Abilene’s innovative economic development initiative to help fund local entrepreneurs starts 2nd year
Abilene, Texas – The Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA) is funding the BE in Abilene program for a second year. The program is a collaboration of several organizations all working together to “Build Entrepreneurs in Abilene.” The BE in Abilene program awarded a total of $200,000 in cash last year for two local entrepreneurs and is now taking applications for this year’s competition.
These organizations include the Abilene Industrial Foundation (AIF), Abilene Christian University (ACU), and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC); each of which provide a unique resource to these aspiring individuals. Led by the DCOA, the program’s goal is designed to carry out a primary objective of the city’s economic development strategic plan of implementing an innovation ecosystem.
This objective is based on a need to place greater emphasis on a “homegrown approach” for promoting job creation and business investment at the local level, thereby enhancing income opportunities and quality of life for Abilene residents.
In this process, the Abilene Industrial Foundation works to focus the program's goals with an eye to local investment and job creation. As with any project funded by the DCOA, the AIF works with prospective candidates to establish their business in Abilene and demonstrate their superior capacity to contribute to the local economy.
ACU's Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy will utilize their center's Springboard judging competition as a platform for candidates to compete against one another for award monies. In its 11 year history, Springboard has helped many aspiring entrepreneurs across the region and serves to connect, train, encourage and highlight the region's startups.
During this process, participants that advance to the second round of judging will meet with the SBDC to utilize their business counseling services in order to compose a detailed business plan and financial proforma. Once complete, businesses will enter the final judging stage to determine award winners.
Participants that are awarded dollars will be required to complete a compliance agreement with the DCOA to ensure each business meets established post award guidelines and support. This support includes regular meetings with the SBDC to ensure each business has the necessary tools and information to succeed.
Interested individuals can learn more about the program and apply online at www.BEinAbilene.com. The Abilene Industrial Foundation is hosting a public information meeting Thursday, January 10th, at 6:00pm in the offices of the Small Business Development Center located at 749 Gateway St, Building C, just off Loop 322 in west Abilene for those interested in learning more about the program. Deadline for applications is January 31 at 11:59pm.