News & Updates

This blog category serves as the go-to source for all things new and noteworthy at Sparkyard. From press releases and significant announcements to updates on our latest projects and initiatives, “Sparkyard Updates” keeps the community informed and engaged with the latest developments that impact and elevate the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Eclipsing Expectations: DFW Startups/Small Businesses Benefit from Celestial Craze

On a slightly cloudy Monday afternoon on April 8th, 2024, the bustling life of DFW came to a momentary standstill as residents and visitors alike lifted their gazes skyward. The cause for this pause? A spectacular solar eclipse. Such celestial events are relatively rare, occurring approximately every 18 months and often over remote regions. Notably, the 2024 eclipse marks the first such event to traverse the United States since 2017 and an even rarer occasion for Texas, finding itself directly in the path of totality for the first time since 1878. The 2024 eclipse has reignited the public’s fascination, much like...

Announcing our Favorite Innovators of 2023

There is so much exciting innovation happening in Fort Worth in  many different areas of our city. But, who were some of the Innovate Fort Worth podcast teams favorites in the last year?  Kendel Rogers, the producer of the podcast, Rob Upchurch, the technical producer and Cameron Cushman, the host, share their favorite innovators on the most recent episode of the show.   Kendel Rogers I have two actually.  My first was Jose Alfaro from co-starters (Episode 83). We interviewed him at the beginning of the year. I love what he is doing...

Sparking Change: Sparkyard’s Move to Ensemble Coworking

After four years of successful implementation and thousands of entrepreneurs served, HSC Next is handing over operations of the Sparkyard platform to Tamara Payne, CEO and cofounder of Ensemble Coworking, a trusted partner in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and a Sparkyard resource partner since 2019. Ensemble Coworking is a mission-driven collaborative business community and coworking space located in Fort Worth’s Near Southside. SourceLink will continue to support the platform from a technical standpoint. HSC Next is not selling Sparkyard, but rather, Ensemble will contract with Sourcelink, license...

Why You Should Consider Partnering with a Cofounder

What "Working Capital: Assembling Your Team" Has to Say About Cofounders

When it comes to cofounders, there can be a lot of questions regarding the logistics, relationship, and even the necessity of them. Luckily, Sean K. Murphy’s book, Working Capital: Assembling Your Team, Vol.2, addresses most of the common concerns and inquiries surrounding such partnerships. Instead of merely recommending this book to you, I’ve outlined the insights Murphy provides toward developing a cofounder partnership.   Murphy starts by addressing that cofounders are very similar to the initial startup founder. They’re both ‘generalists’ and ‘fast learners,’ and they have the same...

The 5 Things I Learned on the HSC Next Team This Summer

As a Fort Worth native, the opportunity to work in our entrepreneurial ecosystem and startup scene has been very fulfilling. But when I started this internship, I didn’t know how much I would learn about my hometown, myself, and the business world beyond our city limits. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to work for Sparkyard and HSC Next as my first internship. Regarding introductions to professional life, I would say that mine was pretty stellar. Writing about what I learned this summer without launching into a full novel is challenging because the...

5 Unexpected Lessons From This Summer

Last summer, I dove headfirst into the workforce a few weeks following my high school graduation. And I guess you could say I had an okay experience because I ended up coming back for a second summer—and better yet, I was able to work with them full-time.   As I enter the last week of my internship, I can’t help but feel somewhat perplexed as to where I should start my end-of-summer blog. Since this is my second summer with HSC Next, (you can see my takeaways from last summer here) I’m forced to be a...

Training an Innovation Workforce

Workforce development. It seems like everywhere I look someone is talking about developing our local workforce to meet the demands of today’s employers. But what does this really mean and more importantly, how do we actually develop our local innovation workforce? If you ask just about any local entrepreneur or CEO, they will tell you that hiring the right kinds of employees is one of their biggest challenges. It’s a challenge for BNSF and Lockheed Martin to hire qualified rail line and manufacturing workers. It’s a struggle for retail establishments to hire front line workers and restaurants to hire cooks. But...

Top 5 Events in the Summer of 2023

As the summer heats up, so does the anticipation for some of the most relevant and engaging business events in DFW. These events provide a platform for professionals across industries to gather, network, and gain invaluable insights into the latest trends, strategies, and innovations shaping the business world. If you're looking to stay ahead of the curve and make meaningful connections, this blog is your ultimate guide to the summer's top five must-attend business conferences. 

Virtual Workshop: Supercharge your business with ChatGPT and AI 

It is no secret that Chat GPT has changed the business world tremendously since...

Startup & StartOut: Researching and Empowering LGBTQ Entrepreneurs

As of 2022, there are 1.4 million LGBTQ business owners in the United States, contributing $1.7 trillion annually to the national economy. LGBTQ entrepreneurs often find themselves navigating a system that perpetuates inequalities, limiting access to the necessary financial resources to thrive and succeed. In honor of Pride Month, I wanted to share some research findings on the LGBTQ community and resources for queer entrepreneurs. Out of $2.1 trillion dollars of funding tracked after the year 2000, only 0.5% of all the funding raised for startups went to LGBTQ entrepreneurs. The nationwide LGBTQ+ population stands...

Startup Champions Network Policy Summit Recap

Last week, several of us from the HSC Next team attended the first-ever policy-focused summit hosted by the Startup Champions Network (SCN) in Washington, DC. Though the SCN crew has been hosting Summits in locations around the country for more than a decade now, this was the first one they held in our nation’s capital and the first one focused on policy for entrepreneurs, innovators and the organizations that support them. The conversations were encouraging and insightful. Here are a few of my takeaways from DC. First, we discussed how to build a more entrepreneurial workforce. Traditionally, Federal...