“Austin’s economy is growing rapidly and yet this growth is not shared equitably. Cost of living has increased 37% from 2010 – 2015. Meanwhile, there are currently over 99,000 families in Austin who are not making a living wage.”
That’s a sentiment borne into the DNA of what we’re doing in MediaTech Ventures. That, a fact of Austin, TX, recognized by the pivotal leaders of Impact Hub who know that positive change is an attainable goal thanks to business and entrepreneurship tools, is true not just of Austin but perhaps every city in the world. Too many are unable to make a living wage.
From our perspective, to our passion and experience, too many in media: documentary film directors who can’t find funding, independent video game developers who struggle to promote their games, freelance designers and marketers left out of opportunities to develop brands, journalists being pink slipped as news media brands wrestle with new business models, and musicians taking a paltry share (if any) of a gig…. media industry professionals throughout the world live below the local standard of living.
How might we address that? We endeavor so that one might learn from the other. The musician struggling can turn to the social media professional to understand how to leverage Twitter. The film director might look to the video game community to uncover how projects can be financed. We can all look to those savvy with technology to drive greater efficiency, productivity, and reach, in the work that we do.
With that shared vision to put people to work, we’re honored to share that last week we joined Impact Hub’s inaugural cohort of Workforce Development focused entrepreneurs accelerating solutions.
“This cohort is powerful; this cohort is diverse; this is a difficult issue and it is decentralized with multiple stakeholders,” said Ashley Phillips, Managing Director of Impact Hub Austin. “It is Impact Hub’s desire to both support the viability and success of the individual ventures and to remove degrees of separation in this large workforce network, thereby creating efficiencies where they have not previously existed.”
The Hub for Impact
Impact Hub Austin is part of Impact Hub International, a global network of collaborators focused on making a positive impact in the world. The entire network is based on the belief that a better world evolves through the combined accomplishments of creative, committed, and compassionate individuals focused on a common purpose.
At once an coworking and community hub, innovation lab, a business Incubator, and a social enterprise community center, Impact Hub International is a global ecosystem that connects resources, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities to grow positive impact.
The Impact Hub Accelerator is an issue-specific, social impact accelerator program, taking the big challenges and rallying a cohort of teams to make those challenges history.
- 3 Day Startup with Brianna Kablack and Alexis Taylor
- Alcye with Lav Chintapalli
- Austin Coding Academy with Chris Lofton
- Central Texas Allied Health Institute with Jereka Thomas-Hockaday
- Hernandez Hospitality, LLC with Olivia Hernandez
- KeyUp with Adam Chasen, Mary Hannah Duhon, and Mariangela Marin
- PelotonU with Navid Ladha and Hudson Baird
- Workforce Inclusion with Ryan Steglich and Tasha McCarter
- And us, our “Collective” work, a non-profit initiative we’ve kickstarted with the Austin Community Foundation to develop the media and technology skills needed for today’s workforce to thrive
From day one we’re working.
Early at The Austin Central Library, with Leadership Austin, in a discussion centered around how we’re creating equal opportunity for the entire future workforce while preparing them for jobs that haven’t been created yet, Geronimo M. Rodriguez, Jr. — Chief Advocacy Officer, Ascension Texas, Tamara Atkinson — CEO, Workforce Solutions Capital Area, Melanie Flowers — Senior Manager of Technical Training, Samsung, and Shasta Buchanan —Executive Director, Austin Community College, join a room of hundreds on a panel you can catch via the stream here.
“Turns out, with a little bit of research or reaching out to some of the speakers highlighted above, there are many public tools available for families, and what seems to be a proactive group trying to reach as many children as possible.” noted our cofounder here, John Zozzaro, “A debate I would like to have with these professionals, is asking them why there is so much focus on “STEM” and not “STEAM”? If we want the future workforce to compete with robots, a large part of that will be arts, and the ability to be more creative and passionate than machines.”
I love the consensus from our first day together – three rules/philosophies the group should adhere to throughout our 11 weeks together:
- 25% — Respect
- 25% — Feedback
- 12.5% — Collaboration
- 10.5% — Vulnerability
- 8.4% — Mindfullness
- 8.4% — Innovation
- 6.1% — Creativity
- 4.1% — Fun
John added a thought on the day, “the future is bright if we’re able to give everyone a voice, and not subjugate any groups of peoples to prejudice or biases.”
I might add that not only is that true of how we often characterize prejudice and biases, it’s true of everyone. There are prejudices and biases we have of Media and Technology – some are more familiar with things than others, we avert what we feel has an agenda, and we embrace that with which we’re comfortable. In today’s economy, the technology in media is a critical path to success for every walk of life – knowing what to use, when to turn to media, and how to make it work for you.
We’re going to work with our peers and those far more experienced than us, in workforce development, to have an impact of your life and career. Thanks to Impact Hub, we’re going to impact Austin and serve the global community of media professionals.
To learn more about Impact Hub, their Workforce Development Accelerator, and other initiatives, join us over here.
Today as CEO and Founder of MediaTech Ventures, O'Brien works in Venture Capital Economic Development, serving the investment and venture capital economies directly, through thought leadership, consulting, and startup development.More, a regional Director of the Founder Institute incubator and mentor in DivInc, Galvanize, DivInc, and various startup Accelerators.
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