The delegation of business and community leaders closing out the annual DC advocacy trip.

An Advocate for Business in the Austin Region

Since 1878 the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce has taken on the biggest challenges facing businesses in Austin, from advocating for a policy environment that encourages growth to investing in growing the regional talent pipeline and connecting businesses through membership and events. The Chamber’s award-winning team is a key factor in why the Austin region has experienced incredible job growth. From 2004 to 2018, the Austin region has generated more net new jobs on a percentage basis than any other top 50 major metro in the U.S.

The Chamber helps bring job creators to the region and serves as a pivotal partner in helping local companies expand their businesses. It is a membership organization that helps create jobs so people can secure work, provide for their families, and achieve prosperity.

The Chamber team understands that Austin is a one-of-a-kind place that defies stereotypes. The city is progressive and fiercely entrepreneurial; pro-business and pro-environment; easy going and hardworking. The Austin region won’t just welcome businesses; it will make them better.

A group of delegates attended the 2019 InterCity Visit to the Twin Cities.

Setting Priorities

Keenly aware of the competition among cities for hosting business events, professional meetings, and attracting businesses to their metro areas, the professional staff at the Austin Chamber has identified key areas in which they work hard to showcase the city’s business climate. They play a key role in shaping a policy environment that helps fuel the local economy, addresses affordability, and helps people succeed. The Chamber diligently works with policymakers and elected officials to make this a reality.

The Chamber team is a key factor in why the Austin region has experienced phenomenal job growth and prosperity since 2004. Numerous Chamber-sponsored programs have been instrumental in helping bring job creators to the region and are pivotal partners in helping local companies expand their businesses.

CeCe’s Veggie Co. celebrates winning the 2019 A-List Awards.

The Chamber’s economic development specialists provide expertise to potential businesses in discovering the Austin community and identifying and analyzing the perfect spot for a business looking to relocate to the area. Staff members with experience in this field provide assistance in the site selection process across the diverse communities that make up the Austin region. They help identify the location of choice against other major markets for the retention, expansion, and attraction of jobs and investment.

In addition, the Chamber team focuses on the established businesses that are already headquartered in Austin and providing jobs across the region. The Chamber’s Connect First program is one of several initiatives which strengthen the organization’s relationship with its members by supporting the success and growth of these companies. The Chamber serves as a one-stop center for confidential support in a company’s site selection project, including real estate, research, and facilitation of all aspects of the process through to final negotiations with the selected community.

Kristin Marcum, President of Elizabeth Christian Public Relations, speaks at the annual Austin Gives Generous Business Awards event.

An International Stage

The Austin Chamber does not limit its activities to attracting potential businesses from across the United States. The Austin Global Gateway (AGG) is a Greater Austin Chamber program. AGG acknowledges that while Austin has already established its status for domestic U.S. corporations, the city’s reputation among foreign business leaders has lagged. The AGG executive committee endeavors to correct this disparity by leveraging its member relationships to demonstrate Austin’s comparative advantage to discriminating investors, creative entrepreneurs, and dynamic corporations worldwide.

The Chamber team actively advocates for the innovation community by providing thought leadership and strategy. They focus on attracting and retaining talent, increasing capital, growing and diversifying the innovation ecosystem, and leveraging local universities for increased commercialization.

The Chamber’s commitment to the future is evident in programs designed to cultivate future generations of entrepreneurs. The Austin Chamber and Austin ISD founded Austin Partners in Education (APIE) in 1983. The primary function of APIE is to recruit, train, and place volunteers in the classroom once a week, every week of the school year. Once screened and trained by APIE, volunteers provide academic support to students in a small interactive group learning model via Classroom Coaching programs. In 2019, more than 850 Classroom Coaches joined an additional 800 mentors as APIE volunteers in Austin ISD. The Chamber’s investment in local high school students helps prepare them for success in college, careers, or the military.

Opportunity Austin, a prosperity initiative serving five counties and launched by the Chamber in 2004, has helped create 423,600 jobs. That has resulted in Austin becoming the fastest-growing job market by percentage; contributed to a 63 percent increase in jobs in the region; helped the region achieve one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country; and much more.

Greater Austin Business Executive Leadership Award winners Tamara Fields with Accenture and Karen Box with Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council

A Track Record of Success

The work of the Chamber has been recognized with numerous awards, the most recent of which was the 2019 Mac Conway Award given annually to the top economic development organization in the U.S.

“As advocates for the business community, everything we do is for our members and their employees,” stated Mike Rollins, the Chamber’s President and CEO. “When the business community thrives, so do Austinites. We are proud of the jobs we’ve helped create in our region. As we help bring more jobs to the region that increase regional payroll, we increase the number of opportunities for people to achieve prosperity. On top of our thriving economy, we offer an unmatched quality of life.”