Resources for Austin Entrepreneurs
Austin has been ranked #1 in “America’s Best Places To Start A Business,” according to CNBC. This is largely due to the significant amount of resources available state-wide.
Resources for Austin entrepreneurs abound, with phenomenal resources such as Austin Startup Week, BIGAustin, and Austin Women in Technology.
Austin-based nonprofit, PeopleFund, posits that more than 99% of companies in Travis County are considered small businesses—so entrepreneurs in Austin are in good company and at a great vantage point to find phenomenal support systems.
We posted a list of resources for entrepreneurs in Boulder and Denver, and since we also have team members in Austin, we felt a similar list could be useful for our friends in Texas. This post will touch on the same four areas of assistance for entrepreneurs in Austin:
- Legal Resources: As an Austin entrepreneur starting out on your business journey, you can benefit greatly from hiring an attorney as well as learning fundamental laws that impact entrepreneurs, such as intellectual property.
- Financial Resources: There are many active organizations that dedicate themselves to providing you with helpful resources to assist you in building the startup of your dreams.
- Networking Resources: Networking opportunities prove to be invaluable to getting acquainted with fellow entrepreneurs and immersing yourself in the tech world.
- Educational Resources: Austin entrepreneurs can utilize these resources to empower themselves and innovate for the future.
Whether you are just starting out or are in the midst of your business journey, these resources will provide excellent value for every stage of entrepreneurship.
Legal Resources for Austin Entrepreneurs
RWR Legal: Entrepreneurial Law
With offices in both Austin and San Antonio, RWR Legal focuses on entrepreneurial and investment areas of the law. The firm specializes in intellectual property, real estate law, and corporate services, among other legal needs of startups. As they put it: “We are passionate about building businesses—our own and our clients’—to help innovators achieve success.”
Legal Garage: Business Law
Legal Garage offers similar services to entrepreneurs. They cover areas of law, including filing confidentiality agreements, trademark licenses, and website terms and conditions. The company wants to ensure that entrepreneurs can find the legal services and resources they need at an affordable price point.
Lawyer Referral Service: Lawyer & Community Resources
Although not specific to entrepreneurs, the Lawyer Referral Service of Central Texas also offers a way to find the right lawyer for your business. They have an online form for an immediate referral, or you can contact them to ask questions if you need clarification on the type of legal help you need.
CooleyGO: Legal Assistance
Finally, as noted in our blog post about resources for entrepreneurs in Denver and Boulder, CooleyGO is a valuable online resource that can help you to identify and create all the key legal documents you need to get a business started.
Whether you want to incorporate or want to protect IP with a non-disclosure agreement, you’ll find their free, easy-to-use document generator indispensable. They also create and curate outstanding content on everything from creating a board of directors to selling your company.
Financial Resources for Austin Entrepreneurs
CTAN Austin: Helping Startups Get on Their Feet
Financial concerns weigh heavily on many startups. The most active angel organization in the US, Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN), helps young startups get on their financial feet. The group helps entrepreneurs secure early-stage investment.
CTAN also offers mentorship opportunities and business resources. CTAN operates through a dedicated group of local business people who dedicate their time to helping entrepreneurs but also has a full-time executive director and an investment associate.
BiGAUSTIN: Assisting Austin Entrepreneurs With Financial Options
BiGAUSTIN is another excellent resource that has a quarter century of experience supporting local small businesses. A micro-lender, BiGAUSTIN helps entrepreneurs find the right loans and financing options for their startups. The nonprofit organization understands the unique financial needs of entrepreneurs during each step of building a company. Likewise, BiG houses Women’s BiZ Inc., a group specifically geared to support the female leaders of Central Texas.
Accion: Providing Loan Advice & Assistance
Similar to BiGAUSTIN, Accion assists entrepreneurs and small businesses with loans. Just fill out their hassle-free online application that outlines your business goals and the type and amount of financing your young company needs. Need help determining what kind of loan or the amount you need? Accion provides one-on-one advice and solutions.
SCORE Austin: Answering All Your Business Questions
SCORE Austin, an organization that offers free counsel in multiple cities, assists local entrepreneurs in confidently tackling financial questions. They do everything from pairing you with a mentor in the business world to helping you enroll in workshops on a variety of topics to providing free financial resources. SCORE relies on a dedicated group of local business people who volunteer their time and experience to help those just getting started. Mentoring is free and entirely confidential.
USDA B&I Eligibility Map: Checking if You Qualify for USDA-Backed Funding
Small business owners/entrepreneurs may want to know if they are eligible for a business loan or a specific loan in relation to what they do. To do this, they can check out a USDA B&I eligibility map to see if it is available in their area. The USDA B&I eligibility map finds out if you qualify for funding in a matter of seconds.
Networking Resources for Austin Entrepreneurs
Austin Chamber of Commerce: Nonprofit Member Organization
It’s always so helpful to “find your people,” and that’s never more true than when faced with the challenges of startup life. Austin Chamber is a nonprofit organization that helps entrepreneurs meet other startup leaders while focusing on developing businesses as a community.
Part of the mission of the Austin Chamber is the growth of the local economy; they believe that when entrepreneurs thrive, so does Austin, and thus are eager to help create community.
Capital Factory: Entrepreneurial Co-Working Space
Capital Factory is a prime co-working office space home to many entrepreneurs and startups. Beyond offering desk space, they sponsor numerous community events, many free of charge. Whether you have just started down the entrepreneurial path or want to expand your startup, Capital Factory provides valuable workshops and networking opportunities to help your business excel.
Expansive is another shared workspace and is a personal InspiringApps favorite. Expansive is just as it sounds—an expansive and thriving workspace.
Networking Austin, BuiltIn: Local Professionals Club
Networking Austin is a club of local professionals from various industries and companies worth checking out. Membership is broader than just entrepreneurs, but the events offered can still help you build your business and make quality connections.
- BuiltIn Austin is a tech-oriented meet-up to meet new people and build relationships
- LinkedIn Local Austin Networking has a strong membership and is a great way to expand your network.
- Austin Technology Council is a fantastic group with which to network, engage, and share ideas.
Educational Resources for Austin Entrepreneurs
Austin Technology Incubator (ATI): Bootcamps for Startups
Austin Technology Incubator invests itself in the tech solutions of the future. Part of the University of Texas at Austin, the ATI enjoys access to university affiliations as well as corporate partners. You can attend a diverse set of boot camps and workshops with ATI, such as their “Health Care Startup Boot Camp” or “The Art of Combining Social Purpose with Profit.”
The City of Austin also has a Small Business Program that offers “business training, educational events, and coaching to empower entrepreneurs.” Events cover topics from how to hire the right employees to understanding business loans. Their website also includes a comprehensive list of outside resources for entrepreneurs.
Utilizing Your Resources as an Austin Entrepreneur
As you continue to grow your business and face new challenges, we hope you keep some of these resources in mind for future use. No matter what stage you find yourself on the entrepreneurial path, these legal, financial, educational, and networking organizations are great places to turn to for guidance and assistance.
We encourage you to utilize these resources as a starting point to connect with other techies, immerse yourself in knowledge, and attend leading events. At InspiringApps, we believe shared collaboration is the key to creating immersive and transformative solutions.
Looking to dig deeper? We created this free eBook on app development from a business perspective geared to help innovative entrepreneurs like you succeed.
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Generation Z is a brilliant and forward-thinking generation making a progressive transformation in the world as we know it. Following behind Millennials, they are heavily immersed in the technical landscape and are highly app savvy. They were born into a world of expansion and innovation with creations like the Apple iPhone and Facebook. Having grown up with the ability to access knowledge at the tap of their fingertips, they’re educated individuals with great entrepreneurial goals. They expect companies to anticipate their needs and will move on when they don’t deliver. They’re looking for flawless app design, fast iterations, responsible data collection, creative outlets, and more. Some Facts About Generation Z Born between 1997 and 2012, they’re in the era of self-discovery. Since their youth, Gen Z parents have been navigating the rise of technology and the online privacy issues that come with it; for Gen Z, finding their true selves is no easy task. Due to their immense media consumption, they expect instant gratification and high-speed delivery. As the “mobile generation,” 96% of Gen Zers are reported to own a cellphone—many spend 10 hours plus connected online. They frequent social platforms like Instagram, Youtube, TikTok, Twitch, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit, and other platforms. Gen Zers gravitate to mobile banking apps to serve their financial needs and streamline their tasks. Consequently, email is slowly dying out among this community of users. Generation Z interacts with apps in their lives as a means of communication, to fill a need in their life, and for play and creative expression. They are true digital natives and are hyper-connected to the world around them—making them increasingly self-aware and emotionally reflective. Generation Z also reports high rates of anxiety, depression, and mental challenges—more so than in past generations. Experiencing a global pandemic has only exasperated their mental health struggles. Consequently, prioritizing and addressing mental health is of great importance. Take Oye—a creative wellness app created by singer J Balvin “to make the world feel better.” It’s an app to transform your emotions into creative actions with mind-body practices, daily emotional check-in tools, personalized goal setting, and mindful notifications. Gen Z has proven to be catalyzed citizens who want to make a difference through social responsibility. Their innate understanding of the power of social networks and their regular consumption of news and information has allowed Gen Z to move past the era of Millennial armchair activism. While navigating life in today’s world, Gen Z confidently prioritizes experiences over objects. Considerations in App Development for Generation Z The Generation Z cohort is a significant target for app developers. Being born and raised in the digital age, they are always looking for novel tech to explore. Generation Z represents much larger historical forces at play, driving progressive transformation in the workplace that will redefine the entire generational experience. As a result, this generation has experienced increased globalization, technological advancements, and a fast-paced influx of information. Generation Z is changing the way we build digital experiences. Generation Z is the first generation to merge the digital and physical worlds into one experience. They view the internet as more than just a transaction and instead see it as a human experience. What that means for development is creating intuitive experiences that Gen Zers will love—innovative, straightforward, and seamless. With this information in mind, we’ve identified vital considerations to keep in mind when developing digital products for Generation Z. What Gen Z Consumers Want in An App Obsessively Tested, Flawless Design Gen Zers value efficiency and flawless design. That is why thorough testing and gaining user feedback are paramount. Be sure to ask for feedback from this generation and integrate the user input throughout your app’s development process and in updates. “If the designer doesn’t remove themself and try to see the user’s perspective, they can overly complicate the journey.” AARON LEA, ART DIRECTOR AT INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO Glitchy user interface behaviors and poor design choices are instant turnoffs for Gen Zers. Make your app seamless and flawless from the start, or you may lose your customer. Build your app with swift and straightforward interactions, and don’t reinvent the wheel for every feature within your product—draw inspiration from apps that are already working. By sticking with best practices and standard features and anticipating your users’ desires, your users will navigate more intuitively and stick around for more. Fast Iterations Gen Z consumers have grown up in a fast-paced digital world and value convenience and efficiency. They prefer mobile apps that offer quick and uninterrupted experiences, such as fast loading times, easy checkout processes, and streamlined workflows. Keep your app low on data—fast to download and delete. Control Over Their Digital Footprint Gen Zers quickly went from a private world to everything constantly being shared online. In their formative years, they grew up with little technology at their disposal. They were thrust into a world of hyper-technology and interconnectedness as time progressed. With that in mind, here are essential factors to keep at the forefront of your app development: Privacy Settings Gen Z should be able to manage their privacy settings on apps. This type of functionality includes having the ability to choose whether their information is shared publicly or only with specific individuals and having the option to limit the usage of their personal data. Data Transparency Gen Z should have clear access and information about what data is collected, how it’s used, and to whom it gets shared. Responsible Data Collection It’s essential to ensure that Gen Zers’ personal data is protected from data breaches and cyber threats. Apps should implement robust security practices to keep user data safe. Value-Add Through Personalization You can add value with personalization by using various technologies, such as saving login information, geolocation, machine learning, and AI, to cater to the specific needs of Gen Z. It is crucial to find a proper balance in incorporating personalization that genuinely adds value, without overdoing it. Here are a few core components to adding value through personalization: Saving Login Information Gen Z is all about convenience, and one way to provide that is by saving their login information. By doing so, you not only save them time but also provide a straightforward user journey. Geolocation Gen Z consumers are constantly on the go and expect a personalized experience based on their location. Using geolocation technology, you can offer tailored recommendations, promotions, and content based on their location. Machine Learning & AI If you want to better understand your Gen Z customers, machine learning can be a potent tool. By analyzing their data, you can personalize their experience and provide the results they seek—before they even ask. AI and machine learning are great tools for automating manual tasks as well. Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in many ways to develop apps for Gen Z. Here are some ways to incorporate ML and AI in your app to improve its performance: Personalized Recommendations: ML algorithms can provide customized recommendations to Gen Z users based on their interests, behaviors, and preferences. Chatbots & Virtual Assistants: With natural language processing (NLP) techniques, it’s now possible to create bots that can interact with Gen Z users in a way that feels just like talking to a real person. Bots can help users with tasks such as scheduling, finding information, or making purchases on their mobile devices. Image & Video Recognition: Computer vision techniques can be used to recognize images and videos, which can be helpful in apps such as social media platforms, gaming, or e-commerce. Predictive Modeling: Predictive modeling techniques can be used to forecast future behaviors and trends. For instance, a news app can predict which articles will be most popular among Gen Z users. Predictive modeling ensures your app stays ahead of the curve. Voice Recognition: Voice recognition techniques can be used to develop voice-enabled apps and devices that can be controlled with voice commands. This technology can be helpful in apps such as virtual assistants, smart home devices, or hands-free gaming. ML and AI can help app developers create more engaging, personalized, and interactive apps for Gen Z users. By leveraging these technologies, app developers can improve the user experience and stay ahead of the competition. Creative Tools More than half of Gen Zers believe they are more creative than previous generations. Most of them engage in creative activities in their free time. Gen Z is a highly creative generation that values individuality and self-expression. Therefore, niche tools enabling creativity are essential for creating apps that resonate with them. Concluding Thoughts on Developing Apps for Gen Z Gen Zers have a unique vantage point when it comes to app development. They’ve experienced the best of both worlds—an era of privacy merged with hyper-connectedness. They are vicarious app consumers, making them ideal customers for app developers. Brands that take the time to understand their Gen Z users’ behaviors, motivations, preferences, and expectations will experience significant growth. Considering the above considerations, one can ensure that their app hits the mark with this brilliant and forward-thinking generation. Gen Z wants more than just an app. They crave a unique experience that fulfills their daily needs and brings joy. The app should leave them feeling special and enhance their well-being. At InspiringApps, we stay on the pulse and ahead of the curve to bring you the most forward-thinking and trending app development insights. If you have any questions or thoughts on the above material—we’d be delighted to connect!
21 days ago
Boulder, CO—In the latest article from Built In Colorado, InspiringApps’ Creative Director, Aaron Lea, shares his advice on creating simplified user journeys within digital products. How To Simplify User Journeys When do you know it’s time to simplify your product’s user journey? When we design digital apps, we’re always looking for ways to simplify the user journey. Limiting the number of interactions users have to make is a best practice for most apps. The more users have to drill down into extra screens, the more likely they are to leave. I like to think of it this way: design the app like you’re in the Target parking lot and about to go inside the store to buy Tide Pods. As a user, I want to be in and out as quickly as possible. A quick exchange that’s easy for me to use means I’m more prone to open the app the next time I’m in that Target parking lot. It’s often the case that apps are downloaded, opened once, and then deleted. These apps are too cluttered, and people won’t reuse them. On the other hand, when users know it doesn’t take too long to accomplish a task—no guided tours they’re more likely to use the app. A simple experience is a successful experience. Unless we’re creating something like TikTok, we aren’t designing the app to keep users in it. We’re here to help users achieve something or access a specific feature. The fewer interactions it takes to accomplish that, the better the journey. What process do you use to identify opportunities for simplification? App design is an art that involves trusting your instincts. I like to think of this process as similar to editing a script. Editors are great at identifying what’s essential and getting rid of clutter. But their real goal is staying true to what makes the script great—and amplifying that by revealing only what needs to be there. For example, an app may have a component that mirrors the functionality of Slack or Youtube. These are established popular apps. And even the best digital products aren’t going to lure people away from them. Any project, whether it’s designing an app or a home improvement project, can be subject to scope creep. Is that feature really needed? Was it added at the last minute? We all get distracted in the creative journey, and the risk is that we keep getting further away from—or even lose sight of—the reason we started, the problem we wanted to solve. We need to stay true to what inspired us in the beginning to create the app. ART DIRECTOR, AARON LEA | INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO What are some common traps designers can fall into that result in an overly complicated user journey? One trap is elevating ego over empathy. If the designer doesn’t remove themself and try to see the user’s perspective, they can overly complicate the journey. Designers must constantly evolve, challenge themselves, and put themselves in others’ shoes. ART DIRECTOR, AARON LEA | INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO Another trap could be the designer finding a new design tool or method they want to use and deciding to use it in a particular product. Novelty is not a substitute for suitability. A good rule of thumb is, don’t force it if it doesn’t deserve to be there. Sometimes, designers get set in their ways. Just because it worked last time doesn’t mean it will work this time too. Or conversely, designers may reinvent the wheel. If the design worked the first time, there’s no need to rethink it. Time management is critical. With mobile apps, people remember the launch, the middle, and the endpoint. A trap could be spending too much time on incidental interstitial areas. Don’t focus all your time there. Take that time and instead pick the three most vital sections—the app’s beginning, the middle, and its exit—and make those experiences ones that keep users coming back. Meet InspiringApps’ Creative Director Aaron Lea We believe that Inspired Employees Make InspiringApps and that our diverse backgrounds, skills, hobbies, and perspectives are what make us a stronger team. Aaron Lea finds his inspiration steeped in pop culture, a tradition of art in his family, and a creative digital design process that enables him to put novel creations back into the world and inspire others as a result.
1 month ago