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Former Business Plan Competition finalists tell how their experience helped lay groundwork for business success

Posted June 12, 2018

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group smiling for a photo
Barry McCleland (left) and Steve Alade (second from right) join Mayor Betsy Price, Economic Development Director Robert Sturns, Carolyn Phillips of Alchemey Pops and Hilary Lai of Benefit Acupuncture for a Facebook Live session promoting small businesses and entrepreneurship.

A few years ago, Steve Alade was standing in line waiting for food at Main Street Arts Festival. He quickly noticed how much business the vendor was doing, and started asking some questions. What began as a curiosity soon inspired him to start working weekends at local festivals and fairs, serving his Caribbean and Jamaican-inspired street food while figuring out a way to get his new passion off the ground.

One big element that helped turn his dream into a reality? The Fort Worth Business Plan Competition, which Alade entered in 2016 and placed second.

“The structure that [the Business Plan Competition] provided, in terms of being able to address the different scenarios posed in each section, was really important for me,” said Alade. “From the executive summary, to the operations, financial and marketing sections — being able to hone in and become more of an expert on those different scenarios really helps you know your business, and shows that you’ve addressed these challenges.”

Knowing his business has come in particularly handy for Alade, now that he’s developed his concession and catering company, Doc’s Street Grill, and is applying for a loan for his first brick-and-mortar location.

“Obviously when you’re thinking about starting a business, you want to think about places where your business can flourish,” Alade continued. “I know Fort Worth, I grew up in the area and I love the city’s growth. I know Fort Worth has the right infrastructure in place — it has land, it has good leadership and a friendly environment for businesses to utilize resources like the Business Plan Competition to be able to push things forward and grow.”

Last year’s Business Plan Competition winner, Barry McCleland, had been working on his startup for seven years before he entered with the goal of improving his business plan.

“I believe what we got from [the Business Plan Competition] was the mentorship from everybody — the lectures, the SCORE people and the [Business Assistance Center] — and that was just invaluable,” said McCleland. “It inspires you to look further into your marketing and financial strategies that you want to do in your business plan.”

McCleland also found himself inspired by his fellow candidates. His business, Myconi Technologies, created a high-tech monitoring device that measures the temperature of pharmaceutical products in the supply chain as they’re transported from place to place. But the Business Plan Competition exposed him to other entrepreneurs with businesses vastly different from his own, all of whom were driven to learn and succeed.

“From the acupuncturist, to the food markets, to the people creating executive cufflinks, you see so many different perspectives among the competitors. They’re all inspired to start their own business, and that’s what I admire about every one of them — there’s nothing more satisfying than having a business of your own.”

Watch Alade and McCleland tell their stories on YouTube.

About the Business Plan Competition

Entrepreneurs can apply online by midnight June 15 to be part of the 2018 Business Plan Competition. Participants will compete for more than $50,000 in cash and in-kind services, working with the Guinn Campus and its partners for five weeks of workshops, coaching and other training before the top three finalists pitch their business plans to judges in October.

Applicants must be a business with a DBA registered in Tarrant County, and must have an annual revenue of less than $500,000. Capital One Bank is the competition’s presenting sponsor.

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Trinity Metro Planning, Operations & Marketing Committee Working Session: 4 p.m. June 18, 2018; Intermodal Transportation Center, 2nd Floor Community Room, 1001 Jones Street.
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Task Force on Race and Culture: 5 p.m. June 18, 2018; Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, Deborah Moncrief Garden Center, Oak Hall, 3220 Botanic Garden Boulevard.
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Fort Worth Housing Solutions - Notice of Possible Quorum: Envision Center Press Conference & Tour: 10 a.m. June 19, 2018; Envision Center, 5655 Truman Drive.
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Botanic Garden Task Force: 11:30 a.m. June 19, 2018; Deborah Beggs Moncrief Garden Center, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, 3220 Botanic Garden Boulevard.
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Canceled City Council Work Session: 3 p.m. June 19, 2018; City Hall, Second Floor, Council Conference Room 290, 200 Texas Street.

Canceled City Council Meeting: 7 p.m. June 19, 2018; City Hall, Second Floor, Council Chambers, 200 Texas Street.

Commerical Board of Adjustment Work Session: 9 a.m. June 20, 2018; Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.
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Commercial Board of Adjustment Public Hearing: 10 a.m. June 20, 2018; Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.
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Residential Board of Adjustment Work Session: 12:30 p.m. June 20, 2018; Council Conference Room 290, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.
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Residential Board of Adjustment Public Hearing: 1:30 p.m. June 20, 2018; Council Chambers, 2nd Floor, City Hall, 200 Texas Street.
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Budget Stakeholder's Meeting: 3 p.m. June 20, 2018; Budget Stakeholder's Meeting, 200 Texas Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102.

Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Number Nine (Trinity River Vision TIF) Board of Directors: 4 p.m. June 20, 2018; Ideal Works, 2nd Floor Conference Room, 600 Rosedale.
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North Hi Mount Streetlights Project Meeting: 6 p.m. June 20, 2018; University of North Texas Science Center Carl E. Everett Education & Administration Building, Room 291, 3500 Camp Bowie Blvd.

Urban Design Commission Work Session: 9:30 a.m. June 21, 2018; City Hall, second floor, Council Conference Room 290, 200 Texas Street.
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Urban Design Commission Public Hearing: 10 a.m. June 21, 2018; City Hall, second floor, Council Conference Room 290, 200 Texas Street.
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Canceled City of Fort Worth “Monthly Informational Forum for M/WBEs”: 11:30 a.m. June 21, 2018; James E. Guinn Entrepreneurial Campus - Fort Worth Business Assistance Center, 1150 South Freeway.

Community Action Partners Council: 1:30 p.m. June 21, 2018; Fort Worth City Credit Union, First Floor Board Room, 2309 Montgomery Street.
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Trinity River Public Facility Corporation Special Meeting: 5 p.m. June 21, 2018; FWHS Administrative Office Board Room, 120 East 13th Street.
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Fort Worth Housing Solutions Regular Meeting: 5 p.m. June 21, 2018; FWHS Administrative Office Board Room, 1201 East 13th Street.
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North Beach Street Streetlights Project Meeting: 6 p.m. June 21, 2018; Lakeland Street Baptist Church, 3551 cindy Drive.

Ridglea Area Infrastructure Improvements Project Meeting: 6:30 p.m. June 21, 2018; R.D. Evans Community Center, 3242 Lackland Road.

Fort Worth Housing Solutions Board of Directors - Notice of Possible Quorum: 15th Annual City of Fort Worth Housing Summit: 8:30 a.m. June 23, 2018; Cendera Center, 3600 Benbrook Highway.
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Swimming Lessons - Registration begins for Session 2: 9 a.m. June 23, 2018; Forest Park Pool, 2850 Park Place Ave.
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Crud Cruiser Mobile Waste Collection: 9 a.m. June 23, 2018; Riverside Community Center , 3700 E. Belknap St.

Crud Cruiser Mobile Waste Collection: noon June 23, 2018; Hazel Harvey Peace Center , 818 Missouri Ave.

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