Create FW: Fort Worth’s Fresh New Entrepreneurial Hub Set for Grand Opening

Situated in a reimagined space shared with Roots Coffeehouse in Near Southside, Create FW is Fort Worth's latest hub for startups and creatives. The City of Fort Worth and The DEC Network are showcasing the new entrepreneurial center on November 8. Take an advance look here.

Fort Worth’s new nonprofit coworking space and entrepreneurial hub, Create FW, opened its doors this summer after early tours in July. Now, after three months of operations, it will celebrate its official grand opening on November 8.

Create FW, which opened in the Near Southside district in August with Techstars as its first tenant, aims to offer entrepreneurs and startups opportunities to connect, collaborate, and grow. The space—sponsored by Meta—is designed as a supportive environment for entrepreneurs to meet, find resources, and receive mentoring and coaching from veteran founders and business leaders. 

Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth was Create FW’s first official tenant. [Photo: courtesy/Techstars]

Create FW is run by the Dallas-based nonprofit The DEC Network. The Fort Worth Local Development Corporation provided a $500,000 investment to help establish the center.

Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker says the city is excited to build investment in the city’s entrepreneurial community by supporting the opening of the new space in the Near Southside.

[Photos: Eden Barnhouse/Create FW]

“For Fort Worth to be successful, it’s imperative that our entrepreneurs be successful, and that starts with providing them with the resources they need to build thriving businesses,” she said in a statement.

In a pre-opening tour, Community Coordinator Caroline McKnight said the space’s central goal is to make entrepreneurship accessible. “We want to make sure everyone feels welcome,” she said.

Create FW offers open coworking and meeting areas in its modern, light-filled building. With nearly 6,800 square feet of newly renovated space, membership options range from casual drop-in passes to dedicated desks and suites.

The coworking space signed up more than 100 founding members ahead of its opening, according to McKnight. 

Caroline McKnight

Create FW intends to use its membership revenue to fund free workshops, events, and resources for entrepreneurs, especially those from underserved communities, McKnight said. It also plans to partner with local universities like TCU to engage students and recent graduates.

Create FW leaders credit the buzz to both Create FW’s mission and its location in a burgeoning neighborhood. The team includes Senior Events and Operations Manager Kendall Castillo and Manager of Marketing and Communications Tyler Riddell.

Near Southside has seen major growth in recent years, with new corporate offices, apartments and local businesses moving in. Create FW hopes to be both a connector and catalyst within this thriving, creative community, McKnight said.

Supporting entrepreneurs at all stages

Create FW aims to support entrepreneurs at all stages of their startup journey, especially women and people of color.

Programming aims to support entrepreneurs holistically, from ideation to execution and growth. Resources like mentoring, coaching, and access to funding aim to democratize entrepreneurship.

“We know many in the communities nearby have untapped potential and lack access,” McKnight said. “Create FW will meet entrepreneurs where they are with the help they need.”

The organization plans to offer pre-accelerators for entrepreneurs and small business owners in the idea or pre-revenue stage, helping them understand market potential and establish a strong foundation. Their accelerators will assist post-revenue founders who want to scale operations and build strong businesses to land future capital.

Create FW will also host pitch competitions where accelerator participants can showcase their ideas and compete for $1,500-plus prizes. Create FW said it’s partnering with the North Texas Angel Network so that participants who complete the early-stage and accelerator programs will gain access to potential capital investments as they pitch in front of investors.

The organization also highlighted mentorship opportunities for entrepreneurs who receive “invaluable advice and guidance.”

Most Create FW resources, such as mentorship, events, and content, are free, the organization said.

Open to work

The former headquarters of advertising agency Pavlov was reimagined as Create FW. The airy, all-new space provides coworking and flexible options such as virtual membership and hot desking (using workspaces as needed or on a rotating basis). Memberships for the coworking space are $100 to $1,800.

McKnight wants people to “freely make connections.” The design reflects this ethos, with shared workspaces and configurable lounge areas. A patio with a view offers informal areas for networking events and meetings.

Open coworking zones include seating for community building, as well as a dedicated makerspace. The hands-on workspace offers equipment for prototyping, crafting, and other building projects that entrepreneurs may lack in a typical home or private office.

Create FW has flexible “hot desks” available to rent month-to-month, providing affordable workspace for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote employees.

[Photos: Eden Barnhouse/Create FW]

A large, enclosed phone booth situated in the open floor plan can be used for impromptu meetings, in-person or virtual, McKnight said.

Larger spaces on the upper floor can also be leased by partner organizations temporarily. For example, startup accelerator TechStars will operate out of Create FW’s offices from September through December, McKnight said.

Vari helped create the Techstar space through its Vari Giving Program, the company said. 

The creative layout features an open feel with two staircases connecting the floors. Local artists will be exhibiting work throughout the center, showcasing community talent and providing members with opportunities to sell their work.

“We designed Create FW to be a non-traditional, unconventional office environment,” said McKnight. “Our goal is to help Fort Worth’s entrepreneurs and creatives thrive.”

Full-circle space

Create FW resides in a unique building originally intended to house a coworking space called Criterion Coworking.

As McKnight explains, the space was conceived around 2019 as a hub for startups and innovators. But plans stalled before completion. Serendipitously, Create FW was seeking a new home in the same time frame. Create FW now shares the building with Roots Coffeehouse, giving the nonprofit an ideal location.

[Photos: Eden Barnhouse/Create FW]

When Create FW’s leaders first toured the unfinished building, its original purpose resonated, McKnight says.(And, she adds, the original creators said the new entrepreneurial hub “perfectly fulfills” their vision.)

The space, it seems, was tailor-made for supporting Fort Worth entrepreneurs and startups.

Fort Worth hub

With its grand opening still to come, Create FW has already begun cementing itself as a hive for events, programs, and resources aimed at empowering all of Fort Worth’s entrepreneurs with events such as:

  • The Create Fort Worth Community Committee, which convened its first meeting at the new space. The group aims to ensure Create FW fulfills its mission of inclusive entrepreneurship.
  • The Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at TCU, which hosted its Fall 2023 Horned Frog Investment Network Kick-Off Pitch Event at Create FW. The event allowed TCU students to showcase their business ideas.
  • Fort Worth Forward speakers, which featured leaders like Jose Alfaro of CO.STARTERS, Bill Chinn of The DEC Network, and Kara Waddell of Child Care Associates.
  • Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator, which powered up at Create FW for its opening orientation of its second year cohort. The 3-month program supports physical health startups looking to scale.

Techstars Fort Worth entrepreneurs Thivaher Paramsothy and April Rutter of Hera Fertility [Photo: Techstars]

Grand opening details

Create FW’s grand opening is from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on November 8 at 400 Bryan Ave., Fort Worth, and will include an official ribbon cutting by Mayor Parker. Enjoy live music, tour the facility, meet other entrepreneurs, and receive promotions and discounts only available during the event.

The event is free and open to the public. Learn more and register here.

Quincy Preston contributed to this report. 

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