MCKINNEY, Texas — More than a year ago, the McKinney Economic Development Corporation bet that startups and other innovation-focused companies would be vital to continuing to grow the northern Dallas-Fort Worth suburb.
Last January, the EDC launched its Innovation Fund, which has attracted more than a dozen companies to the city. Entering its second year, the EDC sees even more interest from the startup community as it looks to position McKinney as a future tech hub.
"Startups are the future of economic development," Danny Chavez, senior vice president at the McKinney EDC, told NTX Inno.
The Innovation Fund provides grants to startups for growth, expansion, and recruitment based on the company's stage of development. With requirements like having a minimum number of employees and keeping your business in McKinney for at least three years, the EDC hopes it will help diversify the local economy and develop a high-density innovation ecosystem. Much like can be seen in Austin's growth, Chavez said the idea is to build out the city's talent pool, growing organically. Eventually, the EDC is hoping bigger players in the tech industry will likely take notice.
"This takes the sophistication level of functioning like an… equity model. Our equity, because we don't take positions in companies, is community and social equity," Chavez said. "We're trying to increase the average salary in the community, as well as bring in those target sector jobs. There's a huge black hole in economic development in figuring out how to recruit tech."
Since the Innovation Fund launched in the first 14 months, the EDC has closed on 15 deals, including cybersecurity startup ContraForce, software startup Alanna.ai and virtual health platform MyTelemedicine. More than 65 companies have applied in that time. Amounts of the grants are not disclosed. Those 15 deals translate to potentially about 1,000 new jobs over the next three years, as well as a real estate demand for nearly 160,000 square feet.
To read more about McKinney’s aggressive recruitment efforts, click here.