Focusing on the startup and high-growth ecosystem is key in building diversified 21st century economies. Historically, economic development programs gauged the success and economic benefit to communities by massive number of jobs created by the project and/or high capital investment in the construction and buildout of physical facilities. While it remains true that jobs and capital investment are critical elements that provide benefits to our communities, these “whale projects” are highly competitive projects that only come around once in your career, if you are lucky. On the other hand, prioritizing the development of an innovation ecosystem can foster young innovative companies who might end up becoming the next Amazon.
What is McKinney Economic Development’s Innovation Fund?
The McKinney Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is actively working to develop programs, funds and support systems for startup companies to thrive in our community.
“As economies grow, they evolve and our goal is to grow our already impressive startup ecosystem into an innovation corridor,” said Danny Chavez, Senior Vice President at MEDC. “It’s time for economic development programs to come into the 21st century, which is one of the main goals of this targeted vertical and our online application capability,” said Chavez.
This new fund aims to create new opportunities for companies that generally would not qualify for traditional economic incentives and invest in companies that have great potential for high growth. Economic development practitioners that are finding ways to innovate in the tech and start-up sector are having great success and leading the way for Economic Development 2.0 organizations.
Who should apply for the Innovation Fund?
MEDC’s Innovation Fund program seeks to give startups and companies of all sizes the opportunity to take their ideas to the next level in McKinney. The Innovation Fund is hyper-focused on target-sector industries within the technology landscape and eligible companies will be in the following sectors:
- SaaS & B2B Sales
- Cloud Computing, AI & Data Analytics
- Cybersecurity (Info Management, Info Assurance, Threat-Hunting, etc.)
- Renewable Energy (Internet-based technologies, software or hardware)
- Life Sciences (Internet-based research & technologies)
- Gaming, Electronic & Digital Arts
Our goals for the program is not only to build and support an innovation ecosystem, but to also innovate ourselves within our own industry. By not being satisfied with traditional economic development tools and programs, we are helping shape the way we approach all opportunities for growth in our community and region. In a highly competitive business environment, we believe this will help set McKinney and the DFW metro apart from other competitive markets by creating another tool and enhancing the regional tech ecosystem.
The MEDC Innovation Fund focuses on five primary programs that are key to building a technology ecosystem. Three more traditional approaches, like recruitment, expansion and skills development are focused on getting companies through the “Seed to Series A” stages in the investment cycle, while providing opportunities for employees to “upskill. ”The “Growth Fund,” within the program, targets 1-2 person startups at the ideation stage. To cap off the program, the MEDC Innovation Fund is in development for a Tech Competition to be held in 2020-21.
“We are extremely focused on high-growth opportunities with this fund” according to Peter Tokar, CEO at MEDC. “McKinney is perfectly positioned for start-ups and tech entrepreneurs. Our goals is to bring together a critical mass of innovators that will be able to collaborate and grow right here in our city. We know the footprints will start small, and that’s OK! The tallest structures on earth were built one beam at a time. ” said Tokar.
How can I apply for the Innovation Fund?
To streamline the application of the Innovation Fund we have an easy to fill out online application form hosted on our MEDC website. All prospective applicants will be evaluated through the online portal.
For more information about the Innovation Fund, contact Danny Chavez, Senior Vice President at MEDC.
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