The following appeared in the October issue of Utah Business Magazine, distributed with the iteration of Utah Life Sciences Magazine. You can read it online here. Here is the article in its entirety:

There is no greater gift than good health, and in Salt Lake City some of the world’s most innovative healthcare companies are creating products to help people everywhere live better and longer.

And now, in the time of the COVID-19 crisis, we have seen just how important healthcare innovation is for public health and how it will be a key component to economic recovery in the months and years ahead. Salt Lake City’s diverse and engaged community is what sets it apart from many places, and will be a key factor that propels us into a solid financial future.

What has been years in the making for the City, Mayor Erin Mendenhall is leading efforts to build upon the ‘Life Science Corridor’ laying groundwork for a new ‘Healthcare Innovation Center’ under the ‘Tech Lake City’ initiative. She says:

“By designating an intentional space we are achieving Salt Lake City’s vision of supporting a local industry that helps grow our economy, creates excellent opportunities for our workforce, and cultivates the creative energy and advancements necessary to produce modern medical solutions for an evolving landscape of needs.”

The hub is a new phase, building upon the corridor first developed in 2018 – a planned City effort to build more incubator, office, and wet lab space where startups can grow and scale with ease.

Healthcare innovation encompasses life science and digital health sectors of our State economy including biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics, genomics, biotechnology, health tech, digital informatics and all other services related to or supporting these industries.

It is no secret that these companies choose Salt Lake City for our favorable business climate, quality of life, and phenomenal tech ecosystem. But what makes the corridor and Innovation Center plan more intriguing for investors and startups? Available real estate and a specialized concentration in at least three subsectors.

Opportunity Zones (OZ’s) were strategically selected with the manufacturing supply chain in mind – from early-stage at The University of Utah and Research Park development to innovation happening in Class A and co-working office space downtown, to late-stage manufacturing west toward Salt Lake International Airport for seamless distribution. Each area allows for the capital stacking of many available financial tools. You could call it ‘doubling incentives’ – where OZ’s overlap with RDA project areas, New Market Tax Credits and Community Development Block Grant Eligibility.   

SLC’s strategy: Linking new capital to projects and incentives. Green = Opportunity Zone + Life Sciences and Healthcare Innovation Corridor overlap. Blue = Corridor, Yellow = Opportunity Zones.

Caption: SLC’s strategy: Linking new capital to projects and incentives. Green = Opportunity Zone + Life Sciences and Healthcare Innovation Corridor overlap. Blue = Corridor, Yellow = Opportunity Zones. 

The downtown area of the corridor is a priority for Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s Healthcare Innovation ‘Tech Lake City’ initiative, building upon what is shaping to be already incredible biotech work happening in the area. Called to lead the effort in the City’s Department of Economic Development is Clark Cahoon, Technology and Innovation Advisor who will support and carry out the vision of the Healthcare Innovation Charter. By organizing subcommittees and coordinating industry leaders and City resources, the Charter is developing the groundwork for the Healthcare Innovation Center.  

The goals set forth by the Healthcare Innovation Charter include: developing a central downtown facility for innovation, inclusive workforce development, better public/private partnerships, business friendly zoning policies, and national awareness campaigns, among others. 

In Salt Lake City we are attracting leaders and innovators that are committed to the Life Sciences Corridor, staying in Salt Lake City, and all of the benefits of being here. Here they can operate with the same innovative spirit you might find in larger cities but without the inflated expense. The amount of new venture capital to the life sciences industry, even over the past year, has been staggering. In Salt Lake City alone, more than $200 million has been invested since 2016.

Photo credit: Recursion Pharmaceuticals, located in downtown Salt Lake City on the 300 West corridor

In collaboration with Salt Lake County and the State of Utah, Salt Lake City is about that culture of pulling together and figuring it out. This is how we will rethink our current economic landscape and emerge from this crisis in the strongest possible position.

With the University of Utah as a Tier 1 research institution and our unique combination of subsectors, we’re honored to support, assist, and lead the next decade of innovation.

Have questions? We’re here to help. Reach out to Salt Lake City’s Technology & Innovation Advisor, Clark Cahoon at