Global Venture Labs at the University of Texas – Austin held its “Super Bowl” of investment competition over the weekend (www.vlic.utexas.edu). The event featured young start-up companies from multiple industry sectors, 13 different countries and five continents.
Having the pleasure of serving as a judge for the competition again this year, I was reminded how lucky we are to be in Texas, a land of great entrepreneurs and job-creators.
After all, here we sit in the 13th largest economy in the world, competing in a ‘flat’ global economy, and Texas is thriving.
Last week, Chief Executive Magazine released results of its eighth annual survey of Best and Worst States in which to do business and Texas easily clinched the No. 1 rank, the eighth successive time we’ve been so recognized. (http://chiefexecutive.net/best-worst-states-for-business-2012)
Also last week, 24/7 Wall Street Wire reported (“As employment surges in six states,Texas rules”) that Texas led the country in job creation in 2011 and accounted for a full 33% of those new jobs. In the Milken Institute’s 2011 “Best Performing Cities” index,Texas had four of the top five in the country and nine of the top 25. Texas gained almost 28,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate fell again to 7.1% (compared to 8.3 nationally). As a state, we’ve shown positive job growth for the last 22 months.
Just three weeks ago, Apple, the world’s most valuable company, announced it was expanding its presence in Austin with a $ 304 million dollar investment, adding 3,600 jobs over the next ten years.
The Texas Coalition for Capital (www.texascapital.org), the state’s leading advocate for access to capital and an organization we’ve managed since 2004, has had a front row seat during this run and we know its not by chance that Forbes, CNBC and other notable mediums have called Texas the best place in America for business and jobs over the last five years.
In Chief Executive’s rankings, CEO’s cite our business-friendly tax and regulatory environment and workforce quality (second only to Utah’s). We’ve also led the way in public-private partnership to add efficiency in how we administer state government and use tax dollars. Innovative programs like the Texas Emerging Technology Fund spur innovation and create sustainable companies that create jobs over the long term, a model program other states have emulated.
The Texas Enterprise Fund, which makes Apple-like deals possible, has brought more than 56,000 new jobs to the state and generated $14.7 billion in capital investment since its inception.
The Texas Certified Capital Company program has invested about $ 250.00MM in promising young companies across the state and realized a 3:1 ratio of private investment to public dollars. In other words, public dollars are incenting investment from private investors at an impressive rate and Texas will reap the benefits of those companies’ growth.
To maintain our global economic competitiveness, Texas should stay focused on core principles of public-private partnership, a business climate that favors low taxes, reasonable regulation, skills development within our workforce, and access to capital.
The Coalition and our partners will continue to work for pro-business public policy and access to capital for Texas small businesses to keep Texas economically competitive on a global basis.
The overriding message to entrepreneurs and companies large and small: bring your jobs to Texas and we’ll leave you alone to innovate and grow. Based on the state of our economy today and feedback from CEO’s, it seems the message is resonating.