Slopes Summit: Gov. Cox calls Utah the “startup state”

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Spencer Cox sat down with Clint Betts last week at the Silicon Slopes Summit.

Betts is the co-founder of Silicon Slopes.

He first asked the governor, “how do we ensure that Silicon Slopes doesn’t become Silicon Valley?” Specifically on the issue of economic inequality.

The governor said the first step is simply recognizing those issues that come with growth, and learning from Northern California’s mistakes.

He said what puts Utah in a peculiar situation, is the fact that the state has the lowest outward migration rate. “We’re the fastest-growing state in the nation, not because we have the most people coming here — although we have a lot of people coming here —but because nobody leaves,” Gov. Cox said.

“I think it’s helpful to remember why we love Utah. What is it that has created the culture that has made it so we could thrive and be successful here?” He said he wants the state to be a model for upward mobility in the US. “That means not pricing people out, that means caring about everyone, lifting people up, giving back, that’s the expectation we have.”

The governor said that Utah has a unique opportunity in the wake of Covid.

Coming out of the pandemic, Gov. Cox said “there are some states that will do better — the gap between states doing well and states doing poorly is growing in this country.

“I was just back in New York and Washington D.C. talking to think tanks and really bright people and developers… they had nothing but good to say about Utah, and what we’re doing. This ecosystem that we’ve created — and by we I don’t mean the government, but you all.

“We are the startup state, and that ecosystem is thriving. Manufacturing is coming back in a big way.”

Gov. Cox said that his advisors reported that 80% of the companies looking to move to Utah are in the manufacturing sector. Prior to the pandemic, that figure was more like 30%.

“You can see that that switch is happening, supply chains are being disrupted, bringing those [jobs] back. And Utah, sitting where we sit right now, it has the ability to take advantage of this rapid change that is happening.”

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