Building An Innovation EcoSystem
Fort Bend County understands the value of supporting and nurturing aspiring technologies, innovation, and entrepreneurs. Building coalitions, partnerships, and a collaborative nexus between industry, government, education, and entrepreneurs, Fort Bend is committed to developing an intentional, impactful, and strategic approach to stimulate entrepreneurial infrastructure.
Houston Exponential (HX), an organization whose mission is to help develop Houston’s innovation economy, has announced an expansion of its reach into Fort Bend County (FBC) via a partnership with the Fort Bend Marketing Program, managed by the Fort Bend Economic Development Council. This announcement follows the recent news of Gow Companies’ acquisition of HX and is the first of many planned expansion initiatives under the new leadership.
Since 2017, HX has played a crucial role in the development of Houston’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and innovation economy. Through this partnership, HX will establish a local headquarters in the county and will begin collaborating with the Fort Bend community on a variety of startup and small business programs and activities focused on supporting local founders and innovators.
Nation Leading Innovation Index
Fort Bend County ranks 27th in the nation by StatsAmerica for Innovation Index or innovation capacity. Considering a variety of factors, including human capital and knowledge creation capacity, business sustainability, and employment and productivity, the county leads the Greater Houston region.
Technology Task Force
Fort Bend County Judge KP George asked county business leaders via the Fort Bend Economic Development Council to develop a technology task force to focus on innovation and developing programs and resources to grow our innovation culture and community. Business and community leaders who comprise this task force work to find ways to both bring innovative opportunities to the county and expand the innovation footprint in Fort Bend.
The Fort Bend Economic Development Council board of directors approved funds to commission a study by The Cannon on the feasibility of creating a series of innovation hubs in Fort Bend County. The Cannon found Fort Bend is “ripe” for three networked and fully integrated innovation hubs spread throughout the county that will be the building blocks of an innovation ecosystem.
“Fort Bend County is poised for exciting economic growth but will need to take an intentional approach to facilitate new business and innovation activity in the region. It has a wealthy, educated, skilled, and diverse community replete with great academic institutions, a large and varied business environment, and a good foundational culture of entrepreneurial-ism. Our team at The Cannon believes that the establishment and ongoing management of three distinct but interconnected innovation centers will have a profound impact on The County’s business landscape.”
Five Key Areas of Focus- Study Findings
Alignment, awareness, and accessibility of entrepreneurial efforts.
Develop educational programs focused on new entrepreneurs and early stage business development.
Provide programs and partners that help locally-focused companies and their entrepreneurs to innovate and scale.
Create integrations with local education programs to augment their activities and create synergy between business and academia.
Develop curriculum and programs for potential investors and for businesses seeking capital.
Fort Bend ISD was selected by Microsoft to join the 2020-21 Incubator Path of the Microsoft Showcase School program, beginning a multi-year journey with the intent of opening a first of its kind STEM magnet program in FBISD. This program is limited to a select number of schools, and Fort Bend ISD is the only school selected this round to be built as a greenfield MS Showcase School from design to completion joining only 2 other such K-12 schools in the nation.
Guided by transformative education principles, Microsoft Showcase Schools use innovative strategies to develop curriculum and assessment tools that are student-centered, immersive, and inclusive, focusing on future-ready skills such as critical thinking, data-driven problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity, ensuring students are empowered to achieve more.
This program ties closely with the workforce development strategy embraced by county leadership to ensure we continue to have an educated, trained workforce that can meet tomorrow’s innovative challenges and support the labor needs as the commercial sector continues to expand.