Have an idea for a startup company? SA Startup Week can help you bring it to life
The week-long series of events is in its seventh year. Organizers say this year will offer events that previously were spread out throughout the year.
As efforts continue to make San Antonio a destination for startup companies, SA Startup Week is bringing together a full week of events to support and inspire founders of new organizations from October 16-22.
The week-long series of events is in its seventh year. Organizers say this year will offer events that previously were spread out throughout the entire year. This year's festivities will also aim to bring in more creative startups and bring a focus on health and wellness.
KENS 5 spoke with Phillip Hernandez, Executive Director of SA Startup Week and COO of Geekdom, about what the week holds and what startup companies are facing in the current landscape.
See our interview with Hernandez in this video below (article continues underneath):
Hernandez says the week is designed as a collaboration of different startup resources presented within one week to give companies a "one stop shop" way to get support.
"We have Velocity Texas, 80/20 (Foundation), Active Capital, Alamo Angels, Capital Factory, Tech Port, Tech Bloc, Generator, Trinity...all of us have gotten together to really put on an awesome seven days of content for everybody," Hernandez said. "The way that we approached it this time is a lot of those organizations have some premier events that happen throughout the year. And what I wanted to do is just organize all of those things so that we can have them all happen in one week."
The week kicks off Sunday, October 16, with a number of events focused on health and wellness. The week continues with a full slate of events each day, Monday through Friday, and larger events in the evening.
Monday night's event includes opening remarks from San Antonio Mayor Nirenberg and a special key note speaker.
"We're going to have our keynote speech given by Steve Case, co-founder of AOL and New York Times bestselling author. And he's the author of a book that was just released actually called 'Rise of The Rest,'" Hernandez said. "The idea behind that book is that cities can be revived and rise again if they build a vibrant startup culture, which is exactly what we're celebrating with San Antonio Startup Week."
SA Startup Week offers eight programming tracks: Startups, Technology, Spotlight, Civic Engagement, Culture, Health, Marketing and Brand Experience. The events are free of charge and take place in various locations including the Rand building, Geekdom, the Frost Tower, and many others.
Expanding the tent:
Hernandez hopes to shake off the misconception that startups are mainly seen in tech industries, especially in the community at his company, Geekdom, as well at Tech Bloc.
He says the companies invited to participate in Startup Week span many industries and talents.
"We have programing that caters towards health care and restaurants, retail, lifestyle, businesses, all kinds of different things. So it's really industry agnostic," Hernandez said. "If you want to start something or you want to be part of a startup, or you just want to understand what it is to be part of innovation in San Antonio, this is the conference for you."
He says they have seen a particular increase in the amount of creative companies utilizing resources for startup companies.
"We've seen an influx of creatives in our startup ecosystem in the last couple of years, and we want to show them this is a place for them as well," Hernadez said.
They include people who may have been doing creative work, like photography, digital media, digital marketing and graphic design as a hobby, and are looking to turn it into a business.
"We've seen in the last couple of years that there's more folks like that, those creative folks that are coming in and wanting to turn that into a business and wanting to provide or wanting to offer that service to, you know, to get money and they can get paid for it," Hernandez said. "And so we've realized that a lot of our resources that we provide on entrepreneurs translate over to creatives as well."
Hernadez says the inclusion of creatives is paralleled at Geekdom, which has a dedicated physical space for creative professionals that includes photo backdrops, lighting, mic stands, mics, a podcast set and more.
Health and Wellness:
A new appreciation for wellness that emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic is reflected in the SA Startup Week calendar.
Hernandez says the 2022 conference has added a health and well-being component. He says in the daily grind and pressure of starting a new company, it is not uncommon for founders to neglect care for themselves.
"This year, we started to look at the entrepreneur and founder holistically and kind of see...how can we address the founder themselves?" Hernandez said.
The wellness portion of the event will take place the first day of the week, Sunday, October 16, in order to give attendees wellness tools ahead of the hectic week.
"We're going to go and have that Health and Wellness Day -- will start off with that panel and talk about how health and wellness has helped take their entrepreneurial ideas to the next level."
Hernandez believes taking time out to focus on wellness will pay off in the long run.
"A startup founder as we know it, it's a grind and there's nobody else working on it except for you. And so you have to make sure that you take care of yourself," he said. "We've seen with entrepreneurs is that if you do carve out that time to to focus on yourself and get your mind and body right, you'll be more productive in the time that you're working on your startup."
COVID, inflation, the economy, OH MY:
The two themes of the conference: Kickstart the Future and Community Connects Us All both address some of the challenges startup companies have faced after the pandemic, rising inflation and labor shortages.
Hernandez says the community theme is a strength here in San Antonio.
"No matter who you talk to, there's somebody out here in San Antonio that's going to help you. And you're only one or two connections away from your co-founder or the resource that's going to take you to the next level."
The other theme of kickstarting the future speaks the unique challenges facing startup founders and new companies.
"We've realized that, you know, there is no real going back to normal, but rather adapting to what this new normal is," Hernandez said. "And so that's why we made that one of the things...to really kickstart that future and have a conversation on what are we doing individually and what can we do together to help each other kickstart the future."