by the numbers

Houston outranks other Texas cities when it comes to new business growth

Houston ranks 10th among all of the country’s major metros for new businesses. Photo via Getty Images

A new study shows that Houston reigns as the startup capital of Texas.

For the study, the Smart Dollar website looked at data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the locations with the most new businesses per capita in 2021. Among major metro areas in Texas, Houston came out on top, gaining 21.2 new-business applications per 1,000 residents last year. Houston ranks 10th among all of the country’s major metros (those with at least 1 million residents).

The study found 150,971 new-business applications were filed last year in the Houston area. That translates into a 27.5 percent rise in applications versus 2020 and a 75.2 percent jump versus 2019.

Houston continues to gain notice as a startup hub. For instance, Bayou City appears at No. 5 in Startup Genome’s recent ranking of the world’s top emerging ecosystems for startups. Startup Genome is an advisory and research group that seeks to boost startup ecosystems.

Smart Dollar attributes the spike in startup activity in Houston and around the country to federal stimulus checks, low interest rates, and fast-rising values for homes, stocks, and other assets throughout 2020 and 2021.

“Another related factor was the Great Resignation, as record-high numbers of workers left jobs in search of better economic opportunities — many of whom started new businesses,” Smart Dollar points out.

The website adds that even during economic downturns, startups continue creating jobs, while established companies are more likely to shed employees to cut costs.

Almost 5.4 million applications were filed to set up new businesses in 2021, setting a new annual record for the U.S., according to the Census Bureau.

Here’s how the state’s three other major metros fared in the Smart Dollar study.

No. 11 Dallas-Fort Worth

  • New-business applications per 1,000 residents: 21.02
  • Total new-business applications in 2021: 160,518
  • One-year increase in new-business applications: 25.8 percent
  • Two-year increase in new-business applications: 62.6 percent

No. 14 Austin

  • New-business applications per 1,000 residents: 20.51
  • Total new-business applications in 2021: 46,835
  • One-year increase in new-business applications: 34.5 percent
  • Two-year increase in new-business applications: 52.4 percent

No. 38 San Antonio

  • New-business applications per 1,000 residents: 13.28
  • Total new-business applications in 2021: 33,978
  • One-year increase in new-business applications: 25.6 percent
  • Two-year increase in new-business applications: 47.8 percent

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Building Houston

 
 

Here's what Houston research news dominated this year on InnovationMap. Photo via Getty Images

Editor's note: As 2022 comes to a close, InnovationMap is looking back at the year's top stories in Houston innovation. In many cases, innovative startups originate from meticulous research deep within institutions. This past year, InnovationMap featured stories on these research institutions — from their breakthrough innovations to funding fueling it all. Here are five Houston research-focused articles that stood out to readers this year — be sure to click through to read the full story.


Texas nonprofit cancer research funder doles out millions to health professionals moving to Houston

These cancer research professionals just got fresh funding from a statewide organization. Photo by Dwight C. Andrews/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

Thanks in part to multimillion-dollar grants from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, two top-flight cancer researchers are taking key positions at Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Pavan Reddy and Dr. Michael Taylor each recently received a grant of $6 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

Reddy is leaving his position as chief of hematology-oncology and deputy director at the University of Michigan’s Rogel Cancer Center to become director of the Baylor College of Medicine’s Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. C. Kent Osborne stepped down as the center’s director in 2020; Dr. Helen Heslop has been the interim director. Continue reading.

Rice University deploys grant funding to 9 innovative Houston research projects

Nine research projects at Rice University have been granted $25,000 to advance their innovative solutions. Photo courtesy of Rice

Over a dozen Houston researchers wrapped up 2021 with the news of fresh funding thanks to an initiative and investment fund from Rice University.

The Technology Development Fund is a part of the university’s Creative Ventures initiative, which has awarded more than $4 million in grants since its inception in 2016. Rice's Office of Technology Transfer orchestrated the $25,000 grants across nine projects. Submissions were accepted through October and the winners were announced a few weeks ago. Continue reading.

Houston researchers create unprecedented solar energy technology that improves on efficiency

Two researchers out of the University of Houston have ideated a way to efficiently harvest carbon-free energy 24 hours a day. Photo via Getty Images

Two Houstonians have developed a new system of harvesting solar energy more efficiently.

Bo Zhao, the Kalsi Assistant Professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Houston, along with his doctoral student Sina Jafari Ghalekohneh, have created a technology that theoretically allows solar energy to be harvested to the thermodynamic limit, which is the absolute maximum rate sunlight can be converted into electricity, as reported in a September article for Physical Review Applied.

Traditional solar thermophotovoltaics (STPVs), or the engines used to extract electrical power from thermal radiation, run at an efficiency limit of 85.4 percent, according to a statement from UH. Zhao and Ghalekohneh's system was able to reach a rate of 93.3 percent, also known as the Landsberg Limit. Continue reading.

Texas A&M receives $10M to create cybersecurity research program

Texas A&M University has announced a new cybersecurity-focused initiative. Photo via tamu.edu

Texas A&M University has launched an institute for research and education regarding cybersecurity.

The Texas A&M Global Cyber Research Institute is a collaboration between the university and a Texas A&M University System engineering research agency, the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station. The research agency and Texas A&M are also home to the Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center.

The institute is funded by $10 million in gifts from former Texas A&M student Ray Rothrock, a venture capitalist and cybersecurity expert, and other donors. Continue reading.

Houston research organization doles out $28M in grants to innovators across Texas

Houston-based Welch Foundation has awarded almost $28 million in chemical research grants throughout Texas this year. Photo via Getty Images

Chemical researchers at seven institutions in the Houston area are receiving nearly $12.9 million grants from the Houston-based Welch Foundation.

In the Houston area, 43 grants are going to seven institutions:

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Rice University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas A&M University Health Science Center
  • University of Houston
  • University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston

The Welch Foundation is awarding almost $28 million in chemical research grants throughout Texas this year. The money will be allocated over a three-year period. Continue reading.

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