Fort Bend entrepreneur program graduates first class, awards grants

By R. Hans Miller, News Editor
Posted 11/19/21

Fort Bend County officials celebrated the first graduating class from its Entrepreneur Business Accelerator program on Nov. 18 from 4-6 p.m. at the Landmark Community Center in Missouri City. During …

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Fort Bend entrepreneur program graduates first class, awards grants

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Fort Bend County officials celebrated the first graduating class from its Entrepreneur Business Accelerator program on Nov. 18 from 4-6 p.m. at the Landmark Community Center in Missouri City. During the program, more than 90 small business owners received $5,000 business grants funded by the American Recovery Act, according to a Fort Bend County press release.

“Our small business owners and residents have faced unprecedented challenges over the past year due to the COVID -19 pandemic. The Fort Bend Entrepreneur Business Accelerator program provides business owners with the assistance and resources they need while jumpstarting Fort Bend County’s economic recovery,” said Fort Bend County Judge KP George.

The program utilizes federal funds in an attempt to help small businesses shore up their operations in order to be more successful. Entrepreneurs participate in an 11-course program that guides them in developing their business plans and operating policies. It also guides participating businesses in obtaining essential small business and minority-owned business status with local, state and federal agencies. Once the program is completed, the participants that complete the program in full with grant funding they can use to invest in their businesses’ development.

 “We are so excited for the participants of this incredible program because we know these graduates will take the valuable information they learned and apply it to their businesses to see massive growth,” said program facilitator Stephen Levi Carter.

The training includes curriculum related to sales, marketing, finance, human resources, technology, business planning and operations, revenue models, negotiation tactics and other competencies essential for small businesses. Participants also receive one-on-one guidance from mentors and access to online coaching.

The Entrepreneur Business Accelerator program was created to help small businesses in Fort Bend County recover from the financial challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is free to participants and is open to all business owners in Fort Bend County.

The program culminated in the Thursday afternoon graduation ceremony which included a Pitch Day wherein the top 10 business pitches by members of the first class were demonstrated to those in attendance.

The second class of the program is already full according to the program’s website, www.fortbendentrepreneur.com and it is unknown if a third class will be offered at this time. However, mentors with the program hope their efforts assist local businesses in shoring up their situations in difficult economic times.

“Strong, thriving businesses are a marker of the strength of our local economy. Fort Bend County and the Greater Houston area will surely benefit from the growth of these companies,” Carter said.

George expressed support for local business owners and appreciation for the backing of the program by his fellow members of the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court.

“Economic downturns can be chaotic and uncertain, that’s why together, with our County Commissioners, we have and will continue to do everything we can to support our business community,” George said.

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