The world is finally learning about a trend that iSelect has known about for years: that innovation and new technology are breathing new life into the economies of the U.S. Midwest. In fact, both Kansas City and St. Louis were featured in a recent CNN piece on Midwestern economic growth, highlighting the role that tech companies have played in the recent resurgence of both cities.

“Like much of the Midwest, the second half of the 20th century was not kind to either city. With so much of their energy, innovation and population siphoned off by the Sun Belt, St. Louis and Kansas City became sad members of the Rust Belt fraternity. While neither city was in as dire straits as Detroit, both Missouri metropoli became shadows of their former selves, many of their grand buildings abused or disused, their once vibrant neighborhoods gradually slipping into urban decay. But a funny thing happened along the road to the future: over the past decade, both St. Louis and Kansas City have revitalized and reinvented themselves as dynamic 21st-century cities. And they did it in the same way that they became global icons a century ago — by fully embracing innovation and molding it to local advantage.”

I’ve long argued that Missouri and the greater Midwest are fertile ground for innovation, particularly in industries and specialties that this area has always done well like agriculture, transportation and telecommunications. And it’s true, our cities have made great progress in recent year. But, while attention like this is great, it doesn’t solve the big challenges that entrepreneurs here continue to face, namely a lack of funding. iSelect is working to solve that problem.

The Midwest has a chance to be the next Silicon Valley, the next region that takes the mantle of American innovation and economic growth, helping to drive the country forward for the next 100 years. That’s the good news. But we aren’t there yet, and there is still a lot of work to do.

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