Start Up Waco Executive Director
The ultimate success of Start Up Waco will be measured by the number of entrepreneurial businesses that are launched in relation to Start Up Waco as well as the ability of Waco to develop and retain a reasonable number of those businesses. The businesses developed and supported by Start Up Waco should reflect demographics of the community.
Greater Waco is home to approximately 235,000 residents that make up a thriving urban downtown, growing young professionals population, ranching community and suburban paradise. Waco boasts three higher education institutions, including Baylor University, Texas State Technical College and McLennan Community College.
Established in 1849 by the Huaco Indians, Waco welcomes approximately 1.9 million annual visitors who travel directly into the City through the Waco regional airport or via the I-35 corridor. Waco is located within a 90-minute drive to Dallas-Fort Worth or Austin, making it the ideal location for quick weekend getaways throughout Texas. Waco has seen steady growth in recent years, including a host of newly completed facilities such as Baylor University’s McLane Stadium and major downtown redevelopment projects. HGTV Fixer Upper stars, Chip and Joanna Gaines, also brought nearly 1.6 million people to the Magnolia Silos, Market and Bakery in 2017.
The downtown Silo District offers ample shopping and dining options, including two food truck parks. Locals also enjoy a number of restaurants known throughout Texas, including Kitok— a Korean-American eatery, Vitek’s BBQ,—home of the Original Gut Pack, Rufi’s Cocina — offering authentic Mexican flavors, George’s Restaurant and Bar and DiamondBacks fine dining. Thriving local businesses, restaurants and shops represent the rich diversity that is celebrated in Waco. The Historic Elm Avenue District and the Cultural Arts District offer locals and visitors alike an abundance of activities that reflect the true taste of Waco. The local farmer’s market, festivals, live music, art galleries, performance venues, and restaurants and bars serving locally produced food, wine, beer and award-winning whisky are some of Waco’s most popular attractions.
Adjacent to downtown and the Brazos River are several parks including Cameron Park, a 416- acre oasis with towering trees, two rivers, breathtaking cliffs and a National Recreation Trail system. A tremendous setting for outdoor recreational activities, Cameron Park is the second largest inner-city park in America. The Bledsoe-Miller Park sits on the east bank of the Brazos River and is home to the newly constructed Doris Miller Memorial. The multi-million dollar sculpture stands in honor and memory of famous Waco WWII Veteran Doris Miller and all who sacrificed for their country.
The City’s primary water source, Lake Waco, is one of the most dependable in the state of Texas. Parks situated along the Lake offer recreational activities such as fishing, water skiing, swimming, jet skiing and boating.
Residents and visitors can also discover more than 1,731 animals representing 300 species at the Cameron Park Zoo, walk across the historic Suspension Bridge, or unearth history at the Waco Mammoth National Monument, the nation’s only recorded discovery of a nursery herd of Columbian mammoths. Waco also offers several indoor activities, including the Dr. Pepper Museum and the Mayborn Museum Complex, complete with hands-on discovery rooms and interactive natural science and cultural history galleries. Waco is home to two large Hospital systems – Providence Health Center and Baylor Scott and White – Hillcrest. The City boasts 16 elementary schools, 7 middle schools and four high schools, all within the Waco Independent School District. Waco also has a number of K-12 charter school systems and private schools.
Waco is a thriving community on the cusp of even great things. It is easy to see why so many people are choosing to call Waco home.