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This April marks my five-year anniversary writing the Jobs column. When I took it over five years ago, articles for the column were purchased from a service that provided information on employment trends across the country. My editor wanted a more local feel, so I started writing about what was going on in terms of DFW-area employment. I’ve had a blast interviewing the wonderful people across all industries that make the Fort Worth area one of the best places to live and work. To all my readers, I thank you wholeheartedly for spending time with me each week checking in on workplace trends, employment innovations in the various DFW industries, and taking to heart the ideas that have helped us become better workers. I’ve heard from many of you over the last five years that the information provided here has been meaningful and made a difference in your work lives. I hope you feel the same about the next five years and beyond.

And now, on to this week’s nitty-gritty.

A large part of this column so far has been about how each and every one of us can evolve as entrepreneurs. We can all be entrepreneurs at work - whether we’re actually starting a business or we’re a line cook, or an administrative assistant, or a nurse, or whatever. We can own our jobs. We can keep evolving. We can keep offering input to our bosses and colleagues on how to make our jobs better, how to make our teams better, and how to make our organizations better. Because, essentially, that’s what entrepreneurs do. They find something that isn’t working quite right and they want to make it better. And that’s why we’re going to focus our attention on how to become better entrepreneurs this month.

The Future of Work

I truly believe that not only will we need to think like entrepreneurs at work from now on, but our work will also continue to need our full attention as we move forward. While we’ve created apps, platforms, and systems to replace many work functions, we cannot run on autopilot ourselves. We must be more creative, we must continue to innovate at our jobs. We cannot afford to sit idly by and be unhappy at work. We spend too much time there for that travesty to occur. If you don’t like your situation, change it. I know it’s scary. I know it’s hard. I recently started a new career as a ninth grade geography teacher. Eight months in and I still feel completely like a fish out of water at times. But I also knew it was time for a change. It was time to take a risk. Being a teacher was something that I always wanted to try, something that I felt I’d be good at. But taking that job would bring changes to our family life. My wife and I had a long talk about it and looked at this career change from all perspectives: mentally, emotionally, financially, even spiritually. In the end, it was the right move to make and no better time to make it. I was taking a chance with this career change, but I was also betting on myself that I’d be successful. And when it comes to our work, betting on ourselves should always be the right move. But that doesn’t mean we have to go it alone.

There are many organizations in Fort Worth that can help us improve our work lives. I’ve covered the United Way, which hosts their annual KERNEL event that supports social entrepreneurs to better our community. I’ve devoted lots of articles to Fort Worth SCORE, and for good reason. Their seasoned mentors volunteer countless hours to help those of us that are taking that leap of faith and starting businesses be successful (If you are even remotely thinking about starting a business, I implore you to visit their website at https://fortworth.score.org/ and schedule a meeting with a SCORE mentor. It’s a FREE SERVICE! and you’ll be so happy you did.)

A relatively new organization on the scene is Rising Tide Initiative (RTI). “RTI began as a small discussion between community leaders and entrepreneurs,” said Executive Director Nathan Ryall. “Entrepreneurship is in the DNA of Fort Worth; it’s where the West begins. Not surprisingly, the West and entrepreneurship have a lot in common. Economic transformation and growth are driven by innovation and entrepreneurship. Positioning Tarrant County as the innovation hub for the Southwest, which includes manufacturing, medical, defense, rail, transportation, and aviation, is central to the vitality and strength of our community. Technological innovations with each of these key areas help create a thriving community where individuals not only want to live and play but to work and grow.”

Growth, both internally as an organization and externally as a catalyst to business development, is the key to RTI’s vision over the next decade. “In five years, we would like to see a stronger, more supportive ecosystem. That includes investors that want to invest and support local companies. For the investments to be palatable, the community needs to be strong. We need to build the infrastructure across the whole city in place and have the entrepreneurs busy creating. In ten years, we see Fort Worth as a destination for people who want to build meaningful businesses. They travel to Fort Worth because they know and have witnessed many notable, successful companies founded in the city. Where the “something special” in Fort Worth comes to life is in the results we all produce over the next ten years,” Ryall said.

But perhaps the most important thing that Ryall said during our interview was that RTI was all-inclusive. “Anyone can join RTI,” said Ryall. “We are matching needs and resources in every industry from the solopreneur to the major industry leaders in North Texas. Entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of our nation’s economy. Innovation through collaboration raises all boats.”

You can connect with RTI members every month with events aimed at building relationships between community assets and entrepreneurs and also at their weekly happy hours every Thursday at 5:30pm at HG Sply Co. For more information on RTI, visit http://risingtideinitiative.com/ or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/risingtideinitiative/.

Fort Worth is Where the West Begins

The Fort Worth Stockyards embody the Western heritage of the area. It's an incredible part of the city, and in 1917 the Stockyards were the most important horse and mule market in the world. Now, thousands of cattle sell by satellite. 

The rich heritage and perception over hundreds of years sometimes can prevent a full understanding of what the area has to offer. Some are unable to reconcile this image with one of innovation and opportunity. The community is connected, with over 820,000 estimated Facebook users. With a population of 854,113 based on the 2016 census: that's 96% of the city. 

Multiple rich layers of culture and creativity offer attractive opportunities for the business community. And, some deserve thoughtful consideration. Facebook chose Fort Worth for a 2.5 million square feet data center that will become one of the largest in the world. A recent 2.7 billion dollar acquisition of a Fort Worth founded startup, ZS Pharma. Or, the new 300-acre American Airlines campus that's currently under construction. 

The Rising Tide Initiative is a non-profit that has been working with the community to empower entrepreneurs. There’s diverse thought about the approach that will be taken to enable a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem. 

What is your perspective on the state of the Fort Worth entrepreneurial ecosystem?

“Overall, my general thought is that it's the byproduct of a lot of smart people working in a lot of smart jobs and having ideas they are pursuing. Contrast that to Austin, where startups are a huge part of the economy. I get the impression that Fort Worth is still focused on traditional businesses, which isn't bad at all - just different.”
Chip Hanna, Dando Advisors 

Which ecosystem do you think exemplifies the closest to what you would like to see in our local ecosystem?

"About five years ago Kansas City declared itself "America's Most Entrepreneurial City" and has been hustling to live up to that claim ever since. Their community is always doing something organic and innovative to build their community. After Google Fiber arrived in 2011, they built an entire "startup village" around the first neighborhood to get the fastest internet in the world. They recently broke the world record for the largest number of people co-working in the same place. I think FW could learn a great deal from the way KC embraces, nurtures and champions its startups.”
Cameron Cushman, Previously Senior Advisor to Kaufmann Foundation

The characteristics of the region create an opportunity for entrepreneurs and businesses.

Median Age Advantage

It's interesting to note; Fort Worth is getting younger. That's enticing from an entrepreneurial perspective. Dallas is aware of the advantages of attracting Millennials. In fact, this is one of the primary goals for "Say Yes to Dallas." Fort Worth should be taking advantage of this strength. It creates the possibility that people within our community who already desire STEM careers will contribute reciprocally. Young entrepreneurs have the highest intentions to start a business, with 30.5% saying they intend to start one.

Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

The chamber is re-imagining how they can offer support to the small business and entrepreneurial community. The new 5-year strategy positions Fort Worth as an international city. In addition to providing entrepreneurial support as one of the five pillars of the strategy. In the next four years targeting to achieve top 20 status in national entrepreneur rankings in at least one category.

UNT Health Science Center

UNT Health Science Center and TECH Fort Worth have worked closely together to provide resources and guidance to biotechnology ventures through an Acceleration Lab, including access to laboratory space, administrative support, and research expertise. Companies benefitting from these resources include ZS Pharma and Encore Vision, both Fort Worth start-ups acquired by Big Pharma.

UNT Health Science Center has also established a drug safety project with Texas Health Resources, launched the nation’s largest study of cognitive disease in Mexican-Americans and worked with Texas Christian University to open a new medical school that could create hundreds of new residency slots in North Texas. A new research building is scheduled for completion next year that will house the MD school, as well as UNTHSC’s pharmacy college and eye research institute.

UTA Research Center

UTA is advancing towards a Tier 1 status, graduating more than 200 PH.Ds and increasing research expenditures by nearly 9 percent. UTA has developed a strong innovation pipeline, with more than 100 patents issued over the last five years and more than 25 technologies licensed to outside companies. Some 60 faculty and students are currently working on start-ups and more than 20 start-up companies are developing around UTA.

“UTA is committed to developing an environment and culture that eliminates obstacles to innovation and entrepreneurship so that results of research and creative activity can be moved from our studios and laboratories into the economy for the benefit of society,” UTA President Vistasp Karbhari said. 

Timely Initiative

The initiative has been thriving after the launch at the Fort Worth Science and History Museum. The team has spent the year touring and interacting with various organizations contributing to the ecosystem. It has heightened our excitement about the opportunity that the area has to start and sustain new entrepreneurs. We have a passion for adding value to the local community in the form of new, successful businesses. Rising Tide focuses on people, culture, and software that fill in the gaps of the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem. 

To increase the odds of success, we're collaborating too close the gaps that exist between support organizations. Entrepreneurs should be guided to resources that best serve their needs. If we can learn to serve the needs of the builders, we will all have a little more opportunity.

People: Upcoming Event

For people, check-out out the happy hour hosted by Catalyst Partners every Thursday 5 PM at HG Sply Co. Check our Facebook for details on our next big event in November for collaborating with the areas best and brightest. We’re encouraging a culture of collaboration that is friendly and focused.

Software: Upcoming Launch

We’re excited to announce that a new interactive experience will available for free to serve the needs of the community. In the next 30 days, entrepreneurs and organizations will start connecting in a new way.

IT STARTED WITH ONE DISCUSSION, GREW TO HUNDREDS AND NOW HAS REACHED THOUSANDS NATIONWIDE.

Visit our website and like us on Facebook.

Catalyst and Rising Tide Initiative

Fort Worth, Texas:

In the Dallas / Forth Worth area: there is a stellar opportunity for innovation.

It’s encouraging to see key stakeholders come together to share a common cause:

Enhance the Fort Worth and Tarrant County Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology community through the introduction of a vibrant, collaborative technology ecosystem.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are not solely for the millennial. In fact, businesses must continually adapt to succeed long-term. We forget that most things around us were created by someone brave enough to build.

The Rising Tide Initiative was designed to create a fierce outcome-oriented approach to adding value within the innovation ecosystem. The results of a collaborative community will represent fresh value for each stakeholder.

It starts with awareness, and the lifting of silos.

  • Texas is the largest Technology Exporting State in the Nation (http://bit.ly/2fIxsKM)
  • 60.4% of Texas High school students want to pursue STEM related fields in their future (http://bit.ly/2fhz7qk)
  • It’s expected that the population of Texas will double by 2050 (http://bit.ly/2fe9bsq)
  • In 2016, According to the CompTIA cyberstates report Texas ranks no. 2 in the United States for tech industry (http://bit.ly/2g8V7om)
  • Collaborative communities encourage people to continually apply their unique talents to group projects—and to become motivated by a collective mission, not just personal gain or the intrinsic pleasures of autonomous creativity (http://bit.ly/2gb4emz)

Fort Worth and Tarrant County can maximize the opportunity:

  • Facebook to Triple Size of Fort Worth Data Center, and it could surpass 1 billion (http://bit.ly/2fIBcfw)
  • American Airlines’ New Tech to Speed Up Security Lines (http://bit.ly/2gsZKdH)
  • 5 Markets Poised to be the next silicon valley for real estate (http://bit.ly/2g7Fzhe)
  • The trend changed in the early 2000s, and Texas has been a net importer of Bay Area households ever since. Between 2009 and 2012, as the recession was winding down and the second tech boom was revving up, the region lost about 1,430 households to Texas, and nearly $390 million in taxable income (http://bit.ly/2eUFVM5)

Visit the Website or Facebook for local activity.

Catalyst Partners Becomes a Member of Hubspot For Startups

Fort Worth, Texas: Today, Catalyst.Partners announced that it has joined HubSpot for Startups. HubSpot, a leading inbound marketing and sales platform, works hand-in-hand with Accelerators and their startups to grow their businesses through inbound software, services, and support.

Of the announcement, HubSpot Account Manager Jessica King said, “We are thrilled to welcome Catalyst.Partners to HubSpot for Startups. As a as a certified Accelerator, they've added a valuable tool to their arsenal, and can now help their startups grow by purchasing HubSpot's award-winning marketing and sales software at a mere fraction of its regular cost.”

Over the past year, Catalyst.Partners has grown its business by providing startups with the tools they need to grow theirs.

Notable milestones and achievements include:

  • Structured and negotiated equity partnership agreements for early-stage businesses
  • Secured enterprise and large-scale client contracts for portfolio companies
  • Ongoing business development, strategy for portfolio companies
  • Implemented Lean Start-Up methodology to facilitate growth objectives

About Catalyst.Partners

Catalyst has a successful track record of rapidly meeting or exceeding our portfolio company's internal growth objectives. Through equity partnership and leadership, companies are infused with meaningful tools to excel well beyond their current capabilities. We transition early stage companies from a product/service focus to a scaled organization.

About HubSpot

HubSpot is the world’s leading inbound marketing and sales platform, with over 15,500 customers in 90 countries using HubSpot’s software, services, and support to transform the way they attract, engage, and delight customers. HubSpot’s inbound marketing software includes social media publishing and monitoring, blogging, SEO, website content management, email marketing, marketing automation, and reporting and analytics, all in one integrated platform. HubSpot is headquartered in Cambridge, MA with offices in Dublin, Ireland, and Sydney, Australia.  Learn more at www.hubspot.com

About HubSpot for Startups

HubSpot for Startups is a program engineered to help select seed-stage startups to grow their business using inbound marketing in a way that is affordable and easy, providing them with HubSpot's award-winning marketing and sales software at a steep discount.