Cities across the U.S. are taking note of Silicon Valley's importance in modernizing small business opportunities. Raleigh, North Carolina and Phoenix, Arizona have both invested in downtown initiatives that will inspire young innovators and entrepreneurs while helping them save on rent by escaping California. Hartford, Connecticut, the old insurance capital of the U.S., is next in line.

The city recently started a new program aimed at creating "innovation places" that will nurture top talent and new businesses.

Under legislation adopted this year, the state will spend about $30 million over the next five years to help communities identify and invest in places ideally suited to support entrepreneurial activity that creates the kind of walkable urban settings that have proved so attractive to young workers. The program operates through CTNext, a state-backed support network for entrepreneurs.

The intent is also to stimulate more entrepreneurial activity around major colleges and universities and corporate research facilities.

As the state has experienced tepid job growth and an unemployment rate slightly above national standards, Hartford is seeking out young businesses to give the economy a boost.

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