Being an entrepreneur is believing that anything is possible. These bold individuals see opportunity where others only see impossibility. They take risks, they learn, they grow, and they dream. As communities across the nation posture themselves to promote the next big idea, Abilene has organized an innovative economic development initiative designed to help fund local entrepreneurs.
On May 15th, the BE In Abilene program awarded $200,000 in cash to two local entrepreneurs who participated in this competition. The program was organized by multiple local agencies including the Abilene Industrial Foundation, Abilene Christian University and the Small Business Development Center; each of which provided a unique resource to these individuals.
During this process, these participants went through several rounds of judging facilitated by the ACU Griggs center. They also met with the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) to utilize their business counseling services in order to compose a detailed business plan and 4-year proforma financial plan.
One of the two $100k award winners was Pappy Slokum Brewery Company, a local craft beer brewery. For the first few years the business solely focused on selling "tap" beer. As a winner of the competition, the company plans to use the funds to add a canning line, growing their business to include packaged retail sales.
The second $100k winner was JTops USA. The company manufactures custom Jeep tops and accessories. This metroplex transplant moved their full production to Abilene and plans on using their funds for marketing, inventory, research and development.
The two winners are required to complete a four-year compliance agreement with the Development Corporation of Abilene to ensure each business meets established post-award guidelines. Each winner will also receive ongoing support that includes regular meetings with the SBDC to ensure each business has the necessary tools and information to succeed.