IDEA Works: A look inside


IDEA Works

600 E Rosedale St,

Fort Worth 76104


- FWBP Digital Partners -

In last month’s article, I provided an overview of IDEA Works FW, Fort Worth’s 3-year old, multi-industry incubator for early stage businesses at the Guinn Campus (one of Fort Worth’s best kept economic development secrets). At the article’s conclusion, I mentioned that my follow-up article would focus on the three types of client memberships at IDEA Works FW: incubator client-members, affiliate client-members and collaboration or co-working client-members.

In this article, I will share insights on a few IDEA Works FW’s “Incubator Client Member” graduates and current clients. I will also let small business owners in the community know how they might become IDEA Works’ clients; and how service providers to small business in Fort Worth and Tarrant County might be considered to serve on the IDEA Works’ Advisory Council (and receive certain benefits if selected for a particular category of small business services).

Incubator Client Members: First, let’s define incubator graduates. At IDEA Works, an incubation client is an early stage business accepted into membership where the business is provided dedicated office space at 600 East Rosedale, and where the incubation client works its plan to successfully exit its resident space, i.e., graduate from the building and the onsite resources provided the incubation client, in a maximum of two years.

- Advertisement -

There are currently five incubation clients at IDEA Works FW:

1) Dental Symphony, an online dental patient registration system designed by dentists for dentists;

2) Vertess, a healthcare-focused mergers and acquisition firm providing advisory and consultation services to healthcare and human service organizations;

3) MEL/ARCH, a progressive architectural firm;

- Advertisement -

4) Thinkhandy, an inbound marketing agency; and

5) Iron Egg, a provider of affordable websites.

Upon entry into IDEA Works FW, each incubator client is taken through a process where the current state of the new incubator client is documented, and its measurable goals at graduation are defined and captured. During the client’s incubation period, various resources and tools — customized to the needs of the incubator client – are made available to focus and assist the incubator client to meet or exceed its pre-determined graduation goals to exit IDEA Works.

The first truly, home-grown and developed graduate of IDEA Works is Modern Lantern. With its patents, Modern Lantern provides beautifully designed, rechargeable, battery-operated, cordless lamps for homes, restaurants, hospitality-focused businesses and people providing special events. Modern Lantern has outgrown its space needs at IDEA Works, and has established a new location with a showroom and warehouse area on Fort Worth’s Northside. In the last few months Modern Lantern’s founders have expanded the initial product line to include high-end, shorter, hospitality-focused lamps. They have also added two part-time staff.

Affiliate Client Members: IDEA Works FW Affiliate Members have offsite operations, but tap into some of IDEA Works FW’s programs and services provided Incubator Client Members, e.g., regular coaching, review and roundtable sessions. There are currently nine Affiliate members of IDEA Works.

Some of IDEA Works’ Affiliate client members include:

1) Zoomeez, 1st place winner in the 2015 Fort Worth Business Plan Competition, focused on providing entertaining musical videos to get children, ages 2 to 5, up and active while having fun;

2) Alchemy Pops, 2nd place winner in the 2015 Fort Worth Business Plan Competition, a purveyor of artisan frozen pops hand-made from farm-fresh local ingredients;

3) Authentic Fort Worth Tours, a provider of various Fort Worth tours, including the popular “Ghost Tours;” and

4) CoLAB Creative Group, a brand and design marketing agency.

Collaboration Co-working Client Members: IDEA Works FW Collaboration Co-working Client Members have 24/7 access to the Radio Shack-donated Collaboration Room and are currently afforded a few more resources and services than Affiliate Client Members.

Opportunities for Tarrant County Businesses: There are currently opportunities for early stage businesses with the potential to grow in need of business education and access to small business resources to be Affiliate or Collaboration Co-working Clients. If you are a relatively new business 1) experiencing increased or on the verge of experiencing an increase in sales, 2) needing to take on part-time or full-time staff to have the right resources needed to meet the growth requirements, and 3) recognizing your businesses’ need for educational programs and resources (people, processes, technologies or funding) to grow effectively, contact me at 817-480-2516.

Opportunities for Service Providers to Growing, Early Stage Businesses: There are currently opportunities for providers in some categories of business services to be considered for membership to the IDEA Works Advisory Council. Small business service-providers vetted and selected to serve as Advisory Council members will have the opportunity to, at a minimum, meet and engage quarterly with the growing IDEA Works client base of Incubation, Affiliate and Collaboration, Co-working client members.

Action for Prospective Advisory Council Members: If you are a service provider to small businesses in Fort Worth and Tarrant County and would like information regarding the steps to be considered as a potential IDEA Works Advisory Council member, contact me at 817-480-2516 by Friday, December 16.

For a tour of IDEA Works, or to enquire about meeting space rental in either the conference room or the larger event room at IDEA Works, contact Takiyah Noble, coordinator, at or 817-568-6869.

In next month’s article, I will share with you the exciting plans in store for IDEA Works in 2017.

Ed Riefenstahl is a former director in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneurial Services practice, a co-founder of LaBodega Winery (the world’s first winery at an international airport), co-founder of The Alternative Board of Fort Worth, or TAB (the worlds’ largest business owner peer board and coaching franchise), and over his career has coached or consulted with over 100 business owners. Ed is currently the Director of Experiential Learning in the TCU Neeley MBA Program, where he co-founded Neeley & Associates Consultants. For comments or questions regarding this article or local resources available to aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners, you may reach him at