This article was published by one of our Business Magazines in Aguascalientes, “Líder Empresarial”, Amber Gunst gave her valuable opinion about the innovation to overcome crises and how Aguascalientes is working on diversifying our economic activities, especially in the IT sector.
Amber Gunst is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Austin Technology Council (ATC), an organization that serves as a catalyst for companies to grow through innovation, and with which Aguascalientes became affiliated at the end of 2020, opening great opportunities with one of the most important technology hubs in the world.
The ATC leader highlights the potential of this synergy, saying that Aguascalientes will be part of a community that brings together top-tier technology companies to identify the resources they need to grow: “Being part of the conversation and an active member of our community is the best and fastest way to achieve our goals,” she told Líder Empresarial.
Amber has 20 years of experience working in business development. Most notably, she spent four years at the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, where she was recognized for having the best sales and retention of leaders of all the chambers of commerce in Texas, even ranking in the top ten in the United States with revenues over $1.5 million dollars.
Gunst joined ATC in 2017 as Director of Sales and Affiliate Services; in 2018 she was appointed as intern CEO, eventually taking the position on a permanent basis as of January 2019. Following her arrival at Austin Technology Council, she managed to double the number of memberships and increase retention by more than 18%.
An example of innovation to overcome crises
If there is one success story that demonstrates the ability of innovation to respond to crises, it is Austin, Texas. Amber mentions that after the technological collapse that this city experienced in the early 2000s, its leaders came together to find ways to diversify its economy, giving rise to industries in which technology could foster growth and success.
With that vision and thanks to the resilience of many people who where unemployed and who found in entrepreneurship the opportunity to excel, the Austin community bet on building a new business ecosystem with technology as a pillar.
In just 20 years, the American city has charted its own history, with more than 120,000 employees in nearly 4,000 technology companies that contribute more than $21 billion a year to the regional economy, according to estimates by the Texas Growth Fund:
“We were fortunate that employees who were affected by the recession decided to stay here and start their own companies. These companies were designed to pivot and be fiscally conservative in nature, making them nimble for constantly changing environments,” argues Amber.
The specialist adds that the pandemic has triggered a latent need for technological solutions, creating new lines of business for companies in the sector. This is why the agency has welcomed the interest of Aguascalientes in betting on the growth of this market:
“The state’s desire to fully invest in its people and create opportunities for technological advancements was striking. Their investments in education, training, economic development, and their desire to build strong international relationships demonstrated a true desire to be an asset to Austin’s technology community”, says Gunst.
What’s next for Austin-Aguascalientes
In the Austin-Aguascalientes formula, the training and development of talent is a priority.
Amber refers that the expansion of resources in education and talent is one of the main concerns of the technology companies. For this reason, she believes that the hiring of human capital from Aguascalientes will be the main driver for the continued growth of its technology companies.
She points out that another area in which they support their members, is by sharing mechanisms for cooperation with the government, and assessing how it can help them grow, especially from an economic development perspective: “Providing information and asking questions of the government and lobbyists can open up new opportunities that they were not aware of “, she says.
Facing a challenging 2021, Gunst highlights the trends that the pandemic has generated and that are here to stay this year, particularly in sectors such as e-commerce, cyber security, fintech
and healthcare. In the latter, the expert highlights that the health emergency caused a major transformation in the industry hand in hand with advances in its care:
“I am excited to see the adoption of technology in healthcare, both from a provider and patient perspective. This industry was long overdue to expand its technology capabilities, and the groundwork that many have laid over the years positioned the healthcare community to move quickly when it needed to”, concludes.