“Shark Tank” investor Robert Herjavec thinks there’s a real future for cities like Milwaukee to lure in people and businesses from the coasts.
“One of the things that I think we’re going to see over the next few years is the rise of cities like Milwaukee,” Herjavec said.
He’s been one of the main investors on ABC’s “Shark Tank” since its debut in 2009. He previously appeared on the Canadian version of the show.
He sold BRAK Systems, an integrator of internet security software, to AT&T in 2000 for millions. Herjavec owns and is the CEO of the cybersecurity business The Herjavec Group.
Herjavec is coming to Milwaukee on Tuesday evening for a 2019 U.S. Cellular Tech Tour event at Discovery World.
Here’s what Herjavec said he thinks will help cities like Milwaukee be seen as a place for tech to migrate.
“Number one — connectivity,” he said. The internet is going to become like electricity where we only notice when it’s not on, he said. It’s not just about having reliable, fast connections but the power it gives to access cloud computing and other applications.
His talk Tuesday is about how technology can enhance Wisconsin business operations. The sponsor, U.S. Cellular, announced this month it would launch its 5G network in Wisconsin during the first quarter of 2020. Milwaukee will be one of the first markets.
“I think we’re going through a major shift in America where the economic centers are going to get dispersed all over the states,” he said.
The infrastructure already in Milwaukee sets the city up to be in the running with affordable homes and short commute times. Milwaukee business leaders have formed a MKE Tech Hub Coalition with $5 million with the goal of doubling the number of technology workers in the area. With the low unemployment rate, especially in the tech sector, people are really looking at the quality of life, he said.
What Herjavec said he notices while being on “Shark Tank” is the rise of businesses that can operate anywhere.
“You give me great connectivity and I’ll start a business anywhere,” he said. To attract or retain a company that bases its sales through websites and social media, cities need strong connectivity, he said.
Herjavec’s suggestion is for Milwaukee to promote its vibrant local community and “show people the possible and not focus on what people perceive as impossible,” he said.
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