(Nov. 4, 2010)--The UTSA Institute for Economic Development hosted Joe Straus, speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, on Friday, Oct. 29 at the UTSA Downtown Campus for a roundtable discussion with more than 50 local small-business owners and business leaders.
UTSA President Ricardo Romo and Secretary of State Hope Andrade also particated in the dialogue that centered on concerns about the health of the Texas economy and ways the Legislature could help spur business growth. As state government faces significant budget challenges, Straus asked for input on issues to help small businesses grow and lead to an economic turnaround.
"Small business is the real economic driver in Texas," said Straus during his opening remarks to an audience that included representatives from the city's chambers of commerce, San Antonio Manufacturing Association and the National Federation of Independent Business.
"We are blessed with low taxes, fair regulations, an entrepreneurial spirit and the Texas value of self-reliance," Straus said. "The best thing that the government can do to grow our economy is to get out of the way."
The advice to Texas' legislative leaders ranged from keeping taxes low to the need for an educated workforce and improving access to capital. All agreed that despite the lingering national recession, Texas leads the country with a healthy and productive economy.
Concerns raised included the gross margins tax, which C.P.A. Johnny Lovejoy suggested should be based on small business profits and the ability to pay. InGenesis CEO Veronica Edwards stressed the need for skilled labor and health-care technician training. Clint Plant, owner of the E.P.M.P. sheet metal fabrication firm, voiced concerns about the current burdens placed on employers by the unemployment claims system.
ACCION Texas CEO Janie Barrera sought state support for microloans, and other panelists expressed the need for more bank lending and state incentives to fund high-growth local businesses, along with attracting out-of-state corporations to Texas.
"Small business is big business in Texas," said Andrade, who was a successful small business entrepreneur for more than three decades.
"State policies can make a huge difference for small-business success," said Robert McKinley, associate vice president of the UTSA Institute for Economic Development. "We are pleased we could host this roundtable discussion to bring together important voices in the small-business and legislative communities."
UTSA's business development programs provided consulting, training and research for 32,000 small and medium-sized businesses last year across South Texas, assisting them access $112 million in growth capital and expand revenues by $685 million, leading to the creation of 3,200 new jobs.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.
We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.