Google tries to fuel innovation outside of Silicon Valley with new Tech Hub network

The imposing Merch Mart. Motorola occupies the top four stories (source: Flickr / HarshLight)

Google is looking to cultivate innovation in some of the more obscure tech markets in the North America. It announced on Wednesday a program that would expand Google’s community ties and outreach in seven large tech hub co-working facilities in the U.S. and Canada.

Chicago, Denver and Waterloo, Canada, aren’t exactly tech backwaters, but they aren’t Silicon Valley, San Francisco or New York City either. In some cases — such as Motorola’s hometown Chicago — Google already has a major presence in these cities. But the idea is for Google to have a more direct involvement in the working facilities, accelerators and incubators that are seeding these cities’ nascent startup scenes.

From a post on Google’s official blog:

We started Google for Entrepreneurs to help foster entrepreneurship in communities around the world. Through our work in more than 100 countries, we’ve been incredibly impressed with the catalyzing impact that tech hubs have had: helping startups grow, and creating jobs in local communities in the process. So today we’re announcing a Tech Hub Network with seven partners, initially located in North America. 1871 (Chicago), American Underground (Durham), Coco (Minneapolis), Communitech (Waterloo), Galvanize (Denver), Grand Circus (Detroit) and Nashville Entrepreneur Center (Nashville) are all top notch spaces fueling entrepreneurship. We believe these hubs have pioneered a new approach to launching a business, and it’s our mission to help support them.

Each Tech Hub will become an official Google partner, receiving financial support from the company and an on-site Google employee, who will act as liason between the search giant and the local tech community. Though Google didn’t give any details on what level of financial contribution it would provide to these hubs, it did say it would host events and actively work with each hub’s startups on new projects and product development.

Google also hinted that it might take on an incubator or angel funding role in those cities, saying it would help entrepreneurs in these seven cities launch and grow their companies.

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