Fred Heldenfels IV - 2022 Board Chair, Austin Chamber of Commerce
"The Austin Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and therefore the premier business advocate in the Austin region. In 2022 we continued to lead the way on education and talent, regional mobility, advocacy, and economic development. We also spurred new initiatives, including focusing on super-regional collaboration with San Antonio. The Austin Chamber focuses on the big things, so you can run your business."
Incentives for Semiconductors
We are excited that the CHIPS and Science Act is now law. The legislation aims to incentivize the manufacturing of semiconductors in the United States. It is a critical time to invest in American manufacturing of semiconductor chips. We appreciate Senator John Cornyn, Congressman Michael McCaul (TX-10), Congressman Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), and others for their leadership and support for this legislation.Read Our Statement on the Passage of the CHIPS Act
Almost all major electronic devices require semiconductors, from cars to smartphones to computer graphic cards. The lack of available chips has impacted American businesses and consumers. Passing the CHIPS and Science Act will help increase investment in chip production and allow us to meet the needs for semiconductors domestically. Our region is already a leader in semiconductor manufacturing. With additional federal incentives and investment, U.S. and Central Texas-based businesses can do even more to alleviate the global chip shortage, benefiting the entire tech sector and consumers.
New Domestic & International Routes at AUS
More nonstop domestic and international flights means more access to markets, more tourists, more jobs, and a better quality of life for our region. The chamber celebrated with Austin Bergstrom International as they introduced three new international flights and dozens of other routes this year. New international routes from Virgin Atlantic and KLM highlighted a banner year for the airport.Read a Recap of Virgin Atlantic Launching a Route to Austin
Development & Affordability
The Austin Chamber led a successful lobbying effort at Austin City Hall to reduce development restrictions such as parking requirements and height setbacks also known as compatibility standards. The reduction of these regulations will lead to an increase in housing development along our high-traffic corridors and serve our affordability goals for the future.Read More About our Advocacy
Opportunity Austin is a five-year regional economic development initiative aimed at fostering job-creating investment across the Austin region. Through Opportunity Austin, the Chamber's economic development staff is able to provide confidential support for projects, including real estate research, and the facilitation of all aspects of the site selection process.
The aim is to boost economic diversification to proactively strengthen the economy, deepen the talent pool through development and attraction, and help keep the Austin region attractive to entrepreneurs, business leaders, and site selectors.
Opportunity Austin targets key industries for future economic development, including advanced manufacturing, creative and digital media technology, clean energy and power technology, life sciences, data management, space technology, and corporate headquarters and regional offices.
You can find out more about Opportunity Austin on our website.
In January Opportunity Austin and the Austin Chamber, in partnership with Dealroom.co, released a report on Austin’s startup and scaleup ecosystem. The briefing indicates that Austin-based startups raised approximately $5 billion in funding last year, the second-highest amount for the Austin region. In 2021, startups raised $5.4 billion.
This was part of the launch of the startup ecosystem that was unveiled at A-LIST in August.
The report provides additional critical insights into the sectors and businesses attracting the most funding and attention. For example, Austin-based startups are now worth over $128B, an all-time high.
The Chamber worked with school district and higher education partners to ensure more students can access and afford the to the education and training they need to compete for current and future jobs.
- The Chamber’s annual financial aid campaign achieved a record 78% a filing rate, an increase of 8 percentage points over 2021, with over 10,000 Class of 2022 high school seniors completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or (FAFSA). The increase reflects a strong effort from the Chamber, our volunteers and partner schools who supported 53 events to help students and parents connect to grants, scholarships, and institutional aid to fund postsecondary enrollment.
- Austin Partners in Education (APIE) provided college/career readiness and mentoring support to prepare over 1500 students for dual credit, P-Tech, and postsecondary success. These efforts help more students earn college credit or credentials in health care, cybersecurity, IT and other in-demand careers by the time they graduate high school.
- The Chamber’s summer college and career transition program worked with school district and college partners to help approximately 10,000 high school graduates overcome barriers to post-secondary enrollment. The Chamber also worked with ACC, Texas State Technical College, and Temple College to help students interested in transitioning to the workforce connect to career training in IT, healthcare, advanced manufacturing and skilled trades.
Cheers to the Year
We gathered business and community leaders, elected officials, and many more at the Austin Marriott Downtown to celebrate the success of the Austin Chamber and our 2021 Austinite of the Year. We took a look at our accomplishments from 2021 and learned about the Chamber's priorities for the upcoming year from our 2022 board chair. We were honored to recognize Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, as our 2021 Austinite of the Year. Dr. Burnette is a critical player in the Austin area, and everywhere she goes.Recap of Cheers to the Year
The Austin Chamber in partnership with SXSW held the 11th Annual A-LIST Awards at the Long Center for the Preforming Arts. This event is designed to recognize homegrown companies in various growth stages. These companies are developing new ways to connect with customers while transforming their industries and creating a robust employee culture. For the first time this year, the A-LIST Awards also honored Investors of the Year.Recap of A-LIST
Regional Mobility Summit
We discussed all things planes, interstates, automobiles, and more at our annual mobility summit. We gathered transportation and housing experts, city planners, and public officials to explore the future of mobility in the Austin region. Central Texas is at a high watermark for investment in transportation infrastructure. The future of our region looks bright, with more than $20 billion in upgrades planned for I35, Austin Bergstrom International Airport, and our transit system.Recap of Regional Mobility Summit
State of Talent and Education
The Austin Chamber held the 17th annual State of Education & Talent event at the University of Texas at Austin. This event allowed the community, businesses, and higher education leaders to come together to celebrate and recognize local schools and business partners. This year's event was filled with well-deserved recognition of our school districts, business champions, and community leaders who continue to keep Central Texas a talent-strong area.State of Talent and Education Recap
Austin Gives Awards
This year marked the 11th Austin Gives Awards, where we celebrated the philanthropic efforts of local businesses. We are proud to celebrate and be inspired by those who generously served the needs of our community. Austin Gives is our program that recognizes businesses for excellence in giving back. We highlight companies across the Austin region that donate 1% or more of their pre-tax earnings to the local community. This includes financial contributions, the donation of products/services and volunteer hours.Austin Gives Awards Recap
Greater Austin Business Awards
At the Greater Austin Business Awards, we had the privilege of recognizing those with the best business practices in the region and honoring companies that are achieving success and leadership in their industries. In 2022, 47 companies were selected as finalists across 14 different categories. Recipients were selected by an independent panel of judges with the Uniquely Austin Award being selected by public voting.Greater Austin Business Awards Recap
In November, we looked ahead into 2023 and discussed what our national and local economy might look like. We heard about potential opportunities as well as challenges to be prepared for as the economy continues to evolve and the market changes.Economic Outlook Recap
Washington DC Advocacy Trip
We convened more than 60 community leaders from Central Texas for a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with elected officials and agency leaders about issues impacting the region. The annual trip, on hiatus since 2019, had attendees in the nation’s capital for three days of meetings and speakers.Learn More about Our 2022 Advocacy Trip
Intercity Trip - Salt Lake City
More than 100 people traveled to the Beehive State to learn best practices from Salt Lake City leaders. Topics on the Austin Chamber's 18th Intercity Trip included workforce development, education, natural resources, affordability, housing density, mobility, and technology and innovation.Learn More about Our 2022 Intercity Trip