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.

 

Download the Application Packet

Phase 1

Application

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

Phase 2

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

Phase 3

Awards Process

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

Items Date(s)
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!

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Partner Organizations

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is BE in Abilene

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  • 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?

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The Development Corporation of Abilene

Is the award a grant?

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No, money awarded by the DCOA requires winners be accountable for how it is used.

Are there strings attached to the award dollars?

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  • 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?

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Yes, if you did NOT receive funding and you still meet the qualification requirements.

What types of business qualify for the competition?

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  • 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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?"

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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?

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Send us an email at info@BEinAbilene.com

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