This column was originally published in the San Marcos Daily Record on April 14, 2021.
The primary goal of the Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) is to enhance the quality of life for all our residents by attracting and retaining employers that provide good-paying jobs and benefits. None of this happens, however, without supporting quality employment growth.
This is first of four primary goals critical to the success of our region’s community and consensus-built strategic plan known as Vision 2025. But what exactly does “support quality employment growth” mean? In simple terms, it means building purposeful job producing economic development programs that serves as a good, long-term investment for our community.
Purposeful economic development is often discussed as a three-legged stool: Business Recruitment and Attraction; Business Retention and Expansion; and Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship. All three “legs” are crucial to supporting quality employment growth.
The first leg, Business Recruitment and Attraction, is the part of economic development that our organization gets most commonly associated and for good reason. Since 2010, GSMP has helped 45 companies locate to or expand to the Texas Innovation Corridor, resulting in approximately 5,500 new direct jobs and an annual economic output of $2.8 billion, driving further economic prosperity for our residents.
In the last fiscal year (FY20), GSMP announced seven company relocations or expansions, representing a minimum estimate of 550 new jobs with good wages and benefits for our region. That effort has intensified in FY21, as GSMP has already responded to more than $19 billion worth of potential relocation and expansion capital investment.
Already, that prospect pipeline has resulted in five relocation or expansion announcements, including Amazon’s 1.1M square foot SAT-6 facility in San Marcos, the largest industrial site in our footprint. Other announcements have included disruptors like Iron Ox in Lockhart, distribution centers in Kyle and San Marcos, and multiple speculative space builds, bringing millions in capital investment for construction jobs and future employers.
In addition to these five expansions or relocations, I’m excited to report that more announcements will be coming very soon, and several more are expected to follow later this year.
The second leg, Business Retention and Expansion, ensures that existing businesses get the same attention as newly relocating or expanding businesses. After all, a significant portion of new capital investment and new job creation come from existing businesses.
Because of that, GSMP utilizes an effective Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) program that gathers valuable information from existing businesses, giving a cohesive picture of our business community’s challenges and opportunities. That gained knowledge is then shared with a number or economic development partners to improve the environment for a company or an industry sector. Those partners include the city and county governments, workforce and education institutions and many others.
The third and final leg, Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship, is dedicated to growing future companies right here at home. With major assets such as the Texas State’s STAR Park, our region has the talent and desire to seize and create opportunities to widen its stake as a hub for innovation, commercialization and startups. A little-known fact is that the two-county region of Hays and Caldwell counties registers 11 times the number of patents per capita compared to the state of Texas, and nine times that of the United States.
Fueled by that innovation, GSMP works with entrepreneurs to ensure they find the resources or guidance they need to scale up their companies and prosper. Our region is a hot spot for growing businesses, and together with our public and private sector partners, we have the expertise to assist these startups to stimulate quality employment growth.
All of these things are interconnected, which is exactly why supporting quality employment growth is necessary for sustainable, long-term economic development. We are on pace for the greatest year of economic development in this region’s history by supporting this critical goal of Vision 2025 and I look forward to reporting on the additional results that it will bring.
If you have questions about business attraction and expansion, or how else this goal of Vision 2025 impacts our region, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter at @JasonGiulietti. All of our Vision 2025 documents are available on our website at greatersanmarcostx.com/vision2025.