We’re about to state the obvious. Austin out-performs other cities in many categories, in all kinds of studies and rankings, and might possibly be eligible to win the designation of being on the most top lists. Take, for example, this recent No. 1 distinction by TechCrunch as the city with the fastest download speed. (Slightly random?) We are beaming with pride!
This week’s recognition may have received more attention – and for good reason! According to The Business Journals, Austin has the healthiest small business climate in the South (out of 37 markets studied), based on growth in population growth, private-sector jobs, and small business. What is exciting about this distinction, is not that Austin is No. 1 (well, it is), but this distinction has so much power! Why? Because bigger and fast-growing creative Austin-based companies like Whole Foods, National Instruments, and GSD&M and BazaarVoice and Sweet Leaf Tea Company (bought by Nestle) and Deep Eddy Vodka and were all small before they were big. And the small businesses that helped Austin top this list have the potential to become the next big things.
But how do they get there? How do small businesses gain the knowledge, resources, support, and creative capital to grow? Well for one, living in Austin might help. (Just kidding). One reason why so many small businesses make up the economic landscape of this thriving Capital City is that there are so many resources available. And, when those who are going through the business-building process find a need for a new resource, they often create it themselves to fill that void. Here are a few small business resources that are easily accessible, have a low cost investment, and the return could be invaluable as you develop ideas of your own:
- The City of Austin’s Small Business Development Program (SBDP) is a one-of-a-kind program that fosters the growth of small businesses in Austin. It’s minimal-no cost workshops, training courses, and events help entrepreneurs with everything from business plan writing to accounting to seeking alternative funding and micro-financing. They even have a Business Solutions Center that is open to the public every week day for counseling and research.
- RISE Austin staked its claim six years ago and continues to grow each year in terms of community involvement, community support, and impact on startups. RISE Austin is an entrepreneurial organization that provides resources and hosts events for startups and entrepreneurs, including its annual Springtime mega-event: RISE Week. What may be most unique about the event is that entrepreneurs are sharing among eachother – hosting over 200 sessions citywide — for free — for the collective good. RISE is on to something – it has big plans to expand to NYC and SF in the next few years.
- TechRanch Campfires are focused networking gatherings on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of every month and are designed for entrepreneurs to walk away having started strong connections with a few new people each time. Some of the most valued relationships in our network started at Campfires.
- ATX Startup Hotline provides an easy way for entrepreneurs to gain tangible advice from on-call entrepreneurs that accept incoming calls during select times. Have a question? Consider asking a peer through this easy hotline! You may even catch us on the other end of the phone line!
Wherever you live, take a moment to research the small business resources available in your city. If you’ve identified a need that you’re not finding, don’t be afraid to create it! You never know where your small business could end up if you have the right encouragement, people, and resources within arms’ reach. Maybe you’ll even top the next top list!
This blog post highlights local Austin resources for small business and is associated with a national variation we wrote for Turnstone. Check out the national small business resources we recommend here!
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