New Fort Worth Entrepreneurship Center Ready for Grand Opening » Dallas Innovates
Fort Worth’s new nonprofit co-working space and entrepreneurship hub, Create FW, opened its doors this summer after early tours in July. Now, after three months of operation, it will celebrate its official grand opening on November 8.
Create FW, which opened in the Near Southside in August with Techstars as its first tenant, aims to provide opportunities for entrepreneurs and startups to connect, collaborate and grow. The space — sponsored by Meta — is designed to be a supportive environment for entrepreneurs to meet, find resources, and receive mentoring and coaching from seasoned founders and business leaders.
Create FW is run by the Dallas-based nonprofit DEC Network. The Fort Worth Local Development Corporation provided a $500,000 investment to help establish the center.
Fort Worth Mayor Matty Parker says the city is excited to build investment in the city’s entrepreneurial community by supporting the opening of the new space in the Near Southside.
“For Fort Worth to be successful, it is essential for our entrepreneurs to be successful, and that starts with providing them with the resources they need to build thriving businesses,” she said in a statement.
On a pre-opening tour, community coordinator Carolyn McKnight said the main goal of the space is to make entrepreneurship accessible. “We want to make sure everyone feels welcome,” she said.
Create FW Hotel offers open areas for co-working and meetings in its modern, light-filled building. With nearly 6,800 square feet of newly renovated space, membership options range from casual entry to dedicated offices and suites.
The coworking space had signed up more than 100 founding members before opening, according to McKnight.
Create FW intends to use its membership revenue to fund free workshops and events. “And resources for entrepreneurs, especially those from underserved communities,” McKnight said. It also plans to partner with local universities like TCU to engage students and recent graduates.
Create FW’s leaders credit the hype to Create FW’s mission and its location in a thriving neighborhood. The team includes Director of Events and Operations Kendall Castillo and Director of Marketing and Communications Tyler Riddle.
The area near Southside has seen significant growth in recent years, with new corporate offices, apartments and local businesses moving in. Create FW hopes to be a connector and catalyst in this thriving creative community, McKnight said.
Supporting entrepreneurs at all stages
Create FW aims to support entrepreneurs at all stages of the startup journey, especially women and people of color.
Programming aims to support entrepreneurs holistically, from ideation to implementation and growth. Resources such as mentoring, training, and access to finance aim to democratize entrepreneurship.
“We know that many in surrounding communities have untapped potential and lack access to it,” McKnight said. “Create FW will meet entrepreneurs where they are and give them the help they need.”
The organization plans to offer pre-accelerators to entrepreneurs and small business owners at the idea or pre-revenue stage, helping them understand the market potential and create a strong foundation. Their accelerators will help post-revenue founders who want to scale operations and build strong businesses for future capital.
Create FW will also host competitions where accelerator participants can pitch their ideas and compete for prizes worth more than $1,500. Create FW said it is partnering with the North Texas Angel Network so participants who complete early-stage programs and accelerators can access potential capital investments while pitching to investors.
The organization also highlighted mentorship opportunities for entrepreneurs who receive “invaluable advice and guidance.”
Most of the resources for creating a striker, such as guidance, events and content, are free, the organization said.
Open to work
The former headquarters of advertising agency Pavlov has been reimagined as Create FW. The brand-new space offers co-working space and flexible options such as virtual membership and hot desking (using workspaces as needed or on a rotating basis). Coworking space memberships range from $100 to $1,800.
McKnight wants people to “make connections freely.” The design reflects this ethos, with co-working spaces and configurable lounge areas. A patio with a view provides informal areas for networking events and meetings.
Open co-working areas include seating for community building, as well as dedicated makerspace. This functional workspace provides equipment for prototyping, crafts, and other construction projects that entrepreneurs may lack in a typical home or private office.
Create FW has flexible “efficient offices” available for rent on a monthly basis, providing affordable workspace for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote employees.
The large, enclosed phone booth in the open floor plan can be used for impromptu meetings, whether in-person or virtual, McKnight said.
Larger spaces upstairs can also be rented by partner organizations on a temporary basis. For example, McKnight said the TechStars startup accelerator program will operate out of Create FW’s offices from September through December.
Vari helped create the Techstar space through the Vari Giving program, the company said.
The creative design has an open feel with two stairs connecting the floors. Local artists will display their work throughout the centre, showcasing community talent and providing members with opportunities to sell their work.
“We designed Create FW to be a funky, unconventional office environment,” McKnight said. “Our goal is to help Fort Worth entrepreneurs and innovators thrive.”
Area of a complete circle
Create FW is housed in a unique building that was originally intended to house a co-working space called Criterion Coworking.
As McKnight explains, this space was designed around 2019 to be a hub for startups and innovators. But the plans were halted before completion. Coincidentally, Create FW was looking for a new home in the same time frame. Create FW now shares the building with Roots Coffeehouse, giving the nonprofit an ideal location.
When Create FW leaders first toured the unfinished building, its original purpose resonated, McKnight says. (The original creators said the new entrepreneurship center “perfectly fulfills their vision,” she adds.)
The space appears to have been specifically designed to support Fort Worth entrepreneurs and startups.
Fort Worth Center
With its grand opening yet to come, Create FW has already begun to establish itself as a hive of events, programs and resources aimed at empowering all Fort Worth entrepreneurs through events such as:
- The Create Fort Worth Community Committee, which held its first meeting in the new space. The group aims to ensure Create FW achieves its mission of inclusive entrepreneurship.
- TCU’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which hosted the Horned Frog Investment Network’s fall 2023 kickoff event at Create FW. This event allowed TCU students to showcase their business ideas.
- Speakers at Fort Worth Forward, which included leaders such as Jose Alfaro of CO.STARTERS, Bill Chen of the DEC Network, and Kara Waddell of Child Care Associates.
- Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator, which ran at Create FW for its inaugural mentoring of the second-year cohort. The 3-month program supports physical health startups looking to scale.
Grand opening details
Create FW’s grand opening will take place from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on November 8 at 400 Bryan Ave., Fort Worth, and will include an official ribbon cutting by Mayor Parker. Enjoy live music, tour the facility, meet other entrepreneurs, and receive promotions and discounts available only during the grand opening.
The event is free and open to the public. Learn more and register here.
Quincy Preston contributed to this report.
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