Notes from Central Texas Growth Summit

The Central Texas Growth Summit was held yesterday at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Austin. Here are some notes:

Here are some highlights with Kirk Watson (former Austin Mayor, current State Senator) as the moderator:

1. Change in Hunting patterns – Since the unemployment rate is 3.5% in Austin, essentially everyone that wants a job has one.

This is affecting the hiring patterns of small business owners and how they recruit talented employees. They are using the Internet more and networking in many ways is becoming more common in Myspace and Facebook. If you are not using this method, you are getting left behind.

Another area of recruiting is creating the talented employee by setting up educational programs that essentially train and create homegrown employees. Programs like this are being creating at ACC. UT is at capacity and cannot keep up with the demand of the job growth in Austin so we will have to get employees outside of Austin also.

2. The rise of the infoprenour – More and more people are working from their home.
The increase is from 9% in 2000 to 25% in 2015. Even working from home, people need the office environment and businesses are starting to cater to this. There is a “Jelly Trend” which is a group environment being created at different people’s homes. Groups are forming to work together at designated places around Austin. Launch Pad Networking is a cafe that will be opening in downtown Austin to give people an work environment. There will be desks, Internet connection and serve coffee and food as well.

3. Pitiful Pittance – Austin has a lot of money, but our % of donation to our income is very low. Out of the 50 largest cities in the US, Austin ranks 48th in percentage of charity donation compared to income. Kirk Watson encourages people to give more than 3%(the national average) of our income back to our community. One charity that was recommended was ANY BABY CAN. A study shows that $1 given to a program to help children before the age of 5 give us a return of $17 saved later.

4. Ensuring Health – 1-4 people do not have health insurance and this situation is getting out of control. There is rising costs in health care and health insurance and the amount of unpaid debt to hospitals and medical facilities is enormous. Solution – Adopt a wellness program and encourage a lifestyle change in employees, subsidize fitness programs and encourage routine health visits.

5. Consumer Heal thyself – More and more people are turning to the Internet and taking responsibility for their own health. Doctors are not held up as the know all solution. Diagnosis is often done from the Internet. Also, more and more people are turning to less expensive health care overseas like in India especially for major surgeries.

6. Strange Bedfellows – lines between industries are getting blurred. The “NBIC” type industries are getting 680M of venture capital into Austin to support these industries. This stands for: Nanoscience, Bio science, Information Tech, and Cognitive Science. Austin will be trying to bring these type companies into Austin.

7. Other Peoples Money – Investors giving money to Austin. This “seed” money is coming from outside of Austin from NYC, San Jose, San Francisco. 5.6 Million is going into commercial real estate in Austin (re-sale not new construction). Money is also coming from all over the world. Foreign investors are coming to Austin. Austin is getting Global!

There is the reverse gold rush coming from California. Companies from California are moving their businesses to Austin. Also, there are hot international companies investing in Austin from Latin America and Brazil, Russia (the eastern block), China, Costa Rica and Pakistan. There are also resources to help you move your business to other countries. Go to . Also check out the local chamber for ideas.

8. Giving up your car – Austin is becoming more friendly to support people that want to give up their car. From the rail systems to the multi-faceted neighborhoods like at Mueller Airport, more and more people are finding it easier to give up their car. Retailers will be recognizing this opportunity and you will see a growing shift and trend in changing storefronts and business that will support this.

That was it. Hope this will be helpful and informative to you.

2 thoughts on “Notes from Central Texas Growth Summit”

  1. I think Austin really has a lot of catching up to do in terms of living in Austin without a car. (Something I’ve done two years during my time in Austin.) I have been working in Boston during the week the past few weeks and it’s so convenient and inexpensive to walk and take the T just about anywhere you want to go. I’ve stayed at 3 hotels in town, and none of them are physically near my work or the places I like to go in the evening. However with the train system, and the occasional taxi, it’s worked out well. Plus, it’s nice not paying $20-30/night to park my $40-50/day rental car at the hotel. I’d rather spend my time walking or waiting for a train than sitting in traffic or circling city blocks to find a parking space.

    Once commuter rail between Leander and Austin gets running (and I’ve seen it go by on the rail road tracks!!), I think we should focus on putting in light rail between downtown and the airport.

    Thanks for posting that information. I’ve heard a lot of it in terms of national information, but not specific to Austin.

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