass., Interstate-90 provides a major trucking and rail route that enables faster shipping.

Hitting all of the High Points

With a multifaceted business base, Washington State serves as a major employment hub for the entire U.S. West Coast. From aerospace and maritime to clean technology and financial services, the industries that call Washington “home” are both diverse and plentiful. Other key industries include life/health science, technology & information systems, outdoor recreation, and apparel.

Washington State companies had a banner year in 2019 when it came to venture capital, the Washington State Department of Commerce reports. Companies in the state took part in 375 deals totaling $3.5 billion last year, up from $3 billion the year before. Highlights of the VC funding frenzy included Convoy (the digital freight version of Uber); money transfer platform Remitly; co-working space provider The Riveter; and real estate business Modus.

Over the last decade, the state has attracted more than 100 well-known companies that have opened engineering offices in the greater Puget Sound area, including Apple, Disney, Facebook, Google, and Airbnb. The critical mass of engineers and a new supply rolling out of the area’s top colleges and universities continue to attract new firms that are anxious to tap into the state’s top-tier tech talent.

The state is also home to many business accelerators and incubators. Washington State’s startup website lists more than 180 incubators, accelerators, and co-working spaces statewide, creating plenty of opportunities for collaboration.

More to Come

In Washington, all of the attributes highlighted in this article converge on a daily basis to help create a thriving business environment where foreign investment is both plentiful and welcome. Foreign investment in the state topped $373.4 billion in 2019, the Department of Commerce points out. Most recently, the agency was involved with a $1.8 billion investment by Innovation Works in new facilities in Kalama and Mitsubishi’s new MRJ-90 aircraft flight test center in Moses Lake.  

Do you have a project that you want exposed to the thousands of investors attending MIPIM in France this March 2020? Or are you looking to invest in a Washington State commercial project? Washington REALTORS® leadership and staff, in partnership with Washington Commercial Association of Brokers, are sending a delegation to MIPIM to help promote Washington State commercial projects and to expose projects to investors. Find out more information at MIPIMWA.com.

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