Round Rock Chamber looks to develop entrepreneurship in city

Monica Maher, vice president of Community Enhancement for the Round Rock Chamber, unveils its entrepreneurship strategy Feb. 23.

Monica Maher, vice president of Community Enhancement for the Round Rock Chamber, unveils its entrepreneurship strategy Feb. 23.

The Round Rock Chamber is recommending the city develop an entrepreneurship center as well as establish programs, partnerships and networks focused on entrepreneurship as part of a plan released Feb. 23.

The plan—entitled Rev Up Round Rock—establishes nine recommendations to foster entrepreneurship within the city.

"Round Rock has had its share of entrepreneurial success stories, but it currently does not have an intrinsic culture of entrepreneurship nor the ecosystem to nurture it," the plan states. "These are critical as they are key components for a well-rounded economic development program. In response, the Round Rock Chamber has developed a multi-year game plan to address the community’s entrepreneurial environment."

Much of the plan focuses on creating partnerships and developing connections in the city and region. It states the chamber will be the community's entrepreneurship hub. It also recommends promoting the city as a burgeoning entrepreneurial locale and expanding support services.

"Although it has not reached its full potential, there are a number of positive reasons for starting a business in Round Rock, including its proximity to a well-regarded entrepreneurial hotspot in Austin, a growing quantity of support resources, and an extremely welcoming business climate," it states. "It needs to, however, promote these assets so that it can 'get on the radar' of the area’s entrepreneurs."

The plan has educational components as well. It features recommendations to foster entrepreneurship opportunities for students, promote entrepreneurship within higher education institutions and establish an Entrepreneurship Round Rock program.

"Evidence indicates that entrepreneurship can be taught, or at least encouraged, through hands-on entrepreneurial learning," the plan states.

Further into the future, the plan recommends development of an entrepreneurship center to house the strategy's elements in one physical location. For example, the plan states, the center could include an incubator or accelerator as the community needs it. Furthermore, it should be a meeting place where entrepreneurs could interact with each other.

The plan recommends considering housing the center in northeast Round Rock to leverage and connect Round Rock's higher education facilities.

"This association with Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Texas State University Round Rock campus, and Austin Community College – Round Rock could result in an increased amount of startup activity in targeted industry sectors that align with the schools’ programs and the chamber’s economic development efforts," the plan states.

At a Round Rock Chamber luncheon Feb. 23, where the plan was presented to the public, Monica Maher, vice president of Community Enhancement for the chamber, said the plan could take time to be implemented.

"But when it does it will contribute to Round Rock being one of the best places to live,” she said. 


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