The Center NTX is a new facility for local entrepreneurs who need a flexible workspace, business amenities, educational programs for entrepreneurs, training opportunities, and a supportive community. It will focus on helping underserved entrepreneurs in Tarrant County receive access and tools at affordable prices while supporting entrepreneurs through education and networking.
I had the opportunity to ask Darlisa Diltz about The Center, North Texas Entrepreneurial Education and Training Center and 1 Million Cups Northeast Tarrant, as well as ask about why it is important to be helping local Tarrant County entrepreneurs.
Tell me a little bit about you, your background and what you were doing before helping the entrepreneurial community in North Texas?
I am the Managing Director of the North Texas Entrepreneur Education and Training Center and owner of The Center NTX. I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and moved to Texas in 2016. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing Management, Master in Business Administration (MBA), Master’s of Science in Information Technology with a minor in Project Management. I started my very own business in 2010 called DJD In-depth Consulting and in 2013 I started a youth program called Y.E.P! Youth Entrepreneurs Platform, which was the first Youth Entrepreneurship program with curriculum in St. Louis outside of Junior Achievement. In 2018, I opened the first and only black-owned, woman-owned, for-profit business resource center in the Metroplex.
So, what is the North Texas Entrepreneur Education & Training Center?
North Texas Entrepreneur Education and Training Center (NTEEC) was established to be a business resource service location for underserviced, underserved and under-utilized individuals seeking to become entrepreneurs. Our goal is to provide resources by way of “education” to pre-venture and startup entrepreneurs to help them not only start a business, but also understand what entrepreneurship is all about. We provide an environment that is safe and inclusive for entrepreneurs at any stage to be able to engage and connect.
What resources does The Center NTX offer to entrepreneurs in North Texas?
The resources being offered by The Center NTX are:
- Open seating, flexible work space (no private offices to eliminate exclusivity and to create an environment of inclusive engagement)
- Affordable meeting room rentals
- Virtual office/physical address
- Access to education and resources specific to helping grow a business
- Processes on how to approach funding/certification/partnerships
How did you know this was needed in the Tarrant County community?
I come from a world where entrepreneurship was not something I saw or even thought about in my life. After doing what I was taught to do in school for 11 years, (go to college, climb the corporate ladder), I realized that my ladder was only a step stool. I was introduced to entrepreneurship not by my community or family or even my school. I became an entrepreneur when I realized I was good at something and someone thought enough of my talent to pay me for it….and THEN they started to send other people my way. Over time, I realized that this was a passion of mine…helping people learn about entrepreneurship. Over several years, I worked with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in St. Louis, the Small Business Administration (SBA), Women’s Business Centers and I spoke on various platforms, sat in on conversations and saw very clearly that there was still something missing among all of these sources that say they HELP Entrepreneurs. I couldn’t understand why the failure rate was still so high. Certain individuals, cultures, people and business types were not able to access the resources that others were able to. And I KNEW there were resources available, I just couldn’t understand why only some people were able to access them. So I decided to put my money where my mouth was and opened up a business specific to helping those individuals that cannot typically access certain resources. I wanted to help them position themselves in a manner that their business is solid out of the gate.
Where would you like to see The Center NTX in 5 years?
I would like to see “the model” of The Center NTX replicated — locally and nationally. I think if people really believe in making an impact in underrepresented communities, they should look to develop programs that genuinely support them. I would like for The Center NTX to be a common name whenever anyone thinks or speaks about entrepreneurship…kind of like when people say tennis shoe, they think of Nike!
What can the community do to support and encourage entrepreneurs?
Listen, understand, and not make assumptions regarding situations they have no experience in. Engage…not just saying they will help or support, but actually walking alongside them and catching them when they fall, rather than pointing the finger and adding them to a list of failed businesses. And finally, realizing that it is not always about money. Entrepreneurs need more than just grant funds or lines of credit….starting out, they need things like a supportive network that will share their message, a place to conduct business and most of all, customers.
Do you know of any resources available for black entrepreneurs in Fort Worth? Well, NTEETC, of course…
The Fort Worth Black Chamber of Commerce in terms of physical “resources,” and Center for Transforming Lives as well as Better Tarrant.com. There are also some groups on Facebook that list resources for black entrepreneurs in Fort Worth. There are a lot of businesses or business owners that look to share their information to encourage other black entrepreneurs in the area.
Tell me about 1 Million Cups NE Tarrant?
I work with a solid team of organizers from the City of North Richland Hills, Colleyville Chamber of Commerce, Northeast Tarrant County Chamber, Tarrant County College, and the City of Colleyville to bring this opportunity to the Northeast Community, as there are not many options within the area. We officially launched on January 20, 2021. We meet like all the other 1 Million Cups at 9:00 am every Wednesday morning. Register here: https://kauffman.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUude6trjMsHNAgY6yQGLsVOyp1Vuv9z8R4
What advice do you have for our local entrepreneurs looking to start a company or to see if their idea is viable?
Take the first step and seek advice. There are a lot of amazing resources out there to help you get started. For example, Sparkyard can get you mapped out based on where you are in the process. Seek out a mentor and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
How can people get involved?
Come out on January 15th, 2022 and be a part of a room packed with resources available to entrepreneurs looking to start a new business or scale your existing one. Attendees of this event will have the opportunity to network, connect, and find solutions to all their business needs through vendors from across the DFW Metroplex.
We will have professionals ON SITE, ready to answer your questions, provide you with resources for your business, and guide you on your next steps. Whether your business is in need of physical, intellectual, or financial resources…we can help!
**Participate in the showcase drawing for a chance to win various prizes from our sponsors and vendors**
***Lunch and VIP SWAG available for $15***