About Us

Our Mission

To cultivate a connected and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Fort Worth area through a comprehensive, cost-free platform that connects entrepreneurs and business owners to the resources they need to launch and grow their companies.

How do we accomplish this?

Sparkyard connects a large network of primarily nonprofit service providers offering a wide variety of business-building services for small businesses. We facilitate the linking of these resource organizations to one another and to established, emerging, startups, and small businesses throughout the region.

Sparkyard partners with numerous Resource Partners in Fort Worth, Tarrant County and beyond. Head over to the Resource Navigator for a comprehensive list of Resource Partners and the services they provided.

Your next step

Complete a Spark Plan request providing as much information as you can as well as 1-2 obstacles you’re working to overcome. Our Sparkyard team will compile that information and provide you with local resources that are customized to your specific needs. This referral service is provided at no cost to you!

Online Search Option

The Resource Navigator® allows you to do your own customized Fort Worth business research 24/7.

Sparkyard Team

Tamara Payne

Tamara Payne, Chief Ecosystem Officer

CG for sparkyard

Clint Grimes, Community Support

Advisory Board

Meghan Wright

Meghan Wright, Texas Christian University

Marco Johnson, UNT Health Science Center

Cameron Cushman, UNT Health Science Center

Jazmin Gutierrez

Jazmin Gutierrez, City of Fort Worth

Magdalena Blanco

Magdalena Blanco, Better Business Bureau

Sarah White, TechFW

David Steed, Equus Quo, LLC

Sparkyard Support

Sparkyard (built on the SourceLink platform), is generously supported by The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth (HSC), the City of Fort Worth, and Texas Christian University (TCU). HSC Next employs Marco Johnson and the rest of the Sparkyard team to assist entrepreneurs in finding resources, advocate on behalf of entrepreneurs to community leaders, and conduct research and data analysis on our local entrepreneurial ecosystem. The HSC Next team brings knowledge, experience, resources and connections to catalyze innovation.  Sparkyard is proudly supported by HSC, where we are driven to improve the human condition through a passion for innovation and teamwork.

Why Sparkyard?

Fort Worth recently became the 12th largest city by population in the US. However, when compared to peer cities and other cities in TX, our entrepreneurial ecosystem is underdeveloped with fragmented and siloed resources. This makes it difficult for entrepreneurs see a clear map of resources and to access those resources at the right time, resulting in Fort Worth companies not getting the help they need to grow and many entrepreneurs not founding companies in the first place. Sparkyard is the remedy to these gaps. UNTHSC, the City of Fort Worth and TCU partnered to launch a free platform that connects entrepreneurs to the right resources at the right time.

The name Sparkyard breaks down into two components:

“Spark” denotes action, kinetics, urgency, and speed. These are the words that represent how we will develop our entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“Yard” pays homage to Fort Worth’s very first entrepreneurial activity: the historic stockyards that are responsible for the existence of our city today. Yard is also a gathering place where family, friends, neighbors and colleagues come together to share ideas and get projects done (think of your front and backyards). Yard also harkens to our numerous railyards, which are a prominent part of our city that helps drive commerce.

The logo is derived from the technical illustration of an electrical circuit, reinforcing the kinetic and speed aspects of the name. The logo is outfitted with art deco elements that are proudly on display in our historic downtown and throughout the city.

Marco Johnson: Cowboys, Culture and Innovation

Fort Worth is the City of Cowboys and Culture. But for the country’s 13th-largest city to compete in today’s economy, it must also become a City of Innovation. Marco Johnson spent years sparking innovation in faraway places like East Africa. Now he’s at UNT Health Science Center connecting Fort Worth entrepreneurs with the right resources for their startups.