As you know, last Friday was the FastTech 50 award luncheon. I had several people reach out to ask if I would share the remarks I made from the stage. Ask and you shall receive! I’ve copied my speech from the event in the extended entry. Again, I would like to thank all of our sponsors, the Houston Business Journal, Employer Flexible, the Houston Technology Center, Phillips & Reiter, PLCC, Pierpont Communications, and the Rice Alliance. And another congratulations to the FastTech 50 Class of 2010!
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. We are proud to be the presenting sponsor of this great event for the tenth consecutive year. Congratulations to all of you, the Fast Tech 50 Class of 2010.
Recently I came across an article in Forbes Magazine by Mr. Joel Kotkin, distinguished professor at Chapman University and a graduate of the Center for Houston’s Future (he is also a frequent speaker at Celebrate Enterprise). His article was entitled: Houston: Model City. In this article he lays the groundwork for why our great city, Houston….indeed has a clue about success in the 21st century. Some facts:
- Last year Houston added 141,000 new residents.
- In the past ten years our population has grown 24%.
- Only New York ranks ahead of Houston in immigration.
- During the past ten years Houston added 260,000 new jobs. NYC during the same period…96,000. Chicago lost 258,000; San Francisco 217,000; Los Angles 168,000; and Boston 100,000.
Dr. Kotkin highlighted why are who we are because Houston keeps the cost of government low, while investing in infrastructure, ports, transit and schools. College educated Houstonians grew at rate of 13% during the past 5 years…. On par with the cerebral creative class of Portland, Seattle and ahead of the same cities noted earlier.
Part of that infrastructure includes: The Houston Technology Center (HTC); The Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship; and support groups like The Gulf Coast Regional Center of Innovation and Commercialization (RCIC), and the Houston Angel Network (HAN). All of these are providing forums for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas and find financial investors and backers.
The Class of 2010 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 65%.
During this past year we had over 390 companies express an interest in becoming a member of this exclusive club. The Fast Tech 50 class of 2010 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; 16 first-time honorees, 13 two-time honorees, 10 three-time honorees, 4 four-time honorees, 1 five-time honorees and 2 six-time honorees and 4 seven-time honorees. We will have a special announcement about them in a few moments.
Six of our honorees were started in the 1980s. Fifteen honorees were started in the 1990s. Finally, twenty nine honorees were started since 2000. This group of honorees is by far, our youngest group of companies ever.
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 4,400 jobs and over $720 million in revenues to our local economy.
In closing, I would like to again reference Dr. Kotkin who states Houston, perhaps more than any other city in the advanced industrial world, epitomizes the Rene Descartes ideal—applied once earlier to 17th century Amsterdam—of a great city offering “an inventory of the possible” to longtime residents and newcomers alike.
Congratulations to the Class of 2010!