Priority Program 3: Continue to Grow Austin’s Economy by Investing in Our Workforce, Education Systems, Entrepreneurs, and Local Businesses
This priority program seeks to ensure Austin’s continued economic health by developing a widely skilled workforce, recruiting new businesses, retaining and growing existing businesses, and tapping into our entrepreneurial spirit. In particular, this priority program seeks to increase job opportunities for Austin residents and increase small businesses and entrepreneurship.
Economic Development Department (Preston Stewart - Program Champion); Planning and Zoning, Parks and Recreation, Austin Public Library, Human Resources, Health and Human Services
For additional information about this priority program, see page 193 of Imagine Austin, or contact the Planning and Zoning Department liaison.
International Economic Development Award for "Human Capital" : The Economic Development Department working with the Health and Human Services Department was awarded an international Economic Development Council Silver Award for Human Capital based on its work with Capital IDEA to enhance the skills sets of low-skilled and other disadvantaged workers, and to better align economic development and workforce development activities. The strategy put forth was a family and community-based approach to the primary goal of transitioning individuals out of poverty while creating an appropriately-skilled, diverse, local workforce to support the labor needs of Austin area industries and businesses.
First Annual "Small Business Festival": The Economic Development Department collaboration with the Small Business Festival offered resources across the city. In its first year, more than 70 industry speakers discussed small business topics and resources throughout the week. The Small Business Program directly coordinated eight events of commonly requested topics including: State of Small Business in Austin, doing business with the City of Austin, marketing, social business models, networking, legal requirements, and a small business pitch competition. These offerings were all heavily promoted to highlight National Small Business Week.
Small Business Training and Education: Small business classes and events were expanded with two new Exploring Entrepreneurship opportunities focused on Social Entrepreneurship and Food Business Workshop. Additionally, 25 non-contracted class offerings brought in subject matter experts to cover helpful small business topics including: insurance, business structure, SBA loans, cloud computing, sales strategies, franchising, tax strategies, goal-setting, and partnerships. These classes broaden our educational reach and empower small business owners towards success.