Hayden Blackburn, for IDEA Works FW director, will join TECH Fort Worth as assistant director, effective Dec. 1.
Blackburn won’t be moving far; IDEA Works FW and TECH Fort Worth are based at the City of Fort Worth’s Guinn Complex at Interstate 35 and Rosedale.
“I have been impressed with Hayden’s work at Idea Works. He has a lot of experience in the entrepreneurial community in Fort Worth and will be a great addition to our team, allowing us to continue to improve and expand our services for technology-based companies in North Texas,” said Darlene Boudreaux, executive director of TECH Fort Worth.
“At TECH Fort Worth, Hayden will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Cowtown Angels. He will also organize a new mentorship program to leverage the talents of more members of the community who want to participate with TECH Fort Worth in a volunteer capacity,” said Boudreaux.
Blackburn’s idea to help emerging businesses and find use for an empty building at the Guinn Complex campus was the genesis for the City of Fort Worth to partner with the BAC Education Foundation to create IDEA Works FW. He became its first director in 2013. Since then IDEA Works has worked with a variety of start-ups and recently held Startup Weekend Fort Worth 2016.
“Hayden has gone above and beyond his job description and has proved to be passionate about bringing community resources to the local entrepreneur,” said Lucas Sawyer, chairman of the nonprofit BAC Education Foundation board that manages IDEA Works. “This transition makes great sense as he is able to continue to unite entrepreneurship programs.”
Previously, Blackburn worked in strategic development, marketing and business and economic development roles, including the Funding Information Center and Business Assistance Center in Fort Worth. He has been involved with helping to build the Fort Worth startup ecosystem since 2011. He has been a founder or leading contributor to the Fort Worth Business Plan Competition, 1 Million Cups, Startup Weekend, Great Ideas conversations, Fort Worth Business Press Entrepreneurship Summit and the Entrepreneur Summit.
“Directing the launch of IDEA Works FW and bringing the program to its first graduates was always about filling gaps in our support ecosystem for entrepreneurs,” Blackburn said. “Now that we have filled the infrastructure gaps with a mixed-industry incubator and entrepreneur development center, as well as launching new events, it is time to start strengthening our community’s resources and offerings for doers, innovators and entrepreneurs.
“Moving over to TECH FW is an exciting step in that goal. With its history of successful graduates and positive impact on local angel investing, the organization is primed to grow as the home for technology-based companies far beyond its walls and I look forward to working with Darlene Boudreaux and Jorge Varela in the advancement of the cause.”
Blackburn is a 2007 honors graduate of the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University. He serves on the Near Southside Inc Board of Directors.