Chances are, you've heard at least some buzz about Amazon's second headquarters- specifically that the commerce and content behemoth is looking for a location to call (second) home. And, not surprisingly, more than a few U.S. cities are raising their hands and vying for the opportunity to welcome this cutting-edge company. The prize? Not just the glory of beating out other potential host markets but, with it, a $5 billion investment and 50,000 new jobs over the next two decades.
The hunt is on for the perfect city. In an eight-page RFP, Amazon lays out the criteria: a metropolitan area in North America with at least one million people, that also represent stable business climate for growth. Tack on the need for a massive skilled labor pool and high quality of life and the numbers continue to dwindle.
But there's another piece of the Amazon HQ puzzle. The company is an unparalleled innovator that, in countless ways, has changed ecommerce, content and entertainment for good. From online bookseller to commerce leader to Emmy-winning producer, it seems everything Amazon touches turns to gold. And, shouldn't that innovative approach be represented in its location choice for its next headquarters? I think so.
And this is why I also think Amazon's next headquarters should be in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Now, full disclosure: I'm biased. Grand Rapids is my city. It's where I raise my family, run my business, and, overall, love living life. It's the perfect city for adventure and opportunity, with a vibrant arts, culture, dining, and start-up scene.
In short, I think Grand Rapids is the perfect fit for Amazon. And that Amazon is also the perfect fit for Grand Rapids.
"Not only is Michigan a top-10 state for doing business and attracting 25-34-year-olds," Michigan Governor Rick Snyder explained in an article in MLive Media, "our workforce is growing at a higher rate than the national average and we lead the region in inbound migration for those with bachelor's degrees or higher."
Skilled workforce: check.
It's a choice that would also speak to Amazon's innovative nature. Why go with the usual suspects -- power players like New York and LA or, even, the unwaveringly cool cities like Austin and San Francisco? Why not make a choice that speaks to the company's ability to dig in and start something new... somewhere new?
"I believe when people think of Amazon, they think 'cool' and 'innovative'," said Doug Small, President and CEO of Experience Grand Rapids. "The 'cool city' that Grand Rapids has become through its own innovative and collaborative spirit, seems like a natural fit for this world-class corporation."
The synergy is there -- and Team Grand Rapids is confident Amazon will see it. And I believe my mid-sized city has the talent, resources, culture, and overall friendliness that's hard to find anywhere else.
"Amazon is a vibrant, forward-thinking company and Grand Rapids shares those same characteristics and provides the perfect fit for their needs," says Small. "This is a game-changer and the addition of Amazon will only further our image as a great place to work, live, and visit."