Far from the rural frame depicted in the movies, Texas is on the foreground of the US economy. Second most populated state of the country with one of the highest population growth (1.43% in 2017), it would stand as the 10th economy in the world as a stand-alone country. Strongly rooted in the oil industry since the 1900s, the state significantly diversified its activities by the end of the WWII into the aerospace, defense and renewable energy sectors (Georgetown was one of the first 100% wind-powered city worldwide – Texas is the 1st wind power producer in the US). 2nd commercial exporter in the nation ($23B in 2017), counting 51 of the 500 Fortunes companies, Texas nowadays acts as one of the main player of the Sun Belt economy, reaching closely Canada GDP on its own.
Texas also hosts one of the most innovative university systems in the world (University of Texas System – in the top 10 worldwide according to a 2018 Reuters ranking), featuring 14 campuses and research centers in most major cities (Austin, Dallas, El Paso, San Antonio…). The University of Rice located in Houston ranks 16th in the country, and is widely acknowledged for its research outcomes in biotechnologies and nanomaterials. The state itself accounted for $5.25 billion for academic research in 2016.
Light regulatory burden, affordable cost of living and wide spaces are the keys that rank the Lone Star State as the 3rd most business-friendly state of the country (according to a Forbes study).
4th largest city in the US, Houston has long been firmly established as the world capital of the oil and gas industry with companies like Chevron, Exxon, Total, Engie, Air Liquide and Schlumberger. Innovation arises through topics such as robotics, biofuels, hydrogen technologies, IT and data management – big data, machine learning.
The Texas Medical Center – largest medical center in the world – is a district on its own, featuring 10 million patients a year and one surgical intervention every 3 minutes. It has driven many advances in life sciences over the past decades, from the first artificial heart transplant in 1969 to the last Nobel Price of medicine in 2018.
The presence of incubators – TMCx, Johnson&Johnson, Station Houston, The Cannon – and structures to foster collaboration between Houston hot spots (Houston Exponential, the Ion, TMC3) reflects the willingness of the city in strengthening its potential of innovation and research in energy and life sciences.
Not far from Houston, Austin is chiefly known as Silicon Hills, and races as a direct competitor with the Silicon Valley. The capital of Texas is the home of many electronics big shots, starting with IMB, Dell, Freescale and Oracle, and will soon host a 1 billion dollar Apple campus, dedicated to R&D and engineering. This future building would bring 15,000 employees and therefore boost the city’s emergence.
Austin’s digital startup density is the biggest in Texas (179 per 100,000 inhabitants – 141% of the national ratio) and emerges as one of the most innovative ecosystems in the US. No less than 15% of Austin’s population works in IT and electronics, and the patent publication ratio per capita is one of the highest in the country (3rd position behind San Francisco and the Bay Area).
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