Editor’s note: WRALTechWire asked Adam Klein, chief strategist for the American Underground in Durham, to offer his assessment on the impact of Wednesday’s news that a Google Tech Hub will be established in the Bull City. Klein has been talking with Google about a possible partnership for months and was in Chicago for the announcement.

DURHAM, N.C. – The American Underground and Google announced a partnership Wednesday, with the American Underground joining a Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub network of six other hubs across North American. So exactly what does Google partnering with the American Underground mean?

Here are the top five things from our end:

1) Significant validation: Our metro was the smallest of the Tech Hubs selected. But the concentration of talent and big ideas caught the eye of Google when they visited the American Underground in June. Our region is catching the eye of leaders in Silicon Valley. This is a major tip of the cap to the caliber of startups in the AU.

2) Access to experts: While we are starting to pin down exact details, we know we’ll have the opportunity to host Google+ Hangouts and in-person events with Google experts on a variety of topics. In my discussions with the other tech hubs in the network yesterday, I think there is also an opportunity to have non-Google experts in each location host virtual meetups on topic areas and share insights. This will help startups across the seven locations grow faster.

3) Schwag: Who doesn’t like a free t-shirt and free food! But seriously, Google is giving teams in the American Underground access to $25,000+ worth of product credit across a number of platforms. That means less money out of pocket for startup essentials and more money staying in the startup.

4) The network effect: It’s been said that what matters is who you know. By linking with Google, it’s my hope that our teams will build bigger and better products because of the access they have to Google and other startups in the tech hub network. While many are excited about linking with Google, I am realizing there could be major opportunities to partner with the other tech hubs. Consider a global access pass that would give teams in the AU access to the six other spaces in the Tech Hub network–and vice versa. This is essentially what we are seeking to create with our @Raleigh location only magnified across major metros in North America.

5) A budding relationship: Google made it clear that this Tech Hub Network partnership is just the beginning. Some of the news of the partnership is still unfolding, we realize that, but the reality is that we have an opportunity to make the partnership what we want. What I love about the way Google is approaching the partnership is that it clearly wants to support each Tech Hub, rather than come in in a heavy-handed way. That provides us an opportunity to bring ideas and opportunities to Google rather than rely only on their initiative. So let’s show Google we mean business, and that the Triangle continues to be the place of people with big ideas.

(Editor’s note: The American Underground is part of the American Tobacco Historic District, which is owned by Capitol Broadcasting. Capitol is the parent company of WRALTechWire.)