Jun 032014
 

My apologies: this article was accidentally scheduled for publication before it was completed.  It is now updated.

Okay, enough griping about Cowtown’s obstacles in attaining some degree of technological leadership– what are some resources currently available to improve the situation?  Today I’ll go over some that are key, focusing on communities rather than places.  Not all listed are exclusively oriented around technology, but it is at least included in their scope.

I’ve mentioned these organizations in previous articles, but it’s worth gathering them together and highlighting.Here are some of your must-know Fort Worth tech connectors:

Tarrant Makers (now defunct)

With a certain degree of pride I’ll lead off with a group I helped launch in 2012.

Tarrant Makers is a community of creative types living and/or working in or around Tarrant County, Texas.  The community is supported by a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization, the Tarrant County Maker Community Foundation.  Its main charter is to address gaps in local educational services, especially where employment and entrepreneurial opportunities are concerned.  To that end, Tarrant Makers has held and hosted classes, demos and presentations on a wide array of technical and even not-so-technical topics, ranging from beer-making to robotics.  Anyone with any creative inclinations is welcome.

Tarrant Makers aims to provide a pre-incubation experience to budding entrepreneurs, getting them up to speed on cutting-edge technologies and helping them refine ideas.  They are partnering with Tech Fort Worth and IDEA Works FW to be the entry portion of a local creative continuum.

The foundation is working hard to provide a high level of service to its membership and could always use your tax-deductible donations.  Also, contact me for site registration (provide user name and preferred email address).  Follow @tarrantmakers on Twitter.

UPDATE: The Tarrant Makers foundation dissolved in October, 2014.

1 Million Cups FW

A relatively new chapter of the popular national movement, which is described as:

…a simple way to engage entrepreneurs in communities around the world. Each week, the 1MC program offers two local entrepreneurs an opportunity to present their startups to a diverse audience of mentors, advisors, and entrepreneurs. Presenters prepare a 6 minute educational presentation and engage in 20 minutes of feedback and questioning after they present. Entrepreneurs gain insight into possible ways they can improve their businesses, gather real time feedback, connect with a community that truly cares about their progress, and walk away feeling like they have advanced their business. The audience also learns a great deal from the presentations. Whether this is through passively listening or deeply engaging with the entrepreneurs, there is much to learn every week from these dynamic and diverse communities.

1 Million Cups FW meets weekly on Wednesday mornings at the new IDEA Works FW business incubator.

Fort Worth Open Coffee Club

An even newer addition to the Fort Worth networking scene, FWOCC is currently a small, diverse group meeting Saturday mornings at the eclectic Buon Giorno coffee house in downtown Fort Worth.  I’ve only attended one meetup so far, and was impressed with the subject matter and well-moderated approach to discussion.  This group could easily grow beyond the cozy confines of Buon Giorno, so enjoy it while it’s still small!  As for the establishment, I recommend the amazing panini sandwiches and any of their delicious drinks.

Launch DFW

Launch DFW, started and managed by Dallas entrepreneur Bradley Joyce, is a local startup community superstar.  Not only has this organization been generally responsible for connecting hundreds of DFW business and community leaders since 2010, it was the very vehicle that Tarrant Makers used to get started.

Launch DFW has been primarily focused on the Dallas area, but Bradley has recently begun renewing outreach to Fort Worth.  Look for more meetups for this area and make sure to attend!  Follow @LaunchDFW on Twitter.

HackerNest

After successfully latching onto a Fort Worth MENSA convention in mid 2013, HackerNest Dallas-Fort Worth Tech Socials has had a couple of other meetups in the metroplex but none yet again in Cowtown.  Organizers are looking for venues and sponsors; if you are or know of candidates for either, let them know on their meetup site!

The goal is to get tech enthusiasts together in purely social settings, which in itself can be a challenge.  This sort of activity is necessary for a strong startup scene, however, so if local leaders are serious about ramping that up, supporting HackerNest socials would be a good step forward.

Worth Mentioning

The following organizations may not fit in the list above, but they are strong supporters of the Fort Worth tech scene and some host events for organizations shown:

Downtown Fort Worth, Incorporated
Fort Worth South, Incorporated
TECH Fort Worth
IDEA Works FW

 If I left anyone out it was not intentional.  Please contribute your candidates in the comments section, and if they fit into the scope of the article I will edit to add them.

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