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New Partnership Aims To Help Small Businesses Grow

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – In one of the buildings of an old, renovated elementary school, a new service called IDEA Works opened its doors.  Its business is helping other people grow their businesses.

“What IDEA Works gives us is the entrepreneurial access to the people who have done this before, said Wyatt Long, Marketing Director for CATIA Services, an aerospace engineering company.

Taking steps to grow his small business, Long visited IDEA Works on Friday. He’s one of four employees of the aerospace engineering firm that does design work and trains engineers for aerospace companies.

“We know we have a good business model but we don’t necessarily know where to go after we get started,” Long told IDEA Works Manager Hayden Blackburn as he showed him flyers his company had produced.

IDEA Works is a public/private partnership funded by grants and donations to help people like Long.

A board of private sector experts will carefully select the small businesses it will aid.  Then, they will help with the things most small businesses struggle with.

“It ranges from law, CPA, the bank, marketing,” Blackburn said of the services a growing business needs.  “So, we’re building the advisory council that same way giving them an introduction to multiple voices and expertise on a monthly basis to really share what their troubles are and get some feedback on what the correct next move should be.”

“IDEA Works is perfect,” Wyatt said.  “It’s a God send.”

IDEA Works will loan out its modern looking meeting and brainstorming space to its clients. The room is designed so small groups can work in clusters around the large space.

Old school rooms have been converted into offices ready to temporarily house growing businesses. But there’s one catch.

When the business owners are ready to for their independence, they’re expected to move back into their own communities.

“One of the big things we look at too for IDEA Works is that they [businesses] want to be involved in their neighborhood,” Blackburn said.  “That they want to be ingrained and involved in multiple ways — not just as a job creator but giving back.”

It may sound like an operation based on the TV show Shark Tank. But with this service the advisers don’t want a share of these businesses; they just want the businesses to reinvest in Fort Worth.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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