By: Shilo Urban
It’s official. The BAC Education Foundation — a local nonprofit that provides support to entrepreneurs and startups in the area — has rebranded as the AccelerateDFW Foundation.
The rebrand is an effort, in part to clarify the organization’s independence from the city (it began as a way to help get Texas state funds to the City of Fort Worth’s Business Assistance Center), but it also gives the group a chance to expand its program offerings and scope.
The move, however, begged a question regarding one of the BAC Education Foundation’s initiatives: What happens to IDEA Works?
The answer: IDEA Works stays and keeps its name, but it also promises an improved set of programming.
IDEA Works becomes one of three verticals that fall under the AccelerateDFW umbrella. The other two — a product-focused program called Trax & Stax and a series of hands-on educational opportunities for entrepreneurs.
“It’s all AccelerateDFW,” said Marco Johnson, director of programming for the foundation. “We want the foundation to be front and center.”
Here’s a quick look at what’s happening.
Trax & Stax Trax & Stax is a new program currently in development that focuses on a more specific part of the business — the product. This three-month-long curriculum will center solely on developing business ideas and testing their viability. At press time, the program was undergoing beta testing. It’s expected to launch this fall.
Entrepreneurial education This vertical (not formally given a name yet) involves AccelerateDFW collaborating with other organizations to put together educational events and activities that are more experiential and hands-on. Think Startup Weekend and workshops like Design Thinking, which AcclerateDFW organized with WeWork, that give entrepreneurs the chance to put what they’re learning into practice.
“Just providing resources like incubators, accelerators and things like that is not enough to really activate the entrepreneurs who are in need of help and assistance,” Johnson says. “You need to have some experiential opportunities.”
IDEA Works Ah yes, IDEA Works. Johnson says the mixed-industry business incubator will become a more robust, outcome-oriented program — that means a company won’t be expected to stay at IDEA Works for a long period of time. Instead, when entrepreneurs come in, they will be expected to set goals, keep track of Key Performance Indicators, and meet that goal within an allotted amount of time.
“The idea is to create greater throughput of entrepreneurs/companies to get them out into the ecosystem more quickly and welcome new ones as often as possible,” Johnson says.
AccelerateDFW is also teaming up with TCU, UNTHSC, WeWork, Common Desk, Ensemble Coworking, TECH Fort Worth, and the Business Assistance Center to launch a new event, Startup Crawl, on May 31. The event invites the public to travel to six locations — the Guinn complex, WeWork, UNTHSC, Common Desk, Ensemble Coworking and TCU — where startups will be showcasing their products and services.
More information about the event can be found at startupcrawlfw.org.
By: Shilo Urban