Texas - Wide Open for Digital Business

Digital Mission - SXSW 10 - On Capitol HillThe Digital Mission companies were taken on a tour of the Capital Building in Austin.

Although the state capital has moved over the course of its history, Austin has become it's resting place, nestled centrally in the state of Texas. It's quite an incredible building, steeped in History.

When you mention tech and the US most people's minds jump to the coasts, usually San Francisco and Los Angeles, or Boston and New York. It hasn't always been that way for tech, and it may not always be either, at least if the state and city folks here have their way.

Last July the Economist ran a piece on California versus Texas. In many way Texas out performs it's west coast rival, and in most of the rest it is catching up rapidly. You'll find offices for many familiar businesses located here, and a fair amount of media activity too. Amir Mirabi, of the Office of the Governor of the State of Texas, made a compelling case for the rise of Texas, here's just a few of the facts he presented:

  • It is home to 3 Major US Airlines and has the largest number of international ports (good communications).
  • Has produced 1.29 million jobs in the last 5 years (a growing economy).
  • In the top 3 nationally for business and academic R&D ($15.86 billion).
  • Twice the national average of fully bilingual professionals in the workforce (great jumping off point for the growing Latin American markets).
  • Has no personal and corporate tax (yes, you read that right).

The state has moved far beyond the stereotype of the oil-dependent energy producer that many of us perceive it to be. A significant portion of the state's capital surplus has been ploughed into education and technology incubation schemes, giving it a highly qualified employment base and a sea of start ups. Today Texas produces more renewable energy than California, has a thriving creative business sector and is home to numerous gaming and digital media companies. Recently Facebook announced that they are opening offices in the state, adding to the momentum. Watch out California.

Tony Schum, from the Austin Chamber of Commerce, focussed in on Austin itself. The state capital has a young and vibrant community - all year round, not just during SXSW. It is the 5th safest city in the US and the 2nd fastest growing, with a stable and affordable property market and a higher quality of life than its costal rivals.

There are financial incentives available to digital start ups too, making it a finance-friendly place, as well as a human-friendly one. You're guaranteed a very warm welcome, y'all, so if you're thinking about setting up in the US, you might just want to check it out.



Independent Film and TV Industry in Austin, TX

FYI, we also have a vibrant film and TV production industry in Austin. The city has been home for some pioneer digital projects -- such as the movie Sin City.

More details are available at the Texas Film Commision site.

David H. Deans