Fort Worth Business Plan Competition
The Fort Worth Business Plan Competition is a celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit that makes Fort Worth so unique. The city was originally settled by wildcatters, pioneers and titans of industry - mavericks whose vision, innovation, and grit echoed through the generations to build and shape what is now one of the fastest growing cities in the country.
Though years have passed since Fort Worth was truly "Where the West Begins", today's entrepreneurs and small business owners still embody the same spirit - a spirit that is called to forge new frontiers, blaze new trails, and chase dreams as boundless as the Texas horizon.
Fort Worth's vibrant community of entrepreneurs is vital to making the area a hub for creative businesses, and the Business Plan Competition exists to set those entrepreneurs up for success. By the end of the competition, participants will have the tools, the strategy, and the mindset to grow their seed of an idea into a flourishing business. It also anchors their roots in a passionate, supportive community of like-minded individuals, mentors, and movers-and-shakers, all well-versed in the area's business ecosystem and all committed to helping these small businesses grow to their fullest potential.
Applications for 2024 closed at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024.
Applicants for the Fort Worth Business Plan Competition must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Be an established business between 2-5 years old.
- Have an annual revenue of less than $500,000.
- Have a DBA and business address located within Fort Worth's city limits.
Business owners will be asked to verify their eligibility by submitting their DBA or other legal business documentation as part of the application process. Failure to produce this documentation makes you ineligible for the competition.
Additional eligibility guidelines
- Previous competitors may participate in the Fort Worth Business Plan Competition a maximum of two times.
- Past winners of the competition (first, second and third place prize winners) may not apply.
- City of Fort Worth employees may not apply. If an applicant accepts a position at the City of Fort Worth at any point during the competition, they forego any prize money.
- Sunday, Jan. 7: Applications close at 11:59 p.m.
- (Week of January 22): Top 20 announced
- Thursday, Feb. 1: Business Training, Session 1
- Thursday, Feb. 8: Business Training, Session 2
- Thursday, Feb. 15: Business Training, Session 3
- Thursday, Feb. 22: Business Training, Session 4
- Monday, Feb. 26-Friday, March 8: Develop business plans and receive coaching from partners.
- Friday, March 8: Final business plans due at 11:59 p.m.
- (Week of April 8): Top 8 announced.
- Thursday, May 9: Business Plan Competition Finale/Pitch Night at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
2024 Prize Packages
The 2024 Fort Worth Business Plan Competition will offer strictly cash prizes to its top three finalists.
- First prize winner: $10,000 in cash
- Second prize winner: $6,000 in cash
- Third prize winner: $4,000 in cash
Additionally, the "Perfect Pitch" Prize will allow the audience at the Finale to vote on their favorite pitch – and the winner will receive a $500 credit from Printed Threads to use towards shirts, uniforms or other products for their business.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: I want to compete but can’t attend all the sessions. Can I send my business partner in my place for any of them?
A: Attendance at all classes is strongly encouraged, as each class will cover a major component of your final business plan. Participants are allowed a total of two absences before defaulting the competition. If a business owner must be absent from class, they will need to alert their class administrator beforehand, and can arrange for a business partner to attend on their behalf.
Q: If my business is not currently operating in Fort Worth, can I still participate?
A: No. You must have an established business located within the Fort Worth city limits.
Q: What documentation is required to support my eligibility?
A: If you are chosen as one of the 20 participants to proceed through the competition, you will need to bring a copy of your DBA or other documentation confirming your legal entity (Assumed name, corporation documents, etc.)
Note: You need to have filed this form a minimum of six months prior to the competition. You may also be asked to provide of last year’s tax return (first page only) or a bank statement (blot out account number) to confirm that you are currently doing business.
- Lil Pop Gourmet Popcorn, a family-owned business specializing in homemade gourmet popcorn while promoting entrepreneurship.
- Manifest Your Purpose, a luxury stationary and office accessories company that celebrates the beauty and multidimensionality of Black women.
- Knarly Vans, a company that designs and manufactures components to help owners maximize the use of their passenger vans.
- Salted Pages, a small marketing business that specializes in messaging for creative entrepreneurs, with the goal of telling stories and changing lives.
- Ten Four Films LLC, a digital agency that helps customers grow their business through new ideas and messaging.
- Unbent Inc., a virtual-reality/AI hiring platform that assesses performance bias in simulated environments to identify best job matches in an equitable way.
On hiatus due to COVID-19 pandemic.
- Kraken Motorsports, an automotive performance shop that bridges the gap between the car you drive and the car of your dreams, was the grand prize winner of the 2019 Fort Worth Business Plan Competition. During their seven-minute pitch to the judges, the husband-and-wife team of Shawn and Alicia Rizzo discussed the culture of their business, and the fact that Kraken Motorsports isn't just an auto shop — they're a community. Shawn and Alicia received the grand prize of $10,000 donated by Frost Bank, in addition to a variety of co-working access, professional development coaching, marketing opportunities and more from other sponsors. The total value of the grand prize package was $56,782.
- Neuro Rehab VR, a virtual reality healthcare startup aimed at building virtual/augmented reality therapy exercises for patients with neurological disorders, won second place and received $5,000 in cash from Frost Bank, and a variety of in-kind services that brought her total prize package $31,837. During her pitch, Veena Somareddy spoke about Neuro Rehab VR's commitment to bringing down the cost of therapy, making it more efficient, and helping Neuro Rehab VR's patients get back to living a healthy, independent life.
- Michelle Crim of Dynamic Development Strategies, LLC, won third place, receiving $3,000 cash and in-kind services that brought her prize package total to $11,997. Dynamic Development Strategies, LLC, is an organization that provides interim leadership and strategic fundraising services to nonprofits.
- Locavore, an all-inclusive resource for foodie entrepreneurs looking to affordably scale up their business, won the 2018 Fort Worth Business Plan Competition. Co-owners Cortney Gumbleton and Carlo Capua also offer a commercial kitchen and an event venue for rent.
- Second prize went to Aspen Tyke Traveler, owned by Saryina and Glen Oliver, which develops innovative, supportive bag and packing systems that help prepare new parents for on-the-go adventures with young children.
- The third place recipient was Cache, a mobile app that allows consumers direct access to purchase wholesale tax foreclosure properties from anywhere in the world, owned by Mateson Gutierrez.
- Myconi Technologies won the 2017 Fort Worth Business Plan Competition. Myconi Technologies' business plan centered around developing a wireless monitoring device that can be placed inside a box of products or attached to a pallet or container to monitor and report environmental conditions (such as temperature, humidity, pressure, light and harsh handling) throughout the supply chain process, making it especially relevant to pharmaceutical and food delivery systems. Barry McCleland is the chief executive officer of Myconi Technologies and Eugene Van Beljon is chief technology officer.
- Second place finisher Enos, founded by Efrain Villa, designs, manufactures and sells timepieces that have a stainless steel construction, Japanese automatic movement and handmade Italian bands.
- Third place finisher Jollitot, founded by Sean Usman, creates innovative products for babies, including a three-in-one swing, rocker and bouncer for infants.
- Creative Minds Solutions won the 2016 Fort Worth Business Plan Competition. Dr. Richard Navarro is the President and Chief Innovation Officer of the company, which designs and manufactures hydro-electric turbines to generate electricity from water, such as lakes and oceans.
- Second-place finisher Doc's Street Grill, owned by Steve Alade, offers Caribbean street food as a mobile food concessionaire with plans for four brick-and-mortar restaurants.
- Third place went to Benefit Acupuncture, founded by Dr. Hilary Lai, whose Colleyville company delivers solutions for illnesses ranging from pain, allergies, chronic illness, stroke rehabilitation and infertility.
- ZooMeez Inc., a music/video startup geared toward providing exercise for young children and fighting obesity, won the fifth annual Fort Worth Business Plan Competition. Kenn Scott, a marketing consultant, is the founder of ZooMeez. His DVDs, CDs, downloads and videos are geared toward pre-K and first graders, a market of 12 million with 3-to-4 million new kids into the demographic each year.
- Alchemy Pops, presented by Carolyn Phillips, finished second. Her company produces frozen mini popsicles in a variety of unique seasonal flavors made from Texas-only growers.
- Third place went to Kingdem Consulting & Tax Preparation Services, owned by Kenya Bryant. Her company provides bookkeeping and tax preparation services.
- Rich Aviation Services / Fort Worth Flight Center won the 2014 Fort Worth Business Plan Competition held at Texas Christian University. The victory was worth $6,000 in cash and approximately $34,000 in training, counseling and advertising. Rich Aviation Services and Fort Worth Flight Center are pilot training facilities that provide quality, yet affordable flight training to students within Texas and outlying states. Through top-of-the-line equipment and highly qualified FAA-certified instructors, the companies fulfill lifetime goals for a range of students from airplane enthusiasts, to those seeking a profession in aviation.
- Second place, worth approximately $20,000 in cash and business services, was awarded to Boyd Construction Services LLC.
- Janz Hair & Fashion Jewelry Galley finished third, winning cash and prizes worth $16,000.
- WellCare Dimensions Inc. was the first place winner for 2013, followed by Ampcare LLC in second place; and Signature Image in third place. The winning lineup was announced after finalist presentations Oct. 24th at the Dee J. Kelly alumni and Visitor's Center at TCU. WellCare and Ampcare are focused on the healthcare industry, and Signature Image is a fine art print studio, all based in Fort Worth.
- Technology Team was the first place winner for 2013. Technology Team is an industry expert in relocating mission-critical equipment, having successfully relocated over $500 million dollars of technology equipment for Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.
- Ikerd Consulting was the first prize winner in the competition's inaugural year, followed by Positive Influences, in second place; and Cleves Research in third place. The winners were announced after finalist presentations at the Dee J. Kelly alumni and Visitor's Center at TCU.