Austin Startup Free Resources
The City of Austin
If your company lives in Austin, one of the very first things you need to do is sign up to receive emails from the Austin Small Business Development Center. Just write to them here or follow them on Facebook. This city knows it lives on its entrepreneurs, and it caters to their success in a meaningful way that is not typical of government endeavors.
First, there are so many opportunities to find free resources from the City of Austin. They also have very cheap or free non-faddish classes on investment, classes and coaches for writing a business proposal, classes to teach you about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), a series of actually practical QuickBooks classes, classes on tax obligations, assistance with marketing, and so many others.
Another division within the Small Business Development Program is available just to help you set up within the City of Austin’s rules. They have classes and independent consultations about zoning, permitting, inspections, and certificates of occupancy….for Free. As an attorney, I would be happy to help you figure all this stuff out, but the City of Austin will give it to you for free here.
The City of Austin also runs occasional programs like lending out money or providing networking opportunities. It is beneficial to be connected to them during the infancy of your business.
SCORE is a federally funded nonprofit association dedicated to helping small companies and entrepreneurs find success. They also teach some really good workshops on topics like marketing, growth, mobile apps, forecasts, fiscal policy, and QuickBooks. Additionally, they offer really amazing mentors who, in my experience, are generally retired executives interested in sharing a lifetime of experience.
While you should generally take all the classes that are pertinent to you, many banks consider the classes at SCORE to be more reputable. What makes SCORE a great program is that they really invest in you. Once you are teamed up with a mentor, they will guide you through the group classes and individual projects your company needs to move to the next level.
If you sell your product or services in other countries, Export.gov is an excellent program for you. It is a program of the US Department of Commerce that happens to be located in downtown Austin. The speakers and classes are very prestigious, and Karen Parker, the director, manages to run a program that provides exceptional personalized service.