It's Your Move: The Best States To Start Or Expand A Solution Provider Business

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Finding and hiring technical talent is top of mind for many solution provider owners -- and a reason why some states are so attractive.

Utah, for example, ranks a respectable No. 17 in the education and experience levels of its workforce. And the state ranks No. 8 for its low labor costs.

"I get highly educated technical talent at low labor costs," Westwood said. In particular he pointed to engineering and business graduates from the University of Utah, Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University. "There's a lot of young, technical talent coming out of those universities. And people who are very business-savvy."

The talent pool of technical workers in Virginia also is favorable for solution providers, reported F1 Computer Solutions' Lieb. "It's not really an issue finding the people we're looking for," she said.

"There are more people with technical skills and advanced degrees in this area," said Aptaria's Lawlor, speaking about the northern Virginia region. He's right: The CRN analysis ranks Virginia No. 3 with its educated, experienced workforce. More than 35 percent of the state's adults have a bachelor's degree or higher, ranking it No. 7 among the states. And it's ranked No. 1 in the number of information technology jobs as a share of private-sector employment, an indication that many Virginia companies have significant IT operations.

The availability of experienced workers is one reason why solution providers choose to operate in high-cost, high-tax states such as Massachusetts and Washington.

"There's a good availability of talent in the marketplace," said Cumulus Global's Falcon. (Cumulus Global is a member of the Next-Gen 250.) In addition to the obvious proximity to Boston-area universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard that churn out engineering and business management talent, Falcon said the region has a growing number of startup "incubators" such as the Cambridge Innovation Center and incubators at schools such as Babson College.

"There's a lot of smart people here," agreed Bryon Beilman, president of Iuvo Technologies, a Newton, Mass.-based IT solutions and services supplier founded in 2007. But he said that even in Massachusetts, which the study ranks No. 1 for the overall education and experience level of its workforce, hiring people with the right balance of technical and interpersonal skills isn't easy. "Finding the right people is still challenging -- and it's expensive," he said.

PcCareSupport's Westwood noted that Utah not only offers a significant pool of educated, experienced workers, the state's Department of Workforce Services pays him for every employee he adds -- in the range of $3,000 to $4,000, depending on salary. He added, however, that Utah does have high unemployment insurance, in which it ranks No. 20, according to the CRN analysis.

NEXT: In Search Of Top Talent (continued)

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