Sylnovia Holt Rabb

Economic Development Department

City of Austin


Sylnovia Holt Rabb is a graduate of Florida A&M University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration. She has over 22 years of experience in accounting and financial management through non-profit corporations and location government. Sylnovia began her career in 2000 with the City of Austin in the Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department and in 2009 moved to Economic Development Department as the Financial Manager. In June 2014, she was promoted to Assistant Director of Economic Development Department (EDD). Economic Development Department mission is to develop and lead innovative programs that increase the prosperity of Austinites, businesses, and diverse neighborhoods, creating a cultural and economic environment that enhances the vitality of the community through Redevelopment, Cultural Arts, Global Business Recruitment and Expansion, Music and Small Business Program. As the Assistant Director, Sylnovia purview includes Support Service, Cultural Arts Division and the Small Business Program.

During her tenure as Assistant Director, Cultural Arts Division has been awarded two grants from Arts Place America, $400,000 for the redevelopment of an old tank farm in conjunction with Fuse Box, Inc. and $265,000 for Cultural Asset Mapping. Created an Art in Residency Program for the City of Austin; Launch and implementation of Culture Alive, pilot funding program for ALAANA artists, in partnership with Cultural Ambassadors (also a pilot to assist with outreach and education), which was received with overwhelming interest by the community. In 2017, Sylnovia Holt Rabb, was appointed as a Daniel Rose Fellow, Urban Land Instittue Rose Center for Public Leadership. As fellow, Sylnovia, along with three other colleagues, focused on equitable economic development specifically around small businesses in community of color.

The Small Business Program has also achieved significant accomplishments, developed and held its inaugural class for the FASTForward Program. An intense 12 “shark tank” program for minority owned business; Entered into agreement with Austin Community College for a Fashion Incubator to advance the fashion industry in Austin. Partnered with the Small Business Festival and GBRE to hold an Alibaba pitch session for 14 local companies.

In December of 2019, Sylnovia was appointed Deputy Director of the Department. During her brief tenue during these unpresented times, the Small Business Program was able to develop and launch the Austin Economic Injury Bridge Loan Program to provide gap financing to small business until businesses can receive the U. S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection and Economic Injury Loan.
In March 2020, Sylnovia was appointed Acting Director of the Department to lead the day-to-day operation, to allow the Director to focus on the City of Austin Economic Recovery during the pandemic. During her tenue, the department launch 13 unique programs to aid individuals, non-profits, and small business during the pandemic.