Tech Bloc in 2016
Thank you to those who attended our #Tech2sday at Brooklynite! Great to see familiar faces and new ones! We told you all we have big things planned for 2016 and here are our top issues. We want you to plug in as these items will need all of us to activate at different times and in different ways.
One major focus area for Tech Bloc is to help drive the environment we need in SA to build a robust modern economy. If a great ecosystem does not have the right environment, it will not thrive. Our mission on the civic/urban agenda is to ensure that environment is built. A great resource we have found is The New Geography of Jobs by Enrico Moretti. We’ve sent a copy to our city leaders and economic development teams so they can see and understand our perspective.
1. Annexation. As we told you last year, we are concerned about the lack of focus we have in SA as we continue to expand our borders endlessly. We got involved in the annexation debate and helped slow down the vote so more data could be considered. We truly worry about the addition of more people in San Antonio that do not feel they are part of SA nor feel the need to make the investments to build a modern, competitive city. We funded a study that should be available in the coming week. We will keep you posted as we learn more. And keep an eye on this one as it will surely be in the press.
2. Lone Star Rail (LSR). You guys have bombarded us with interest in this project. The idea of making SA/AUS a super region is at the core of our beliefs at Tech Bloc and LSR is critical to it. We have just started our engagement and have meetings with all the leaders of the project in the coming weeks including the leaders most supportive of the project on the political side. We are eager to understand how this project can move faster. Stay tuned - our bet is we are going to need some help here!
3. Our City Strategy and the Bond of 2017. Every 5 years our city proposes a large package of investments funded by a bond package. Well the time is nearing, and our capacity for investment is in the 750 million to 1 billion range. Past bond packages are responsible for transformative projects like the River Extension and the Tobin Arts Center. We plan to work with civic leaders to develop a strong POV on the core elements lacking in our city that keeps it from developing, attracting and retaining the talent our economy will need to thrive in the future. The agenda will surely have a heavy dose of mixed use urban density and other amenities sought after by the young skilled work force of today. This is a huge undertaking and will be a lot of work. When the agenda is final we are going to need your political support. We need to let our leaders know that we plan to support those that support getting SA to the next level. Stay tuned here.
Activating San Antonio’s Tech Ecosystem
Another major focus area is activating SA’s tech community- by continuing to build it and connecting the one that is currently in place. We need a push to get our tech ecosystem to critical mass. If we get there, we will see a self reinforcing economy that will create opportunity for all. Here is what we plan on doing that this upcoming year.
1. Incentivize startups to come to SA. This is a partnership with Bexar County, the city and our economic development teams. We are working with these teams to create a solid action plan to make SA an appealing place for companies to relocate. This is still in the conversation phase but keep an ear out for this one- we need you all to tap your networks and help us make the sales pitch as to why SA would be a great place to move to.
And kudos to you all who applied or encouraged your friends to apply for the recent Tech Fuel $50K startup competition! We had a solid number of applicants and our panel of judges will be selecting the top 5 contestants and the winners will be announced in May. Good stuff here….
2. Rallies. We have big things planned here! This is the 1000+ person events that we plan on hosting twice a year. Stay tuned on this one and if you want to help- join the Events channel on Slack.
3. Community outreach. we also heard you loud and clear here. You all care about how we can lend our talents and effort to make SA a better place today. We are organizing a plan to provide opportunities for you all to mentor and volunteer.
4. Community connection. Another part of a thriving ecosystem is to build a community that allows our members to connect professionally and socially. Though we are are a little over 6 months old, we have enrolled many in our movement. However, in 2016 we are looking to expand our outreach and membership levels. We will be calling upon many of you to help with this effort.
The conversation is continuing on Slack. If you are interested in plugging into one or more of these projects- join the project channels for the latest/greatest updates.
And Tech Bloc takes real dollars to run! If you or your company want to help out financially- we welcome your support. You can donate here or contact Marina firstname.lastname@example.org