Calling on Local Leaders - Business and Political - to Showcase San Antonio at 2016 SXSW

This article was written by Eric Bell, Vice President of Corporate Development, and featured in the San Antonio Business Journal on March 13, 2015. Follow this link to the original article. 

Eric Bell

Eric Bell

One of San Antonio's shining moments, among many in the city's history, occurred when it hosted HemisFair '68, the 1968 World's Fair. Today, a cultural celebration and technology showcase similar to the one that earned the Alamo City worldwide attention nearly 50 years ago is going on only 80 miles away.

South by Southwest, essentially an annual world's fair of interactive, film and music innovation, will have Austin buzzing for the next 10 days as it does every spring.

And yet, while cities like Berlin, states like Oklahoma and countries like Uruguay are spending millions of dollars renting venues in Austin to showcase their filmmakers, musicians and entrepreneurs, San Antonio innovators like Geekdom and Café Commerce are trying to compete with little or no support from their hometown.

That sends a message to young entrepreneurs that while San Antonio welcomes the jobs and economic stimulus they provide, it isn't willing to support their growth. I invite the city's leaders, both political and business, to join me in creating a cultural embassy next year at SXSW 2016 to showcase San Antonio's best and brightest innovations.

Let's showcase our city's creative and technological bellwethers like Luminaria, Síclovía, SA2020, Codeup, Dreamweek and countless others. Let's show Austin and the world alike that we're a global city with a strong technological infrastructure and the entrepreneurship needed to take advantage of a rapidly evolving global economy.

Let's also show that as a nexus between the Americas, we are in the enviable position of having multiple faces. San Antonio's roots make it one of the largest Hispanic majority cities in the United States and make it unique – culturally, economically and technologically. That's something to be celebrated.

We talk about being a city on the rise. Let's act like it. I invite San Antonio's leadership to join me in understanding and showcasing our city's cultural and technological entrepreneurs, whether it's on the world stage or in our own backyard.