Fort Worth is a city that, at its core, is a mix of cultural identities. Fort Worth would not be the city it is today without our diverse communities that contribute to local innovation. In honor of Black History Month, we are celebrating Black innovators who are making Fort Worth a more exciting and accessible place through entrepreneurship. Black entrepreneurs face unique challenges in starting and growing companies, like lack of access to capital, bias and accessing other resources and programs that support entrepreneurs.
The entrepreneurs listed below (and countless others) are thriving despite the odds and adding to an already rich legacy of local Black entrepreneurs.
EJ Carrion is the founder of The Student Success Agency, author of How to Create a Future and Stand Out When College is Not Enough, and now co-host of The 817, a podcast of all things Fort Worth. His company serves as a force multiplier for high school guidance counselors to help students increase their chances of success of getting into college. Carrion explains what it means to pick a city with opportunities to build your startup and connect with the younger crowd by sharing the pulse points of news, politics, trends, and culture in Fort Worth.
She was recognized as the Startup Evangelist of the Year in 2021, and that title is well deserved. Darlisa Diltz is the hardworking entrepreneur and dedicated ecosystem builder that keeps moving Tarrant County forward. From leading 1 Million Cups NE Tarrant, to opening The Center NTX coworking space, and providing educational programs through North Texas Entrepreneurial Education and Training Center, she is a must-know resource in the entrepreneurial community.
Dr. Brian Dixon is no stranger to startups. He is solving the problems that he is personally facing as a mental health care provider by starting several companies to fill the gaps that he sees in his own industry. With a vision that everyone should be able to access mental health care, Dr. Dixon is innovating the psychiatry industry by creating startups like Gide, SimplyPsych and Forward Together.
Want to learn more about mental health innovations? Check out Innovate Fort Worth’s episode with Dr. Brian Dixon here!
Jakayla Dixon watched her aunt struggle with picking out her clothes due to her visual impairment. So, she started her own company in high school to change the way the visually impaired put fashionable outfits together. Dixon, the founder of Feel the Color, is helping those with visual impairments “see” color through innovative tags to help people feel confident and fashionable.
Check out the podcast interview with Innovate Fort Worth!
Rikki Kelley, Founder and CEO of EGO Tequila, shares her story of how she went from wanting to own her own business as a child to launching her own brand of tequila. She shares her experiences in making high quality sipping tequila, launching during a global pandemic and the lessons she learned through starting her own business.
Check out her story on Innovate Fort Worth!
Edward Morgan was always thinking about advanced technologies that he could bring to market. When the electric car industry boomed, he saw an opportunity to improve the market for home and commercial charging stations and Revitalize Charging Solutions was born. His newest product, a dual charger for home use, was recently approved for UL certification. He also shares his vision of giving back to the community by someday turning into a venture capitalist himself.
Jonathan Morris is making Fort Worth funky by bringing his various visions for cool spaces to life. He is the owner of the Fort Worth Barbershop and Hotel Dryce, and now, he’s the host of the new show on Magnolia Network’s Self-Employed. A serial entrepreneur, Jonathan talks about his earliest entrepreneurial ideas as a child, how he builds culture into his business ventures and what it is like to be a television host highlighting small businesses.
Go watch his show on the Magnolia Network or watch his interview on Innovate Fort Worth!
Mia Moss is more than the owner of Black Coffee, she is a driving force for revitalization on the eastside of Fort Worth. She has taken her love of coffee, expertise and skills and poured them back into her community. From connecting with customers about different coffee beans to pivoting in the face of COVID-19, Mia is proving that coffee and culture go hand in hand and can be the key to bringing new life into a local neighborhood.
Get caffeinated with Mia on the Innovate Fort Worth podcast!
Cam Sadler was a teacher at Dunbar High School when he got a great idea. One summer break, he cashed in his retirement savings and started NewCraft, a company that helps job seekers get offers from tech businesses. Soon he was in Silicon Valley, the first Fort Worth entrepreneur accepted into Y Combinator, the accelerator program that invested in AirBnb and DropBox.