As of the late 2000s, despite the groundbreaking success of companies like Dell and National Instruments and early technology consortia like the MCC and the University of Texas’ IC2 Institute, entrepreneurs and investors were still struggling. Investors outside of the market stipulated that the deal flow wasn’t strong enough nor the entrepreneurs seasoned enough to warrant a deeper investment. Companies complained that Austin did not have the tech workforce required to drive decisions to relocate or expand into the city. Lastly, there remained a significant disconnect between tech leaders who also complained about the lack of technically-skilled talent, and the city’s institutional leaders who claimed that the tech sector couldn’t possibly have trouble recruiting — Austin was a university town after all.
The Austin Technology Council, an industry organization created in 1992 to accelerate tech growth, needed to evolve quickly and prove to the market that there was an existing technology ecosystem. In 2009, Waymaker Group conducted the first economic impact study for technology and found the sector contributed $21 billion annually—a game-changer for a town that had been characterized by outsiders as “tumbleweeds in the streets.”
Waymaker’s strategic plan for ATC included measures to strengthen specific tech talent attraction efforts, forge partnerships with regional educational institutions and support local entrepreneurs through leadership events. With an aggressive external media strategy and greater industry engagement in regional economic development initiatives, Austin leveraged the creative industries to strengthen the Austin tech brand with external candidates.
• Digital Economic Impact Study
• Vision Development
• Strategic Plan Development
• Public-Private Partnership, City of Austin
From 2011-2016, the Austin Metro area saw an increase in GDP of 34.7%, the second largest in the nation and outpacing the national average by a multitude of 3x.
In 2013, technology was driving $21 billion into the Austin economy and supporting one-third of local jobs. By 2017, economic impact neared $30 billion.
“The workforce gap analysis Julie completed for Austin led to an increased focus on talent
development and political engagement which led to a partnership with the City of Austin.”
- David Altounian, Associate Dean, St. Edward’s University (Bill Munday School of Business)