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 State, Provincial and International Reviews 
Thursday, January 12 2017
Washington State: At the Forefront of Innovation

If your computing device does Windows, you order your morning coffee using more than three words or were shocked to find out that Amazon is also a river, you’re probably already quite familiar with Washington’s legendary businesses, products and services. 

Without much fanfare, Washington companies have reshaped and transformed the high-tech, clean technology, aerospace, life science, maritime and advanced manufacturing sectors, creating endless new business and investment opportunities.

Cloud City

Cloud computing provides an excellent example. Thanks to the lowest-cost energy in the United States, server farms are springing up next to traditional agricultural farms in eastern Washington, taking advantage of the plentiful, renewable energy provided by the largest hydroelectric power grid in the nation. 

Amazon and Microsoft, the two juggernauts of cloud computing, are headquartered in Washington State. Together they command a 40 percent market share of the cloud market, which is estimated to be a $23 billion industry. Fueled by the growth in cloud computing, hundreds of innovative startups have opened their doors across the state.

The Final Frontier

Building on its century of know-how in aerospace, Washington State continues to expand its commercial space sector. Relative newcomers such as Blue Origin and Planetary Resources are leveraging the pioneering work of industry stalwarts like Boeing and Aerojet Rocketdyne whose groundbreaking ideas took us to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Recognizing the tremendous wealth of engineering talent in the region, Space X opened an engineering office in Washington to design a new generation of satellites. Another Washington success story, Spaceflight Industries, has already put nearly a hundred satellites into orbit and is under contract for 130 more.

New Materials for a New Age

Boeing, Toray, Janicki Industries, SGL Group and nearly a hundred other companies are leading the way in composites and advanced materials. Boeing’s next-generation 777X will have the largest composite wing structure ever produced, so large that the last 11 feet of each wing will fold in order to use existing airport gates. Lessons learned from this and other advanced manufacturing projects find their way into a range of Washington-made products using composites, from guitars, canoes and Pickleball rackets to automobile panels and prosthetic legs.

Life Saving Innovation

The state that gave the world kidney dialysis machines, portable heart defibrillators and bone marrow transplants continues to lead the way in the field of medical innovation. Washington’s information and communication technology sector – 14,000+ companies strong – creates endless opportunities for collaboration with the life science/global health field. As a result, organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and PATH continue to offer new solutions to global health issues such as clean drinking water, transportable perishable vaccines, rural pre-natal care and new cures for life-robbing diseases.

You’re in Good Company

Part of Washington’s secret sauce is the rugged pioneer spirit that is deeply engrained into the culture. This legendary entrepreneurial mindset, combined with vast intellectual capital and a collaborative environment, has drawn some of the most well-known and respected companies in the world to Washington. In recent years, eBay, Airbnb, Apple, Twitter, Snapchat and countless others have opened offices in the state, joining such homegrown success stories as Amazon, Boeing, Costco, Microsoft and Starbucks.

Investment opportunities are equally strong. More than 800 multinational firms have operations in Washington, including BAE Systems, Dassault Systemes, Mitsubishi, Philips Healthcare, REC Silicon, Safran, Sharp, Shell, Toray and Zodiac. 

Washington is truly a study in contrasts. Featuring an educated, highly-productive workforce, a smart, multi-faceted sector-driven strategy, a critical mass of legendary companies and a healthy startup community, the state continues to enjoy historic economic growth and expansion. 

For more information on Washington State and its rich history of innovation and invention, visit

Visit for local economic development office directory listings.

Posted by: AT 09:15 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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