BE. – Building Entrepreneurs

January 10, 2020Brock New, Director of Business Development and Marketing for the Abilene Industrial Foundation

Entrepreneurship – the concept that Abilene was built upon. We live in a community that has a strong history of people making their own way in the business world, and many of our legacy employers are products of entrepreneurial ventures. BE in Abilene, Abilene’s entrepreneurial competition, is a program developed to help Build Entrepreneurs through competition.

BE in Abilene is led and funded by the Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA), supported by the Abilene Industrial Foundation (AIF), ACU’s Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy, and America’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Each of these partnering organizations has a strength, something they do exceedingly well. This annual competition leverages each respective organization’s strength for the benefit of the local entrepreneurs who choose to apply for the competition.

Each year the DCOA provides an award package of $250,000 for the competition; the AIF markets the program; and the Griggs Center handles the application process and judges the entries. All the while the SBDC works with each entrepreneur to formulate a business plan.

In preparation for each year’s competition, we reach out to previous winners and check in. This year, much of the conversation centered around the invaluable experience of competing.

Previous winners made two things clear:

1) There is significant value that comes not only from the monetary award, but also from the advice and critiques received through this experience.
2) For its competitors, the BE in Abilene competition serves as a catalyst for growth.

Here’s what the previous winners had to say:
2018 Winner: Jeff Bell of Pappy Slokum Brewing Company, “Our participation in the BE in Abilene competition gave us an internal look at how our company ran. The good things we were doing, and the bad ones. Regardless, whether we won or lost the competition, we gained perspective and tools that could help us be a better company.”
2018 Winner: Mike Matras of JTOPPS USA, “Being in Abilene, learning from these other people within the competition, and learning from other people that are involved in this program, those insights, should be just invaluable for our continued growth.”
2019 Winner: Lindsay Colvin of Unique Kid Beds, “Being a part of BE in Abilene, is and will always be, the most important choice we have ever made in our business. The knowledge and guidance that we received throughout the process is a priceless tool, which has greatly illuminated our path to this next stage in our growth, allowing us to do so with a fresh overall perspective. We are so grateful, blessed, and proud to be a part of this amazing program.”
2019 Winner: James Bridwell of Sockdolager Brewing Company, “While winning $100,000 is excellent, and for sure the most game-changing part of BE in Abilene, how much more intimately we got to know our business through working with the SBDC was the most meaningful part of the experience. What made it so meaningful was the BE in Abilene process showed us not that we were overestimating our abilities, but that we were underestimating them and empowered us to do more.”

To be eligible to compete, a business must not be older than five years as of Jan. 31, 2020. Visit the competition’s website, BEinAbilene.com for more details or call us at the Abilene Industrial Foundation; we are happy to discuss this with you and see if you qualify for the competition.

We are encourage all eligible companies to apply to this year’s competition! If you know of any entrepreneurs, please encourage them to contact us to see if they qualify.

If you would like more in-depth information on the BE in Abilene competition, join us next Thursday, January 23 from 6:00-7:00 pm at the SBDC. This is a great opportunity to learn about the BE in Abilene Competition and how it can benefit your entrepreneurial venture.


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