So, why Santa Clarita for Startup Weekend?
Let’s face it. We’re presented with a hefty challenge here. It’s possible to take any major metropolis, aggregate the right resources, and slap a on a label that says “startup hub”. Santa Clarita is not that.
What Santa Clarita is, however, is that smart kid in high school who has vast potential but suppresses it in order to fit in with a certain crowd. SCV is an anomaly – a community that is historically bent on modernization yet is afraid of radical change because, well, the kids in charge may not approve.
This is what makes the challenge intriguing: an opportunity to completely change the dynamic of a community based on the emergence of what a rapidly scaling small business is nowadays – the technology startup.
It’s not about a particular company. Nor is it about a certain individual. It’s the about the collective wisdom that gives a startup community its fuel. It involves the passion of a small group of startup “rebels” that serve as a catalyst to why their company is located where it is.
Who would’ve guessed that a former financial executive from the east coast and a tattooed music geek, both founders of their own respective tech startups, would team up to bring Startup Weekend to Santa Clarita? It’s a testament to the comprehension of what the startup culture is, regardless of background or even company focus.
So let’s revisit the question of “why Santa Clarita?”. Although Santa Clarita is only 30 miles north of Los Angeles, aka “Silicon Beach” as it is now ambitiously referred to, SCV feels like worlds away due to its planned community moniker. Much like Palo Alto and San Francisco (also 35 miles apart), both carry quite differing cultures. However, they are close enough in distance where a fluidity of talent, money, company location, etc. exists. In fact, a lot of San Francisco real estate is now cheaper than Palo Alto real estate, which has flipped the status quo of ideal locations for budget-strapped startups.
Why SCV is that potential-suppressing high school kid is because the community is still very new. The City of Santa Clarita is only 24 years old – a culmination of various neighboring towns that grew large enough to form a proper city. It really hasn’t had a chance to evolve its identity yet. However, the proximity of Los Angeles, quality of life, emphasis on economic development, three universities, and rapidly increasing population provides at least the basic building blocks for a startup movement.
This, again, is where the challenge becomes fun. Despite having these basic building blocks, there is a lot of work and education that needs to take place regarding the creation of a startup culture in SCV. Nevertheless, all it requires is that one spark – we’re expecting Startup Weekend to be that spark.