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Published on Friday, June 10, 2016

City Implementing Pilot Program to Retain Tech Startups in San Antonio; Amends EDIF Grant Guidelines

Media Contact: City of San Antonio Economic Development Department: Jeannette Garcia 210.207.3915  | jeannette.garcia@sanantonio.gov

SAN ANTONIO (June 10, 2016) – On June 16, the San Antonio City Council will consider a new pilot program targeting the entrepreneurs and companies participating in the San Antonio-based Techstars Cloud accelerator program in partnership with local tech industry organization Tech Bloc. The partnership in consideration is a four-year pilot program called the “Techstars Talent Retention Pilot Program” that will allocate up to $200,000 per year over four years to help retain and grow the talented entrepreneurs from across the U.S. and around the world that are drawn to participate in the Techstars Cloud program here in San Antonio. The pilot program will provide a maximum, individual grant amount of $50,000 for up to four Techstars graduate companies per year, with the goal of securing the retention of 16 companies in San Antonio by 2020 and also supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem. City Council will also consider amendments to the Economic Development Incentive Fund (EDIF) Guidelines that provide for investments in entrepreneurial development activities and workforce development programs.

“This program supports talented entrepreneurs who are building high-growth companies in San Antonio, demonstrating  our commitment to becoming a globally competitive city where everyone has the opportunity to succeed,” said Mayor Ivy R. Taylor.  “Partnering with Tech Bloc on this pilot program allows us to continuously improve our approach to secure promising tech entrepreneurs who are potentially building the next Rackspace or Facebook right here in San Antonio. In addition, we updated our incentive toolkit, expanding our commitment across other industries and providing more workforce development options so residents have better access to jobs created by these new companies.”

Together, the updates to the EDIF Guidelines and implementation of the Techstars Talent Retention Pilot Program represent a proactive approach by the City to further support entrepreneurial development in San Antonio. The pilot program focuses on San Antonio’s growing IT and Cloud industry, and aligns with both the long-term community goals laid out in the City’s SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan and the community economic development implementation plan, Forefront SA. Both plans call for targeted economic development tools tailored to each industry in the pursuit of more and better jobs, as well as enhanced opportunity for training and access to those jobs.

“The City of San Antonio is working to put in place the tools needed to better support partnerships within our targeted industries,” said City Manager Sheryl Sculley. “Across the country, new, high-growth technology companies, such as those completing the Techstars program, are leading in the creation of quality, high-paying jobs. This type of industry-driven economic development policy is an important piece in how we implement the recommendations and goals of SA Tomorrow and Forefront SA.”

Tech Bloc, a local nonprofit and tech industry advocacy organization, will be responsible for managing the pilot program and facilitating prospect identification, selection, and accountability. In addition, Tech Bloc will focus on leveraging the strength of the local tech community to secure and retain these entrepreneurs for up to three years, and maximize the City’s investment and support for the industry.

“Tech Bloc is excited to partner with the City on this important program to foster startup creation and retention in our developing tech ecosystem. It’s great to see our City leadership team be so invested in San Antonio’s startup community,” said Tech Bloc’s Chief Operating Officer Marina Gavito

Tech Bloc Co-Founder Lorenzo Gomez added: “programs like this send a clear message to the founder community that San Antonio is an ideal place to start and grow their company, and we are proud to partner with the City on this great initiative.” 

Founded in 2006 in Boulder, Colo., Techstars is a mentorship-driven technology startup accelerator that helps bring new technologies to market. Techstars operates 22 accelerator programs and is considered one of the best and most competitive startup accelerators in the world. Highly selective, Techstars accepts fewer than 1 percent of the thousands of applications it receives from entrepreneurs around the globe. The Techstars Cloud Program, established in 2012, operates out of Geekdom in downtown San Antonio. Some 44 companies have successfully graduated from the program and secured more than $177 million in private investment, yet only eight of those companies have chosen to remain and operate in San Antonio. Through the Techstars Talent Retention Pilot Program, the City hopes to increase the number of successful Techstars Cloud graduates choosing to remain and build their businesses in San Antonio.

“The Techstars program gives us the opportunity to attract world class entrepreneurs to San Antonio and connect them to the local ecosystem,” said Techstars Cloud Managing Director Blake Yeager. “These investments illustrate the City’s commitment to helping retain such talented people and ideas in San Antonio, and to continuing to develop and grow the tech industry and ecosystem.”

The June 16th City Council vote will coincide with Tech Bloc’s one-year anniversary Birthday Rally Celebration later that evening at the Pearl Stables.

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Categories: Economic Development

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