Resources for Austin entrepreneurs abound, with last week’s amazing Austin Startup Week being just one example. While Startup Week is an immersive and inspiring week, Austin also has strong organizations that specialize in helping startups expand and thrive all throughout the year. Austin-based nonprofit, PeopleFund, posits that more than 99% of companies in Travis County are considered small businesses – so entrepreneurs in Austin are in good company and in a great place to find rich support systems.
We recently posted a list of resources for entrepreneurs in Boulder and Denver, and since we also have offices in Austin, we felt a similar list could be useful for our friends in Texas. This post will touch on the same three areas of assistance for entrepreneurs in Austin:
By no means an exhaustive list, we hope these resources for Austin entrepreneurs give you places either to begin your startup journey or continue to build your company. Whether you are at the idea stage or already in the throes of building your company, these organizations and programs have something for every stage of entrepreneurship.
Legal Resources for Austin Entrepreneurs
With offices in both Austin and San Antonio, RWR Legal focuses on entrepreneurial and investment areas of the law. The firm specializes in intellectual property, real estate law, and corporate services among other legal needs of startups. As they put it: “We are passionate about building businesses – our own and our clients’ – to help innovators achieve success.”
Legal Garage offers similar services to entrepreneurs. Areas of law include filing confidentiality agreements, trademark licenses, and website terms and conditions. The company wants to ensure that entrepreneurs can find the legal services and resources they need at an affordable price point.
Although not specific to entrepreneurs, the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas also offers a way to find the right lawyer for your business. They have an online form for an immediate referral, or you can contact them to ask questions if you are not sure about the type of legal help you need.
Finally, as noted in our blog post about resources for entrepreneurs in Denver and Boulder, CooleyGO is a valuable online resource that can help you to identify and create all the key legal documents you need to get a business started. Whether you want to incorporate, or are looking to protect IP with a non-disclosure agreement, you’ll find their free, easy to use document generator indispensable. They also create and curate outstanding content on everything from creating a board of directors to selling your company.
Financial Resources for Austin Entrepreneurs
Financial concerns weigh heavily on many start-ups. The most active angel organization in the U.S., Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN) helps young startups get on their financial feet. The group helps entrepreneurs secure early-stage investment, as well as offering mentorship opportunities and business resources. CTAN operates through a dedicated group of local business people who dedicate their time to help entrepreneurs, but also has a full-time Executive Director and an Investment Associate.
BiGAUSTIN is another great resource that has a quarter century of experience supporting local small businesses. A micro-lender, BiGAUSTIN helps entrepreneurs find the right loans and financing options for their startups. The nonprofit organization understands the unique financial needs of entrepreneurs during each step of building a company. Likewise, BiG houses Women’s BiZ Inc., a group specifically geared to support the female leaders of Central Texas.
Similar to BiGAUSTIN, Accion assists entrepreneurs and small businesses with loans. Just fill out their hassle-free online application that outlines your business goals and the type and amount of financing your young company needs. Not sure what kind of loan or the amount you need? Accion provides one-on-one advice and solutions.
SCORE Austin, an organization that offers free counsel in multiple cities, assists local entrepreneurs in confidently tackling financial questions. They do everything from pairing you with a mentor in the business world, to helping you enroll in workshops on a variety of topics, to providing free financial resources. SCORE relies on a dedicated group of local business people who volunteer their time and experience to help those just getting started. Mentoring is free and entirely confidential.
Networking Resources for Austin Entrepreneurs
It’s always so helpful to “find your people,” and that’s never more true than when faced with the challenges of start-up life. Austin Chamber, an independent nonprofit, is a member organization comprised of local businesses. With membership, entrepreneurs can meet other startup leaders while focusing on developing business as a community. Part of the mission of the Austin Chamber is growth of the local economy; they believe when entrepreneurs thrive, so does Austin, so they are eager to help create community.
Capital Factory (where our Austin office is located!) is a prime co-working office space that is home to many entrepreneurs and startups. Beyond offering desk space, they sponsor numerous community events, many free of charge. Whether you just started down the entrepreneurial path or want to expand your startup, Capital Factory provides valuable workshops and networking opportunities to help your business excel.
Networking Austin is a club of local professionals from a range of industries and companies that’s worth checking out. Membership is broader than just entrepreneurs, but the events offered still can help you build you business and make quality connections. BuiltIn Austin is a tech-oriented meet-up that is just as active in Austin as in Denver, and LinkedIn Local Austin Networking also has a strong membership.
Other Austin Resources
Austin Technology Incubator invests itself in the tech solutions of the future. Part of the University of Texas at Austin, the ATI enjoys access to university affiliations as well as corporate partners. You can attend a diverse set of bootcamps and workshops with ATI such as their “Health Care Startup Boot Camp” or “The Art of Combining Social Purpose with Profit.”
The City of Austin also has a Small Business Program that offers “business training, educational events, and coaching to empower entrepreneurs.” Events cover topics from how to hire the right employees to understanding business loans. Their website also includes a comprehensive list of outside resources for entrepreneurs. Small business owners/entrepreneurs may want to know if they are eligible for a business loan, or a specific loan in relation to what they do. To do this, they can check out a usda b&i eligibility map to see if it is available in their area.
As you continue to grow your business and face new challenges, we hope you keep some of these resources in mind for future use. No matter what stage you find yourself on the entrepreneurial path, these legal, financial, and networking organizations are good places to turn to for guidance and assistance. As always, feel free to reach out to us today if you have additional resource questions.