Griggs Center for entrepreneurship & philanthropy
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Discovering Dallas - CEO in DFW

Last week Professor Jim Litton took eleven students from the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization, all from various majors, to explore the start-up environment in Dallas. The trip, organized by the Executive Vice President of the CEO program Meredith Orr, consisted of five firms that each had their own unique objectives.

The trip began on Thursday as the group paid a visit to a non-profit called Tech Ft. Worth which serves as a start-up incubator to local firms in the Ft. Worth area. While there, the students met with Assistant Director of operations Hayden Blackburn and two CEOs of firms currently being incubated there. Just in their short visit, it was apparent that this organization takes on many different firms with varying interests. Students got to hear from one company launching a medical device to assist people with swallowing disorders and another that installs charging stations for electric cars.

Friday’s visits did not disappoint either with the day starting at Roma Boots, a non-profit with a one-for-one model that provides a pair of rain boots to children in underprivileged communities for every pair sold. CEO and Founder Samuel Bistrian takes pride in the fact that his company also donates 10% of all profits to support education initiatives around the world. For lunch, the group enjoyed conversation over a meal with entrepreneur Robert Shaw, President and CEO of the restaurant district Trinity Groves in west Dallas. Shaw described his “Shark Tank” tactics in selecting restaurants to place in this incubator. Only the best of the best get the opportunity to grow their wings and take flight here at this space in Uptown Dallas.

To wrap things up Litton and the group explored a collaboration space called WELD where they believe “community is essential for creative growth and sharing physical space is vital for providing the encouragement and resources to create (their) best work.” This space provides freelancers with a place to work and feed off of one another. Their memberships include access to both the Dallas and Nashville locations, with plans to eventually have ten sites nation-wide. The trip concluded at a newly established company called Fetch. With the rapid growth in e-commerce, the founders saw a need to assist apartment complexes with their increased volumes of packages. Fetch provides delivery services at the consumers convenience, offering two-hour time slots selected by the customer to have their package delivered at a time when they are home. This cuts down on package theft and the amount of time management is having to spend handling the packages.

This trip was a huge success and the Griggs Center is currently working on planning another to Austin. If you are at all interested please contact Meredith Orr at