Fort Worth officials are launching a new incubator for emerging businesses in early February. IDEA Works Fort Worth was developed by the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center Education Foundation, a nonprofit that supports the activity of the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center, a division of the Economic Development Department. The program is a public/private partnership with foundation and the city. “The city of Fort Worth understands that we simply must help emerging businesses by providing tools to expand and grow jobs,” said Mayor Betsy Price. “IDEA Works FW is proof of our commitment and a complement to what the Business Assistance Center and Tech Fort Worth are accomplishing at the Guinn Complex.”
Fort Worth gave the group a $100,000 grant over two years and IDEA Works FW will seek to match that grant through sponsorships and donations. IDEA Works FW will be located at 600 E. Rosedale, the former James Guinn Elementary School. It is part of the three-building complex that includes the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center (BAC) and Tech Fort Worth. IDEA Works FW will be managed and funded by the BAC Education Foundation, a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. A ribbon-cutting is planned for Feb. 5.
The facility has been designed for single-business tenants (a total of 2,700 square feet) and co-working space (just under 1,000 square feet), along with conference and video rooms, a copier and supply room, and a meeting room for up to 35 attendees and two break rooms. IDEA Works FW is accepting applications. A startup will have to present a business plan, pass a credit history review and be selected by a management and the group’s selection committee.
The mixed-use industry incubator will look for revenue-producing small businesses (2-to-9 employees) that have the potential for employment growth, the potential for investment, the capacity to innovate, and that possess a community or civic interest and have the potential of catalyzing other employment or economic growth that feeds into or off of their business. Tenants will have access to business coaching and strategic planning – growth, expansion, transition – from mentors, entrepreneurs and an Advisory Council as well as access to capital, shared services and networking opportunities. Programming will include management and Entrepreneur-in-Residence roundtables, assessments and collaboration, and marketing services. “Fort Worth’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well,” said Lucas Sawyer, chair of the BAC Education Foundation. “We want to be a shot in the arm of emerging businesses where our services and offerings can be a catalyst to their growth. Job creation and expanding our community’s economic development are our key areas of focus.”