Austin is a town that has more entrepreneurial spirit per-capita than just about anyplace on the planet. This is exciting, as the innovation and creative problem solving skills that make up our tech community are in abundance. But many tech execs do not think about how they can transform our community.
The rise of tech companies in the modern era has brought with it an unparalleled influence on our communities. We see this clearly in Austin, Texas. These companies are not just altering the way we communicate, work, and entertain ourselves, but they are also shaping the very fabric of our societies. Beyond their innovative pursuits, tech company executives have the unique potential to harness their influence and create positive, lasting changes within in other aspects of our community. Here’s how they can make it happen.
1. Supporting Education: One of the foundational ways executives can make a difference is by investing in the future generation through education. Whether it’s by offering scholarships, funding STEM programs, or establishing tech labs in local schools, there’s a myriad of ways to impart knowledge. A community that values and understands the intricacies of technology is better poised for the future. This includes K-12 education, our local universities, but maybe more importantly – educating those in our community who can join the tech ecosystem if someone would give them a chance.
2. Championing Diversity & Inclusion: Tech companies, like all other sectors, have room for improvement when it comes to diversity and inclusion. This is clear when you look at the demographics of the Austin tech scene. Executives have the power to change the narrative. By ensuring diverse hiring practices, supporting and investing in minority-led tech start-ups, or simply advocating for a more inclusive tech community, these leaders can reflect the real, diverse world we live in, and in turn, inspire all who follow in the future.
3. Environmental Initiatives: With the threat of climate change looming, tech leaders are in a unique position to make a difference. From implementing green energy solutions in their companies to developing eco-friendly products and services, tech companies can set a benchmark for sustainability. Community outreach programs and fostering conversations in the community (and leading by example) can have an impact. Plus, with all the brilliant minds we have in Austin, we should be hosting think-tanks to look at the big issues facing our region and the world.
4. Fostering Local Entrepreneurship: The tech world is brimming with innovation. Executives can support incubators or mentorship programs to guide budding entrepreneurs. By nurturing local talent, we are not just cultivating business; we are driving job creation, fostering creativity, and stimulating the local economy. Austin used to be a place where the tech leaders mingled with others and shared ideas. That is less common these days.
5. Engaging in Direct Philanthropy and Community Support: Lastly, direct financial contributions to community projects or local non-profits can make a tangible difference. Whether it’s funding a caused based non-profit, funding a local arts or music initiative, or supporting the business non-profits like the ATC, there’s no underestimating the ripple effect of kindness.
In conclusion, while tech company executives have massive influence within their industry, their potential to create a positive impact extends far beyond the confines of silicon and code. By taking a community-driven approach, these leaders can set the tone for a future where technology and society coalesce in harmony.
The Austin Technology Council is actively seeking the local leaders who love Austin and want to see our tech ecosystem thrive. We are trying to start more discussions that lead to a planned future for the coming growth. ATC cannot be a “grassroots driven” organization if the “grassroots” do not show up and uplift the cause.
Reach out to me if you want to be part of the solutions we seek to find.
CEO- Austin Technology Council