Non-Houstonian identifies why the Bayou City is prime for a tech and startup boom
Houston might be known abroad as the Space City, but it's got a lot more to offer than interstellar exploration. As we continue toward the second half 2020 — even in light of the COVID-19 crisis, Houston is attracting the best talent, tech, and businesses around — and with good reason.
Here we look at why Houston is such an attractive prospect for enterprise in 2020.
More bang for your buck
While the likes of New York or Los Angeles are established places to launch and grow a business, they are expensive. But in Houston, your important dollar goes a long way.
The cost of living in Houston is around 35 percent lower than in New York. Consequently, cash-strapped but ambitious graduates flock to Houston to enjoy a better (and more affordable) quality of life.For startups looking to gradually and sustainably grow in their first year (and succeed), Houston is an attractive place to start. They get more bang for their buck, so they can focus on growing their business without paying through the nose for expensive office space (and staff).
It's a beautiful, historic city
Founded in 1836, Houston has a long and rich history, and its aesthetics perfectly represents that — something Houstonians and Texans don't take enough time to recognize usually. Its architecture is a healthy mix of historic and modern.
Downtown Houston features gorgeous old buildings spreading out from Allen's Landing. Its residential architecture too offers some stunning mansions, as well as some rustic row houses. As the city developed throughout history, its skyline has grown to include some breathtaking skyscrapers, including the Heritage Plaza and the JPMorgan Chase Tower — one of the tallest composite buildings in the world.
Looking beyond architecture, Houston offers plenty of green spaces to enjoy. Hermann Park is an impressive 445 acres, and acts as a community space for the entire city. If you want somewhere to run a few miles before heading to work, Memorial Park offers plenty of open space and trails to take advantage of too.
Looks aren't everything, of course. But with the rich sprawl of Houston all around you, they certainly help.
There's a thriving coworking scene
Houston is home to dozens of stellar coworking spaces — with more opening regularly. There's a few WeWork outposts from the Galleria area to The Woodlands, as well as home-grown spaces like The Cannon, Station Houston, and Wicowork, where businesses from virtually every industry come together to work and collaborate.
These spaces form part of a thriving startup scene with plenty of scope for networking and collaborating. Growing a business is easier when you're doing it alongside others, and Houston's coworking spaces offer a fertile ground for meeting and sharing inspiration.
It's not all about established businesses either. Houston is also the perfect place for individuals to launch a creative side hustle, with a thriving scene of artistic self-starters and passionate solopreneurs available to draw upon for inspiration. These coworking spaces provide the perfect place to meet like-minded individuals and get your vision further.
Although COVID-19 has affected coworking spaces, the crisis has pushed coworking to provide virtual resources, which will only benefit coworkers across companies.
Choose from a great pool of talent
Every growing business needs the best and brightest talent to join its ranks and help it succeed. Thankfully, Houston is home to some of the finest universities in the state. The University of Houston and Rice University produce plenty of smart, driven graduates looking to make their mark on the chosen industry.
These universities also have a close relationship with local startups too. Each has its own startup accelerator to help small enterprises get ahead. UH's RED Labs has helped launch dozens of companies since its inception in 2013, and Rice University's OwlSpark has 54 startups to its name to date.
Consequently, plenty of businesses are looking to Houston to seek growth and attract top talent. With such a wide pool of talent on tap, startups and growing businesses alike will have their pick of the crop.
Everything's bigger in Texas, and Houston is no exception. With a growing pool of bright talent, a stellar startup scene, and beautiful surroundings to match, Houston is the top destination for talent and business in 2020.
Kayleigh Alexandra is an entrepreneur and writer at Micro Startups based in the United Kingdom.