This column originally ran in the San Marcos Daily Record on November 25, 2020.
As I think about what to be thankful for during Thanksgiving 2020, I consider how resilient our region was in the last year.
It’s been an unbelievable year in many ways. As the president of the Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP), my job is to make sure our organization facilitates the creation of new and good paying jobs in Hays and Caldwell Counties. A challenge like the COVID-19 pandemic may have halted the progress of other regions or brought their economies to a standstill, but I’ve seen first-hand how the Texas Innovation Corridor answers to a challenge like COVID-19.
For that resiliency and growth in a challenging time, I am incredibly thankful.
As I consider the way the Greater San Marcos region is handling our economy headed into 2021, I think of five specific things that I am grateful for:
First and foremost, I am thankful for our local communities who step up to make sure businesses stay viable.
When the COVID pandemic hit, our communities provided assistance to struggling businesses. Grant and loan programs, such as we saw in Buda, Luling and Lockhart, provided cash injections to businesses that needed critical dollars to keep operations going. Other disaster relief programs, such as the one we saw in Dripping Springs, provided relief on business functions like utilities and inspections. These creative solutions helped keep many businesses operating during the pandemic and kept jobs secured throughout the region.
That is why secondly, I am thankful for local programs that continue to boost their efforts, such as Revive SMTX and the Hays County Emergency Cash Assistance Program (ECAP).
In San Marcos, Revive SMTX is providing grants of up to $5,000 for small businesses to help out with COVID-19 safety equipment and reimbursements. Applications are being accepted now at ReviveSMTX.com.
Meanwhile, ECAP also entered into Phase 2 recently, allowing more businesses to apply for grants of up to $10,000. Restrictions have recently been loosened, allowing businesses which previously received PPP or IEDL to be eligible for the fund. Funds will last until Dec. 31 or until funds run out, whichever is first. You can find out more about the program at HaysCountyECAP.com.
Third, I am thankful for an economic pipeline that will continue to grow in 2021.
As the Office of Gov. Greg Abbott, economist Charles Dougherty and a panel of experts confirmed at the 2020 Greater San Marcos Economic Outlook, our region is only expected to grow in 2021. The fundamentals of our region (pro-business environment, accessible infrastructure, affordable real estate and Central Time Zone) continue to be attractive to businesses looking to relocate or expand.
With new announcements like the robotics and AI-enabled farming company Iron Ox relocating to Lockhart, we’re already seeing new companies come to the Texas Innovation Corridor and can anticipate seeing more in the next year. We anticipate continued and strategic growth in the year 2021 and many more years to come.
Fourth, I am thankful for support from investors in both the public and private sector who see the need for economic development in our region. Without their investment and commitment, the team sport of economic development would not be possible. Their hard work and contributions to meet this mission are highly valued and appreciated.
And finally, just as I am appreciative of our investors, I am also incredibly thankful for a GSMP staff who makes our mission become a reality.
This excellent team of economic developers works tirelessly to improve the quality of life for the residents of Hays and Caldwell Counties by facilitating the creation of new and good paying jobs. With five new members of the team in 2020, I am delighted to see the work that they have already accomplished and look forward to the achievements yet to come.
If you have not had a chance to meet our wonderful staff, I invite you to attend our Meet the Team virtual event on Dec. 2. You can find all the information, including log-in info, at GreaterSanMarcosTX.com/events. I hope to see you there.
Although challenging, there is a lot to be thankful for this year. I would also like to thank the residents of Hays and Caldwell Counties for continuing to make our communities such amazing places to live and work. As we look forward to 2021, I see continued success and unparalleled opportunities in the upcoming year. If you would like to know more about why I continue to be optimistic about our future, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JasonGiulietti.