By LAURA LOREK
Reporter with Silicon Hills News
Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff on Tuesday announced the new technology startup competition during a press conference at Geekdom in downtown San Antonio. The county is working with Tech Bloc, a new technology advocacy organization, on the competition, funded with the county’s $1 million innovation fund.
Old economic development tools and ways don’t work in the innovation economy to attract, retain and grow technology companies, Wolff said. And those tech jobs are highly sought after and valuable to communities today, he said. In Texas, the technology industry spins off seven jobs for every job it creates, Wolff said. That compares to manufacturing which spins off one to two jobs, he said.
The Tech Fuel competition seeks to ignite the city’s technology startup community even more, building on work being down at Tech Bloc, Geekdom and Rackspace, said Blake Yeager, managing director of Techstars Cloud in San Antonio. He is running the Tech Fuel competition, which is open to technology startups with scalable business plans and less than $1 million in revenue and less than $1 million in outside funding. Those startups must be based in Bexar County with plans to expand their businesses here.Technology is the foundation of every industry, said Lew Moorman, Tech Bloc’s board chairman.
“The startup economy is what drives so many new jobs,” Moorman said. “While the dollars are not huge the truth of the matter is it just takes a little nudge to get a few people who are having coffee who have a few ideas to go you know what now that there is this competition let’s get together and let’s get to work. Let’s see if we can build something. This is how things get started.”
Entrepreneurs can apply for the program at SATechFuel.com through Jan. 10th. Then Tech Fuel organizers will select the top five companies to continue in the competition on Feb. 15th. The finalists will present their startups to a panel of judges and receive mentorship and coaching from Tech Bloc leaders. They also get free membership at Geekdom, the downtown co-working center aimed at nurturing technology companies.
In May, Tech Bloc will hold an event to announce the top three winners. The first place winner will receive a $30,000 grant, second place a $15,000 grant and third place a $5,000 grant from the county.