Is 2019 the year the Mid-Atlantic region becomes the nation’s next big innovation corridor?

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In the coming months, Amazon will start hiring its way toward 50,000 jobs between newly announced dual second headquarters in New York City and Northern Virginia. Right on their heels, Google will begin its billion-dollar expansion and addition of 7,000 more jobs in Manhattan. Two moves alone don’t make a region, but they mark a powerful vote of confidence that adds energy and momentum.

The residents living between Greater New York and Washington, DC might feel they lost a battle for jobs from big tech companies, but if all of those cities leverage their assets wisely, places like Newark and Philadelphia (both on the list of HQ2 finalists) as well as New Brunswick, Wilmington, Baltimore and others have a shot at becoming America’s next great innovation corridor.

Amazon and Google’s spillover effects will start in the greater New York and Washington, DC areas, but their vendors, partners, advisors, employees and alumni will span the cities in between. It’s not hard to imagine a hyper-connected Mid-Atlantic corridor of cities, networked with high-speed transit and powered by knowledge-intensive sectors like life sciences and technology.

McKinsey’s global research has identified a set of factors that need to come together for innovation hubs to flourish: a highly educated workforce, a critical mass of leading universities, the presence of large anchor companies; strong physical infrastructure, affordability and quality of life, and access to capital.

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