Accelerator and EO in the Dallas Morning News

New program helps entrepreneurs reach $1 million revenue mark

By SHERYL JEAN

Drew Jones has watched revenue triple each year since he started his custom tailored menswear business in 2008.

He plans to expand Dallas-based D. Jones Tailored Collection to Houston next year and wants to hone his hiring and time management skills.

Jones is one of about 20 North Texas entrepreneurs who have joined a program launched this month by the Dallas chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization to help move their company to the next level and build their revenue to $1 million or more. EO members — 120 locally and more than 8,000 globally — must be founders or majority owners of companies with revenue of $1 million to $500 million.

Jeremy Brandt, head of the Accelerator program in Dallas, said he noticed a gap in the business community. A lot of support exists for startups and CEOs at large companies, but there’s a lack of educational programs for companies in between — those that may be a few years old with a small number of employees, he said.

“Entrepreneurs are often overwhelmed with working in the business and don’t have a lot of time to step back and think strategically as to the next step — and they often sputter,” Brandt said. “The failure rate is very high at this level.”

Entrepreneurs must generate at least $250,000 in annual revenue to qualify for the yearlong Accelerator program, which costs $1,500.

Up to 30 people can join.

Sunny Morris, who founded Core24 Inc. in Dallas in 2009, hopes the Accelerator program helps boost her revenue to $1 million within the next year.

Core24 provides vetted business resources to executives, similar to an Angie’s List for business. It posted revenue of $235,000 last year and expects just over $400,000 this year, Morris said.

“The big benefit for me is to be in a room full of other entrepreneurs who are experiencing the same problems that I am that until this program I thought are unique to me,” she said. “It’s that camaraderie that I’m not alone.”

The Accelerator program focuses on business best practices, such as human resources, financing and strategy. It offers all-day quarterly seminars, smaller group monthly meetings and mentors. Entrepreneurs can stay in the program up to three years.

“It’s just not about accelerating your financials, but fine-tuning your business practices to make sure everything is running smoothly,” said founder Amy Power, whose Power Public Relations has grown every year since she started it in 1999. “It’s really making me stop and look at what we’re doing well and what we can improve.”

Since EO began the program four years ago, 104 entrepreneurs have reached the $1 million revenue mark within 18 months on average, Brandt said. Nationally, more than 470 entrepreneurs are enrolled in the program.

“It’s interesting to see all the different companies in the Accelerator program, yet we all have that entrepreneurial drive,” Jones said. “I don’t want to be in a room full of people who aren’t taking their company growth seriously.”

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Accelerating Entrepreneurial Success – Fort Worth Business Press

New program set to accelerate entrepreneurial success

By Rob Robertson

North Texans looking for an opportunity to grow their businesses may have an unprecedented opportunity soon as a local entrepreneurs group prepares to launch a new program designed to take new them to the next level.

This month the Dallas chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, a global network of more than 8,000 business owners in 40 countries, will launch its Accelerator Program – a curriculum of events and educational materials developed to accelerate the success of early-stage entrepreneurs committed to building scalable businesses.

The program supports those who wish to build their companies through a series of quarterly, high-impact learning events to help develop and enhance their skills in strategy, human resources, finance, sales and 
marketing.

EO started the Accelerator Program about four years ago after a number of EO members got to thinking about how they could assist entrepreneurs while helping the organization fulfill its mission, said Jeremy Brandt, 33, a past president of the EO Dallas chapter who is overseeing the Accelerator Program launch in this market.

The members wanted to find a way to bring a lot of the organizational knowledge of the EO member companies to these early-stage companies, with the ultimate goal of accelerating their growth to over $1 million in revenue.

“We saw that there are a lot of companies out there making less than $1 million in revenue that are good companies with good ideas, but they just lack some of the best practices and business foundational principles to take their company to the next level,” he said.

The Dallas EO chapter had a soft launch for its Accelerator Program in May and has already signed up 14 qualifying candidates. That’s about half the size they want the initial class to be.

To qualify for the Accelerator Program, participants must be the owner or founder of an operating business with gross annual revenues between $250,000 and $1 million.

The curriculum has already received a lucrative endorsement: the Dallas Accelerator Program has been chosen as an initial site for a partnership between EO and the Startup America Partnership.

Founded by the Kauffman and Case Foundations and chaired by AOL co-founder Steve Case, Startup America was launched at the White House this year in response to President Obama’s call to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. The effort represents an alliance of major corporations, funders, service providers, mentors and advisors working to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of high-growth enterprises in the United States.

Fort Worth getting own EO chapter
EO is a nonprofit organization with chapters and members all over the world whose mission is to inspire leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow. The organization has chapters in Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio. At about 130 members, the Dallas chapter is one of the largest.

Brandt said the Dallas-Fort Worth market is one of the best in the country for entrepreneurs – so much so that a new Fort Worth-only chapter is in the works and will probably be started in the next 12 months.

“The Dallas chapter is already very strong, but Fort Worth has a little bit of a different entrepreneurial culture than Dallas does, so this will reflect that,” he said. “We’ll have two really strong chapters here in North Texas when it’s all said and done.”

The Fort Worth chapter will get organized after the Accelerator Program in Dallas is launched, Brandt said, and will likely have its own Accelerator Program to match.

John Cornelsen is the founding partner of Fort Worth-based Evolving Texas, a civil engineering and design services firm and one of the small businesses that has already been enrolled in the Accelerator Program.

“I was really excited when we launched the accelerator chapter here in DFW,” said Cornelsen, an EO member who has been involved with the organization for years. “When you think about it, this is just a critical time to be running a small business and trying to navigate some pretty treacherous economic waters.

“A lot of time you may feel like you’re on your own, but with an organization like EO and the Accelerator, you’re able to get into a room with several other company owners who think like you and take risks like you do and face the same challenges,” he said. “I think that’s tremendously helpful to have that kind of a resource.”

“It is amazing how many successful entrepreneurs operate entirely in a silo,” Brandt said. “A lot of entrepreneurs are so focused on their business and on staying positive. They create a silo where they can’t share what they’re really feeling and what it’s really like with all of the ups and downs.”

He added, “They don’t have a peer group to associate with that understands the journey they’re on. This program can provide them with those connections and that peer-to-peer learning.”

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Startup America partners with Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Accelerator Program

The Dallas Accelerator Program has been chosen as an initial site for the partnership between Startup America and Entrepreneurs’ Organization!

The Accelerator Program will provide mentorship and educational programs to participants in Startup America.

The Startup America Partnership is an organization working to help young companies grow in order to create jobs in America.  Young companies can now register to become verified Startup America Firms and gain access to resources from more than twenty five leading companies. Fourteen new partners have added another $330 million of private-sector commitments offered by the Partnership.


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Accelerator in the Dallas Business Journal

DJB Mentions Accelerator ProgramThe DFW Accelerator Program was mentioned recently by Renee Rouleau in her interview with the Dallas Business Journal!

She was being honored for the Women in Business awards and talked about how Entrepreneurs’ Organization and Accelerator are part of her commitment to support other entrepreneurs.

 

 

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Entrepreneurs’ Organization hosts Accelerators at Learning Event

The Dallas Chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization invited the 2011/12 Accelerator Program participants to attend an exclusive learning event with Nina Vaca this past week.

Nina founded Pinnacle in 1996 as an IT service provider to the Fortune 500.  Under Nina’s leadership, Pinnacle has become the fifth fastest growing company in a $20 billion dollar industry and she has grow the revenues over to over $200 million annually.

DFW Accelerator participants heard her amazing life story – from childhood all the way through the excitement and difficulties of starting – and then growing – a company in an industry with stiff competition.

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Accelerators & Incubators: EO Creates $1 Million Entrepreneurs

The EO Accelerator Program has been getting great press recently!  Portfolio.com profiled the program as part of their series on accelerator and incubator programs.

Here’s the reprint: Accelerators & Incubators: EO Creates $1 Million Entrepreneurs

Congratulations to Accelerator members Dione Spiteri and Sarah Endline for being quoted.

Are you interested in Accelerator?  Nominate someone for membership, or apply to join!

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Accelerator Program Announced at EO Dallas Event

Yesterday evening the launch of the Dallas/Fort Worth Accelerator Program was officially announced at the Entrepreneurs’ Organization, Dallas Chapter event held at Arlington Hall in Lee Park.

The launch was a huge success, and many experienced company owners from Entrepreneurs’ Organization volunteered their time to mentor first stage entrepreneurs in the Accelerator program.

Accountability Groups are forming now.  If you would like to nominate someone to the Accelerator Program, or want to submit an application for consideration, visit DFW Accelerator for more information.

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Accelerator Program Launch!

Welcome to the Dallas / Fort Worth Accelerator Program Launch

As we progress, we’ll be welcoming new participants, recapping learning days, and providing great content early stage entrepreneurs.

 

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