What’s it all about?
An innovative economic development initiative to help fund local entrepreneurs.
BE in Abilene will incentivize young, entrepreneurial companies who will be based in Abilene and have the potential to positively impact the local economy.
How does it work?
A collaboration of several organizations all working together to “Build Entrepreneurs in Abilene.” Led and funded by the Development Corporation of Abilene, the program’s goal is designed to carry out a primary objective of the city’s economic development strategic plan of implementing an innovation ecosystem.
The BE in Abilene program seeks to award cash incentives to entrepreneurs through this local competition. The program was organized by multiple local agencies including the Abilene Industrial Foundation, Abilene Christian University and the Small Business Development Center; each of which provide a unique resource to these aspiring individuals.
Entrepreneurs enter the competition by completing an online application. This asks each applicant to provide information about their company’s background and business model. Additionally, applicants are required to submit a 2 minute “elevator pitch” video. That includes the following:
- Background of your business idea
- Describe where you are now in your business
- Describe how winning the competition will benefit your business
Meet and Compete
Contestants that advance to the second phase will be required to participate in a more thorough review by a judging panel. This includes the following:
- Meet with the local SBDC office to discuss their business plan
- Meet with the Abilene Industrial Foundation to polish presentation
- Participate in a private demo day for the judges
- Make a presentation providing a specific request of funds to the judging panel
Awards will be determined by the judging panel. Cash prizes for BE in Abilene will be awarded to winning contestants, funded by the Development Corporation of Abilene. This funding will require:
- Final verification of all requirements
- 3-4 years performance agreement
- Participate in mandatory compliance meetings with program partners
2018-2019 BE in Abilene Schedule
|2019-20 Competition Packet is Available||Monday, November 11, 2019|
|Application Portal is Open||Sunday, December 1, 2019|
|Public Interest Meeting||Thursday, December 12, 2019|
|Public Interest Meeting||Thursday, January 9, 2020|
|Application Deadline||Friday, January 31, 2020|
|Initial Review by Judging Panel and AIF||Saturday, February 1 – Thursday, February 13, 2020|
|Finalists Announced||Friday, February 14, 2020|
|Orientation Meeting / SBDC Training||Wednesday, February 19, 2020|
|Initial Pitch with the Judges||Wednesday, February 26, 2020|
|Due Diligence Deadline||Wednesday, April 15, 2020|
|Business Plan Submission Deadline||Wednesday, April 15, 2020|
|Site Visits for Judging Panel||Wednesday, April 1 – Wednesday, April 15, 2020|
|Final Team Presentations||Wednesday, April 29, 2020|
|Program Winners Announced||Friday, May 1, 2020|
|Video Recording for Awards Event||Wednesday, April 1 - Friday, May 1, 2020|
|Awards Event||Wednesday, May 13, 2020|
Let’s get started!
Turn your dreams into reality!Apply Now
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is BE in AbileneClick to reveal the answer.
- BE in Abilene is a collaboration of four organizations working together to “Build Entrepreneurs in Abilene”
- Lead and funded by the Development Corporation of Abilene and supported by the Abilene Industrial Foundation, Abilene Christian University, and the Small Business Development Center; each of which provide a unique resource to these aspiring individuals.
- The program is designed to provide much needed capital for new companies that demonstrate a superior ability to grow and be successful in Abilene, Texas
Who provides the award dollars?Click to reveal the answer.
The Development Corporation of Abilene
Is the award a grant?Click to reveal the answer.
No, money awarded by the DCOA requires winners be accountable for how it is used.
Are there strings attached to the award dollars?Click to reveal the answer.
- Yes. If you win, within 60 days you will be required to sign a performance contract.
- Winners are given a timeline to spend award moneys.
- Winners must report regularly to the DCOA, the status of their business and distributions of their funds.
If I competed in last year’s competition, can I compete in this year’s?Click to reveal the answer.
Yes, if you did NOT receive funding and you still meet the qualification requirements.
What types of business qualify for the competition?Click to reveal the answer.
- Qualifying businesses typically manufacture or “make something.”
- Digital products such as games, apps, movies and music production can qualify under certain circumstances
- Retail and service industry typically will not qualify for this competition
What are NAICS codes?Click to reveal the answer.
NAICS stands for North American Industry Classification System. NAICS codes are used for criteria to determine eligibility for the competition.
How long is the competition?Click to reveal the answer.
In total the competition will last 6 months, from the date the application portal is open.
Does my business need to be in Abilene, Texas?Click to reveal the answer.
Yes, for the BE in Abilene Program your business must be located in or in the process of moving within the city limits of Abilene, Texas.
Does my business need to currently exist?Click to reveal the answer.
No, however by the end of competition you need to be fully incorporated in order to be award and receive funds.
Is there a requirement on the age of my business?Click to reveal the answer.
Yes, teams must not have been operating their company prior to Jan. 31, 2015 (i.e., five years from deadline for the initial application).
Will I need to pay the money back, if my business fails?Click to reveal the answer.
Yes, if your business fails you are liable for the money you were awarded by the DCOA. As these dollars are regulated by state law, winners are required to pay all or a portion of their award dollars back in the case of failure. The specific amount will be determined by the individual circumstances of each case.
Do I have to complete my application in one sitting?Click to reveal the answer.
No, you are free to complete your application at your convenience with respect to the deadline of Jan. 31, 2020 at 11:59pm.
How much information should I include in my application?Click to reveal the answer.
The information you provide in the online application is primarily used to ensure your business qualifies for the program. With that in mind, it is not necessary to provide highly detailed information at this point. Once qualified, applicants will have the opportunity to provide more detailed information in the preparation of their business plan with the SBDC.
What should be in my video "elevator pitch?"Click to reveal the answer.
The ideal video for your online application should be 2 minutes in length. A good rule of thumb is to 1) provide a background of your business or idea, 2) describe where you are currently in your business and 3) demonstrate how winning the competition will benefit your business in the future. Unless you have experience in video production, it is highly recommended that you ask someone with experience to help you produce a video. There are free resources available to help applicants with this part of the entry.
Not finding your answer here?Click to reveal the answer.
Send us an email at info@BEinAbilene.com
Applications for this year’s competition are now closed, but will re-open in January of next year.
Want to us to notify you when we’re taking applications?
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll notify you when the application portal is open.