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Transforming the Midwest from Rust Belt to Tech Belt

Business & Economy

Transforming the Midwest from Rust Belt to Tech Belt

Friday, April 14, 2023
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Doors at 11:15am / Lunch at 11:30am / Forum begins 12:00pm

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"The change that we need to push through Cleveland is the awareness that no matter what role you’re in today, you need to embrace technology." – Baiju Shah

As a native of Lancaster, Ohio, with more than three decades of experience as a business journalist, Rebecca Fannin is well suited to tell the story of industry in the Midwest. In Silicon Heartland: Transforming the Midwest From Rust Belt to Tech Belt, she traces the region’s tumultuous history, from its heyday as a stronghold of solid, factory jobs that created comfortable middle-class lives for its residents, to its struggles with globalization that saw those same factory jobs sent overseas, leaving residents out of work. Now though, the Midwest is having a resurgence as major companies, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs are turning their eyes inland, away from the coasts. Cities and towns that were once overlooked are receiving renewed interests and investments as tech innovators look to grow their businesses in a region of the U.S. that is eager to welcome them. As she road trips across Middle America, Fannin documents the unique opportunities and the enterprising minds that are turning the Midwest into a high-tech hub. Silicon Heartland is an inspiring an optimistic book that highlights the visionary work being done in an often overlooked region.

Fannin will be joined by Baiju Shah, president and CEO of Greater Cleveland Partnership and Ray Leach, CEO of JumpStart Inc., and Matt Buder Shapiro of Vytalize Health for a conversation about the Midwest’s new tech-centered focus on manufacturing, and what it means for Northeast Ohio.

Rebecca Fannin is the author of four books. She is also a contributor to CNBC, Harvard Business Review, and Forbes. In 2010, she launched Silicon Dragon Ventures, a media and events platform focused on startup investment.


After the forum, a book signing with the author will be available. Mac's Backs will be on site for book sales.

The book is also available for pre-order here for pick up at Mac's Backs, or the City Club. In the comment section at check out, let Mac's Backs know where you would like to pick up your copy.


The livestream will be available beginning at 12:00pm. Have questions? Tweet them at @TheCityClub or send a text to 330.541.5794.

For more information on City Club's health and safety protocols, click here. Email with any questions.

Production and distribution of City Club forums in partnership with Ideastream Public Media is generously provided by PNC and the United Black Fund.

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