Tech scene reshapes San Antonio landscape and economy
Multiple mass media publications from Forbes, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com and more are citing San Antonio as one of the places to be for millennials and tech. Dr. Richard Butler, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Trinity University co-conducted the most recent economic impact study for San Antonio and also agrees saying, "If you think about what will happen in the next five to ten years, you have to be very optimistic about San Antonio's growth as a tech center."
The IT industry's impact is 10 billion dollars, and it's creating 2.7 billion dollars in total wages per year. The tech industry in San Antonio has grown almost 70% since 1999 and Dr. Butler furthermore explains, " Fifteen years ago the biggest piece of our IT industry was making silicon chips, that business has gone away. But now the biggest piece is in information security, hosting, and this new entrepreneurial community. Those things are going to continue to grow, and that's the large bulk of the employment."
Over 1,000 IT companies in and around San Antonio have helped create that shift, and one of the most notable is Geekdom situated in the heart of downtown San Antonio in The Rand Building.
Lorenzo Gomez III is the CEO of Geekdom helping drive the transformation and explains how it is aiding the cause.
"Geekdom helps lower the barrier of entry so anybody can participate from any background industry agnostic and come and make friendships, get skills, a part time job, get an internship, do contract work, or start their own company if that's actually the journey they want to do. Our job is to give them tools and to remove barriers to help make it easy."
In just five years, Geekdom has now grown to over 1,000 members, and in some capacity, 450 companies are represented. That translates into job opportunity. The building has all eight floors spoken for and Gomez says, 'It's all tech. we've done that. We've leased the entire building which is really exciting. And, now, phase two is we've acquired more property so that the tech scene can kind of spill out into that because we just can't contain it any more in one building."
In a few block radius already sits more than seven tech and entrepreneurial centered buildings including The Westin Center, The Rand Building, The San Antonio Entrepreneur Center, The Vogue Building and The World Trade Center. The Milam and Savoy are now also slated to handle overflow in the next few years. And, there are more buildings in the area sporting rising tech start ups or training. It's now even being hailed the 'Tech District.'
As Gomez says, it is transformatative for the San Antonio landscape and economy, "You combine what's going on in education, the tech sector, the public investments, and you start to create a very exciting future for what was once a very dead and dark, abandoned urban core that's really coming to life again. And, that's really exciting."