DCOA teams up with Texas Tech and ACU to help startups grow

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) - The Development Corporation of Abilene, the Texas Tech Small Business Development Center, and ACU's Springboard program have teamed up to help startups and other new small businesses get some extra help through a competition.

The BE in Abilene program brings small businesses, or ideas still being formed, together, so that the entrepreneurs get advice, planning help, and eventually, funding.

The DCOA Industrial Foundation's Shea Hopkins explains that, "Traditionally, the DCOA hasn't been able to fund brand new businesses that are just getting started. This program is an answer to that."

Each qualifying applicant will get special training at the Texas Tech Small Business Development Center to refine their pitch, and learn more about how to best grow their business. Because the program is funded with taxpayer dollars, it's important to properly screen and educate people who apply.

Judy Wilhelm works with many businesses like this at the SBDC, and says, "They will see their business in a really different light than before. We can actually see on paper what will work. If you stay within those parameters, you know it's going to work."

With that education, the entrepeneurs will be ready to present their pitch at ACU. Karen Heflin works with their Springboard program; she says, 'We're looking for the best ideas and we're wanting to promote entrepeneurship in this area. We want Abilene to be seen as a place that is entrepeneur and startup friendly.

One or more winners could walk away with thousands of dollars to help their business. But they aren't off the hook: winners will need to check in with all three groups over the next three years to make sure that their business is healthy.

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