American Dream is Alive and Well Here in Houston

by | Nov 6, 2012 | Community Circle, Tecknowledgy

As promised, here are my remarks from last week’s FastTech 50.  I think you’ll find the stats and data about the winners, Houston, and the region very interesting. Again, congratulations to the FastTech 50 Class of 2012!

How about those Texans!  While we are all very proud of the Houston Texans this year and their impressive record of 6-1 this year, I am talking about you, the people who call the Houston region home!

On behalf of the Directors and Staff of PKF Texas it is honor and a privilege to be here today as we celebrate Houston’s future and the success of all these outstanding entrepreneurs, organizations, and their personnel.  PKF Texas is proud to again be the presenting sponsor of this great event for the twelfth consecutive year.  Congratulations to all of you, the Fast Tech 50 Class of 2012.

Back in January, Forbes ranked Houston as the #3 market in the country for job opportunities in 2012 with expected net job growth to be 14%.  The Houston Business Journal confirmed that in September of 2012 Houston was chugging along at YTD job growth of 13% and could top that number for the year given certain positive circumstances in the fourth quarter.

And some new information this year, Houston was recently ranked as the #2 place in the country for a Female Entrepreneur to start a business.  The list of rankings and awards goes on and on from Bizjournals, to Kipplinger to Forbes.

Sounds like fertile ground for potential investors to me.  Thank goodness we live in Houston, Texas!  And while energy related businesses are contributing to that growth it’s creating opportunities in other areas for our city.

Recently, I had the honor of joining our some additional distinguished colleagues from  the Tech Sector in putting on an Entrepreneurial Boot Camps for our folks in at the Houston Technology Center.   The response was fantastic.  This can do attitude, this desire to pick one’s self up and build something with your knowledge and expertise is as old as our country’s and state’s early history.  It’s in our blood, our psyche that we want to build and create something.  The American Dream is alive and well here in Houston!

But don’t take my word for it.  Let’s take a long look at one of the country’s well know “Tech States” –California.   According to the Texas State Data Center:

  • Texas’ population has increased 20.6% during the period of 2000 to 2010.
  • Texas has five cities on the population list of the top 16 and Houston is the highest ranked at #4.
  • More than 375,000 Californians moved to Texas in the past five years contributing to increasing our population at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the nation.
  • In 2010 alone, 70,000 Californians moved to Texas.

While the Texas miracle has been chugging along for 12 years, our Tech community has been rising, growing and gaining national as well as international attention.  Some accolades regarding our infrastructure include:

What are some examples of this you ask?

  • The SURGE Energy Software Accelerator was launched in Houston last spring and was a huge success.  And they are gearing up for another session.
  • The Houston Technology Center has been recognized as one of the Top Technology Incubators Changing the World by Forbes
  • And The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship has assisted over 1,000 start-up companies, who have raised more than $2.160 billion in funding.   And they oversee the largest and richest business plan competition in the world, awarding over $1.55 million in prize money last year.
  •  39 of Honorees are plugged into Social Media. And 15 of the top 25 use Social Media, primarily Twitter.

Part of that infrastructure includes:  the aforementioned (HTC); Rice Alliance; and support groups like: The Gulf Coast Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization (RCIC), Bio-Houston, and the Houston Angel Network (HAN).  All of these organizations are providing forums for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas and find financial investors and backers. And newcomers like Red House and the Surge Energy Software Accelerator are on the horizon as well.

The Class of 2012 will continue the trend of being one of the youngest we have ever had in our program. In comparing this year’s group of winners, it’s clear that they represent a much younger and still developing group of early stage companies.  They will have an impact on our local and national economy for many years to come, and they will add to the legacy of what makes Houston the top city in the country to start a business.  The average growth rate for this year’s group is a staggering 91%.

During this past year we had over 300 companies express an interest in becoming a member of this exclusive club.  The Fast Tech 50 class of 2012 continues Houston’s tradition of technology excellence.  And they also bring to the forefront new and different stories of entrepreneurial success.  This year’s list of honorees includes:

  • 17 first-time honorees,
  • 12 two-time honorees,
  • 7 three-time honorees,
  • 6 four-time honorees,
  • 2 five time honorees,
  • 3 six-time honorees and
  • 1 each of seven, eight and nine-time honorees.

We will have a special announcement about some of these companies in a few moments.

  • 19 of our honorees are five years old or younger.
  • 22 honorees are 10 years or older.
  • And 9 are between 6-9 years of age.

The local economic impact made by this year’s Fast Tech 50 is phenomenal!  When reviewing the entire 50 companies, an impressive overview quickly emerges.  These organizations are responsible for creating almost 2,850 jobs and over $640 million in revenues to our local economy.

In closing, I am reminded of something I saw on a web which said that Houston was a city of infinite possibilities. It is the next great international city of the world!

Congratulations to the Class of 2012!

Thank you!

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