Tech Talent, Millennials, and Housing Affordability Support Fort Worth’s Startup Growth

By Dr. Anthony Edwards, SVP Talent Development, Attraction & Retention, Fort Worth Chamber

On June 19, 2019, CommercialCafe.com released a ranking of the Best 20 U.S. Cities for Startups and Entrepreneurs. 

“Fort Worth is coming into its own as a startup city,” Dallas Innovates said in an online article. “COMMERCIALCafé cited plans made by the city, chamber of commerce, transportation authority, and others as addressing Fort Worth’s issues with jobs, talent, funding, and image. Fort Worth is ranked among the least rent-encumbered cities in the nation and is the fourth-most affordable for housing.”

The rankings and data provided evidence of the work the Chamber is doing to achieve Fortify goals in Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Talent, and Quality of Place is paying dividends.

Small Business and Entrepreneurship

  • Fort Worth outranked Dallas for startups and entrepreneurs
  • Top 5 startup density
    • Includes Fort Worth, Arlington, Dallas, Austin, and Kansas City
  • Fort Worth, Arlington, and Dallas have very similar startup densities, growth rates, and survival rates.
  • Fort Worth ranked ninth for startup growth rate (change in number of year over year startups).
    • Coincidentally, Kansas City, the site of the Chamber 2018 inter-city visit and self-proclaimed “Best City for Entrepreneurs” ranked first for startup growth rate.

Talent

  • 13.2% increase in the number of residents aged 25 – 39 that held a bachelor’s degree or higher in science or engineering
    • 3rd highest growth rate in tech talent pool
  • 25% increase in the number of computer, engineering, and science jobs
    • 8th nationally for tech employment growth

Quality of Place

  • Fort Worth ranked fourth for rent/income ratio (affordability), spending 15% of income on rent.
    • Arlington ranked second, spending 14% of income on rent.
  • 12th in millennial population growth – higher than growth rate for Dallas
  • Millennials represent 24% of the Fort Worth population, compared to 26% of the Dallas population

Challenges

  • We are behind in tech employment growth compared to peer cities like Sacramento, Atlanta, Austin, Denver, Nashville, Kansas City, Boston, and Washington, DC.
  • Fort Worth ranked 19th in tech talent pool compared to peer cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, Denver and others.
  • Tech wage growth in Dallas was $2,412 compared to $1,194 in Fort Worth and Arlington.
  • While housing affordability in Fort Worth is better than in other cities, we have to continue to focus on staying relatively affordable and making Fort Worth more affordable for all residents in our workforce.

Source: https://www.commercialcafe.com/blog/top-20-startup-us-cities-2019/#prettyPhoto

Fort Worth, TX

Fort Worth is coming into its own and embracing the startup scene. Efforts to capture and sustain economic development include plans by the city, chamber of commerce, transportation authority, and others to address the city’s issues with jobs, talent, funding, and image.

Luckily, Fort Worth has quite a few advantages on which to build. The data we analyzed showed that the city is among the country’s least rent-encumbered, ranking fourth-most affordable for housing.

Fort Worth has seen a 13.2% increase in the number of residents aged 25 to 39 that held a bachelor’s degree or higher in science and engineering, which placed it third for tech ed growth.

Traditionally a manufacturing town, its inventive spirit carries into futuristic industries. Last year, the Fort Worth Now activation at SXSW festival showcased innovative local companies, with displays including a simulation of eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) technology, developed by the Bell Co.

Fort Worth saw a 25% increase in the number of computer, engineering, and science jobs, ranking eighth nationally for tech employment growth. Even with some big companies now relocating elsewhere, with dedicated city efforts to support the startup community, the Fort Worth economy is looking up.