Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Houston, TX


Houston, TX, is the fourth-largest city in the nation and the best city for minority entrepreneurs.

Houston, TX, named after former Republic of Texas president Sam Houston, is the state’s largest city and the nation’s fourth-largest. Home to NASA’s Mission Control Center, the “Space City” holds the 18th spot on NerdWallet’s 2017 list of the best large cities in which to start a business. In addition, Expert Market named Houston the best city in the nation for minority entrepreneurs.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Houston’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

Regular entrepreneurial networking meetups sponsored by Office in America, a co-working space and virtual office.

GWEN is a meetup for women in entrepreneurship to network and help one another achieve their dreams.

Consists of successful real estate entrepreneurs teaching aspiring entrepreneurs how to gain an advantage on the housing market.

Successful real estate investor, Chris Goff, holds seminars to teach people the tips and tricks that he uses to make money in real estate entrepreneurship.

A nonprofit organization that assists entrepreneurs in technology-related sectors.

Where tech entrepreneurs meet and contribute to the grow of each other’s businesses.

Anyone, regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation, is welcome to participate in these meetups aimed to help advance and develop black businesses and professionals.

Aims to empower women and help them grow their businesses through networking and more.

Regular meetings designed to help educate young entrepreneurs and small business owners on the best strategies to succeed.

Opportunity for female entrepreneurs to connect and attend networking events.


Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

Entrepreneurial showcase sponsored by Rice University and the University of Houston’s accelerator programs.

23rd annual Pinnacle Awards from the Greater Houston Black Chamber, honoring black business owners and entrepreneurs.

An annual entrepreneurial conference including lectures, discussion sessions, and networking opportunities.

Not strictly entrepreneurial in nature, this is an event where people brainstorm ideas to use technology to make Houston a better place.

Annual awards go to successful Hispanic business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Monthly events where entrepreneurs pitch and display their companies or ideas.

Annual event that educates the community on existing and newly emerging technology.


Startup Competitions:

Hosted and sponsored in part by Houston Community College, the IDEAS Pitch Competition is open to current high school or college students in the greater Houston area.

Annual business competition sponsored by the city of Houston. Applicants must have either a developed business idea or a business that has existed for less than a year.

An annual pitch competition for current students and recent graduates with a $10,000 cash prize for first place.

One of the world’s biggest student startup competitions, the RBPC gives graduate students the chance to compete for over $1 million in prize money.


How to Prepare Your Pitch to Investors


Co-working Spaces:

Public working space that includes varying levels of access to conference rooms depending on the membership plan.

Houston is home to 2 Level Office locations: one on Main Street and the other in the Theater District, both of which include an espresso bar and local beer on tap.

Station Houston aims to bring the technology and entrepreneurship scenes to the next level by providing co-working space as well as mentorship opportunities.

Houston is home to one of the many fully technologically-integrated offices by TechSpace around the country.

Provides a working space and mentorship, located right next to the TMCx medical accelerator.

WeWork plans to expand with 2 announced locations in the Space City.

A converted house in Midtown, Wi+CoWork offers a different feel than most co-working spaces.

The Work Lodge has a location inside Houston as well as one nearby in The Woodlands, both offering several membership options.

Includes private and team office plans and classic open seating in addition to unique amenities such as a ping pong table and fitness center.


Maker spaces:

Serves the southern edge of the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area in Alvin, TX with a wide array of tools and equipment.

Humble Makers borrowed their name from their location – Humble, TX. This makerspace offers equipment, as well as discounted classes and workshops, to members.

A 30,000 square foot facility that includes metal, machine, and wood shops in addition to a well-stocked electronics lab.



A technology-focused incubator that guides startups through the “5 Steps to Fruition”.

Incubator and accelerator that specializes in energy, IT, life sciences, transportation, and commercial space industries.

A live-in incubator that provides housing, workshops, and various opportunities geared towards helping entrepreneurs succeed.



Provides capital, working space, and mentorship to health-related startups.

A 12-week tech summer accelerator and mentorship program sponsored by Rice University.

A technology startup accelerator sponsored by the University of Houston open to UH faculty, students, and recent alumni.

Accelerator program sponsored by the Texas Medical Center for health and technology companies.


Looking for an Accelerator? The Accelerator Search Tool can help!



The McNair Center for Entrepreneurship and Free Enterprise helps students grow as entrepreneurs and get their possible startups off the ground.

HCC offers a number of workshops, seminars, and classes on entrepreneurship.

One of the country’s best entrepreneurial universities, Rice offers a number of courses through the Liu Idea Lab for Entrepreneurship and the highly-ranked business school.

UHD’s College of Business includes a Center for Entrepreneurship that aims to train students to become entrepreneurs.

Part of the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business, the Wolff Center has been consistently ranked among the nation’s best undergraduate entrepreneurship programs.


Angel Groups/VCs:

Invests in oil and gas, alternative energy, advanced materials, communications and networking, and information technologies.

An early-stage venture capital fund open to students in the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business.

The oldest angel network in Texas, HAN looks to invest in early-stage companies in all sectors except entertainment, real estate development, and bars/restaurants/spas.

Invests in technological solutions to problems in the Energy Industry.

An early-stage venture capital firm with locations in Houston and Ann Arbor, MI.

In addition to offering funding to startups, NGC also offers the NGC Marketplace, a way for startups to find the correct investors for them.

Invests primarily in B2B companies in healthcare of information-intensive industries.


Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

Houston is home to a branch of the Entrepreneur’s Association, which regularly sends out newsletters.

Offers information about general business news in the area including startups and entrepreneurs.

Weekly newsletter on startups and technology around the state of Texas.


Are you familiar with an entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Houston not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

Cincinnati, Ohio, San Diego, CaliforniaAustin, Texas

Article by Quinn Pilkey

Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at FundingSage where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.