Just this past year, national commercial real estate firm CBRE named Henrico and the Richmond region the sixth fastest growing tech hub in the country. According to the report, our region’s pool of tech talent grew by over 15% from 2012-2017, fueling an influx and expansion of leading tech firms such as Facebook, GE Digital, SunTrust Bank, and more.
In Henrico, these firms find a locality dedicated to the success of its business community. From strategic reductions in business taxes (including data centers, small businesses, and manufacturers) to investing in STEM education and technical education, Henrico has created a low-cost, talent-rich ecosystem where tech-heavy businesses can flourish.
Capital Creates Efficiency
Kosmo Machine Inc understands the benefits of being located in Henrico extremely well. The company’s 63,000 sq. ft. operation in eastern Henrico provides computer-assisted, advanced manufacturing services for power generation, defense, and aerospace industries and other industrial applications. Since its start in 1976, Kosmo has continued to invest in cutting-edge technology to streamline their processes and further develop their business model.
Consistently evolving with emerging technology is integral to Kosmo’s success. “Customer requirements have become more complex. [How we meet their needs] is by investing in new software and developing training plans for employees,” says Mike Redden, Vice President of Manufacturing.
Recently, Kosmo decided to further expand its Henrico operations, announcing a $1 million investment to meet the needs of their growing client base. The company acquired a state-of-the-art Faro Arm with laser scanning and reverse engineering capabilities, a 3D printing system and other high-tech production equipment. With Henrico’s favorable taxes on manufacturing equipment, $0.30 per $100 (the lowest effective rate in Central Virginia), Kosmo was able to make technological advancements and efficiency improvements without onerous tax implications.
Along with their recent tech investment, Kosmo is hiring for a number of positions, from computer number control (CNC) machinists to certified welders and support staff, to supplement its team. And there’s plenty of talent to draw on in the future, as local institutions like the Community College Workforce Alliance, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the University of Richmond continue to contribute to a dynamic labor force.
Getting Smarter with Sawyer
Acorn Sales, a company specializing in customized handmade rubber stamps and embossing seals, embraces the latest in robotics to gain a competitive advantage. Founded in Henrico in 1964, Acorn recently integrated a state-of-the-art robot named “Sawyer” into its manufacturing process. Acorn deploys Sawyer in a variety of roles, including operating a table saw to cut customer stamp mounts – a task previously outsourced with unpredictable variable costs.
Acorn CEO Adam Raidabaugh attributes a portion of the firm’s e-commerce success to the team’s new addition “[With Sawyer,] we were able to collapse our supply chain and do things locally here instead of having to rely on other suppliers.”
Acorn has always been located in Henrico, and Raidabaugh wouldn’t have it any other way. He says the difference in taxes between Henrico and the City of Richmond (as well as other cities) is “a pretty big chunk” – money that they can instead apply to innovation. And in an age where small businesses are constantly competing with Amazon and shrinking profit margins, Acorn can continue to invest in e-commerce and digital markets thanks to the cost advantages Henrico’s affordable real estate, labor, and tax rates provide.
Founded in 2010, RTS Labs is a growing software development company located in western Hernico. The company’s visibility to a large potential client base has been key to its success according to RTS Founder and CEO Jyot Singh, who praised the county’s close proximity to clients looking for nimble companies.
“We use tech to automate as much as possible … and our clients have become our evangelists,” says Singh. “We’re at a tipping point where even Fortune 500 companies are seeing disrupters to their business. We’ve been helping those disrupters, so they’re reaching out to us directly.”
This August, RTS Labs relocated to a new office in Innsbrook, the "West End" office park and growing mixed-use neighborhood. The premier community is bustling, with over 22,000 employees from more than 400 other companies. The area offers a unique mix of shopping at nearby Whole Foods and Short Pump Town Center, fiber and power reliability, and Class-A office space with flexible, modern workplace designs – all at an affordable cost.
Cutting-edge neighbors of RTS Labs include:
For progressive companies leading the charge in modernizing their industry, Henrico is the place to be. Henrico’s central location (less than 2 hours from D.C.) and strong workforce provide businesses a cost-effective foundation for accessing major world markets. So if your business is ready to make it to the forefront of cutting-edge technology and business, let Henrico be a part of your success!