SAN ANTONIO – When San Antonio Startup Week started in 2016, it had about 50 learning sessions and 500 people in attendance. On opening day of 2023′s SASW, it has grown to over 75 learning environments, more than 1,000 people registered, and more than $300,000 awarded in five different business pitch competitions.
Saige Thomas is an entrepreneur with Texas Fashion Week and one of the hundreds of people filling up the top of the Frost Tower on day 1 of San Antonio Startup Week.
“How to better develop your business, how to meet other people, how to network — it’s definitely a place to learn as a business owner and as an entrepreneur,” Thomas said of SASW.
Geekdom CEO Charles Woodin said Startup Week “brings together all sorts of people from all different walks of life that support innovation, entrepreneurship, and just the social impact that we’re seeing across the whole entire city.”
Woodin sees firsthand companies beginning as startups and flourishing.
“There are more people interested in starting something new, building on an idea that they’ve already had or their side hustle,” Woodin said.
One of those companies — Irys — started something new.
“We developed the 311 system here in San Antonio,” said Beto Altamirano, who started Irys in 2016.
Irys had a small office in Geekdom but has grown by leaps and bounds.
“We’re more than that. That’s how we started. Now, we work with the (Department of Defense) on data analytics. We also work with engineering companies that are studying the built environment to better understand the infrastructure of cities,” Altamirano said.
The city is clearly growing, especially in the area near Geekdom, and the mission of San Antonio Startup Week is to set the foundation for small businesses so they can grow with our city.
“Supporting startups further along their journey and supporting small businesses, no matter what stage of growth that they’re at, to be able to find the resources that exist here in San Antonio,” Woodin said.
Woodin added that there has been immense progress in the support. Two years ago, they aimed to launch 500 startups, which they thought they would reach in 10 years. They are already at 279.
As for Beto Altamirano and Irys, they are thriving, and he has advice for any entrepreneur out there.
“We’ve got to try, try and try again, and we can’t give up,” Altamirano said.
You can find out more information on San Antonio Startup Week here: https://sasw.co/