Houston, we don’t have a problem.
Known for its oil-related industries, NASA’s Mission Control command center and big, Southern-belle hair, Houston is now coming into its own as a mecca for startups. Plenty of entrepreneurs have chosen this city as the place to launch their new business. This year’s Super Bowl has spurred development too, with city officials working feverishly to make downtown a trendy, fun place to grab a business lunch, a coffee or a few beers after work.
As entrepreneur and marketer Sujan Patel wrote in Entrepreneur magazine, “In business — as in real estate — it’s all about location, location, location.”
And Houston has the magic mix: Reasonable and flexible office rents, incentives for startups, a skilled pool of workers, ample housing, good transportation and a thriving social scene.
“Where you put your headquarters can affect your ability to hire, as well as determine the business partners and investors you have easy access to.” — Sujan Patel in Entrepreneur
Situated near the Gulf Coast, Houston boasts a population of more than 6 million, making it the fifth biggest metropolitan area in the U.S. Here’s a look at what this town can offer to young businesses.
Both the city and state offer a range of startup incentives. In Houston, there’s Enterprise Zone funding, while statewide, there’s the Texas Enterprise Fund, among other funding options.
“From energy to health care, nanotechnology, aerospace and information technology, the Houston region offers a strong infrastructure to support these growing industries plus a highly trained and skilled workforce,” according to the Greater Houston Partnership.
The state is proud of its reputation as business friendly – there’s also no state income tax.
“Houston has a distinctly favorable business climate. The region benefits from a skilled workforce, world-class infrastructure and transportation system, and a pro-business environment that stimulates rather than stifles business growth.” — Greater Houston Partnership
In 2016, 70 Houston companies made the Inc. Magazine 5000 list of the fastest-growing businesses in the U.S.
“Houston has long been a business haven, but recent growth seems to be fueling its entrepreneurial spirit,” Inc. Magazine wrote.
With all the growing businesses, it is no wonder Houston office space is growing in demand! Coworking spaces, often referred as shared office spaces, are a popular choice now because they offer flexible-term leases which helps businesses save on costs, all while offering the entrepreneurial spirits a space to creatively collide and mingle ideas.
TechSpace Houston will offer businesses smartly configured floor plans designed to promote worker productivity in a collaborative, community-centric environment. The campus will provide a best in class experience, including interconnecting and scalable offices, fully-equipped conference rooms and thought provoking collaboration lounges combined with an energetic community experience. Our advanced on-site technology platform will provide an enterprise-class, Tier 1 IT infrastructure complete with a private, firewalled data network, dedicated and burstable internet connectivity and advanced voice telecommunications. TechSpace Houston will open its new space in March 2017, so stop by today for a tour to check it out.
Lots of startups
Houston also has a thriving startup scene. For example, Myrtle Consulting Group, founded in 2012, posted mind-boggling growth of 1,052% in 2015, according to Inc. The group has clients in the food and beverage, life sciences, and consumer products industries.
Part of the startup-friendly climate includes incubators and accelerators that are aimed at helping startups succeed. They include the Houston Technology Center, which claims to be the largest tech business incubator and accelerator in the state, as well as SURGE Ventures, which “validates companies innovating and exploiting the massive shifts in technology, policy, and expertise in the energy industry (this includes oil and gas, power and utilities, cleantech, and water),” according to Nextplex.com.
There’s also events like Houston Startup Weekend and Houston Startup Week, which bring together speakers for talks and workshops. Past workshops at these events have included startup pitch development, product design, SEO and even office yoga.
Affordable cost of living
“Everything Is Bigger in Texas – Except the Cost of Living,” Ted Devine writes in Inc. Magazine. In 2012, Forbes put Houston on a list of U.S. cities where paychecks stretch the furthest.
A happening social scene
Houston also has a great lineup of fun restaurants and trendy bars. Business Insider notes Houston’s new burger and barbecue joints, tiki bars and even a bar that combines booze with a bakery.
Houston even has a bar where intellectuals can geek out – which may make your employees very happy. (Programmers, anyone?) Neil’s Bahr in the city’s fashionable EaDo district offers comic books, video games, episodes of “The Simpsons,” and, of course, trivia night. Or geek out while playing the classic games Magic: The Gathering or Dungeons and Dragons.
Dave Hopson of Triumphus, an IT consulting services company, told Inc. Magazine he often recruits former Microsoft employees to Houston because they find out about the thriving music and bar scene. “He adds that low real estate prices don’t hurt,” Devine writes.
Houston boasts a light rail system that has helped to popularize its downtown business center as a place to live and hang out during off hours. The Super Bowl spurred the building of a brand-new light rail line that will help to move the masses and help ease congestion on the region’s roads in the long term.
If you must drive, you may want to take part in the city’s informal ride-share system called slugging. How does it work? Passengers line up at a park and ride and accept rides from fellow commuters. The driver gets to use the high-occupancy vehicle lane, while the passenger gets a free ride. Everyone wins!
As you can see, Houston has everything a successful business needs to thrive and then some – Houston you are not a problem at all!