Austin businesses and nonprofits at SXSW: Collaboration can change the world

We’ve heard what Charles Darwin said about life on Earth: those who learn to collaborate most effectively – prevail.

Could the same be said for Austin’s work ecosystem?

Yes – according to the panelists of Austin Technopreneurs Changing the World, seen at South by Southwest Conference and Festivals (SXSW) 2019.

Furthermore, Austin not only has a collaborative work environment it also boasts many successful partnerships between nonprofits and businesses. From creating feel-good experiences to developing a more inclusive workspace, there are examples for all who are working towards positive partnerships.

When corporations and nonprofit organizations combine their efforts “the impact is much greater than one,” according to Preston James, Chief Executive Officer of DivInc, an Austin-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps women and people of color succeed as tech entrepreneurs.

There are a number of ways that nonprofit DivInc partners with businesses to support women and people of color. The DivInc mentor program helps provide a pathway and inspiration to potential entrepreneurs who “get to see the possibility of becoming what they want to become and to realize their dreams.” Other benefits of this nonprofit partnership with businesses include supporting a diverse work culture and creating more jobs in underserved communities.

The panelists also described positive outcomes when a business takes the initiative to reach out to a nonprofit organization.

Being a veteran and a business owner, panelist Mike McKim, Owner of Austin-based Cuvee Coffee, wanted to help vets start their own businesses too. So, he joined up with Bunker Labs – a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that ensures that veterans who want to be entrepreneurs have the network, tools, and resources needed to start their own business.

“We give back in this way,” said McKim. “It is a game changer.”

Tiffany Taylor, Founder & Owner of Tiff’s Treats Cookie Delivery (headquartered in Austin) says that for every opening of a new Tiff’s Treats store, the company partners with a local charity.  A store’s Grand Opening becomes a big event with cookie discounts and activities. One example was Tiff’s Treats’ partnership with the local chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, a nonprofit that grants wishes of children diagnosed with a critical illness. A Wish Kid from the nonprofit was at a Tiff’s Treats Grand Opening event in North Austin.

Taylor says: “It is a dream come true to be a part of those moments.”

SXSW 2019 Panel: Austin Technopreneurs Changing the World

Panelists: Tiffany Taylor, Founder & Owner Tiff’s Treats Cookie Delivery; Mike McKim, Owner Cuvee Coffee; Preston James, Chief Executive Officer DivInc

Moderator: Erik Day, Vice President of Small Business Dell Technologies

Image: S. Erler

About Susannah Erler 7 Articles
Susannah Erler is Interim Director of the Texas Grants Resource Center and Director of Greater Good Strategies – Nonprofit Consulting.

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