Creative Retail to Cold-Pressed Soap: Denton’s AccelerateHER Aims to Help Eight Local Small Businesses Grow

AccelerateHER—a partnership between the Texas Woman’s University Center for Women Entrepreneurs and Stoke Coworking—has named eight local small businesses to its female founder-focused incubator program. Next up: The program aims to expand beyond Denton to Dallas, Houston, and Abilene.

“Members will be walking away with stronger foundations to their businesses, and the tools they need to grow,” says Stoke Executive Director Heather Gregory.

AccelerateHER is working on building out an entrepreneurial network by welcoming the newest members to its female founder-focused incubator program.

Kicking off its five-month program today, the incubator—a partnership between the Texas Woman’s University Center for Women Entrepreneurs and Stoke Coworking—has chosen eight local, women-owned small businesses to take part as it looks to expand beyond its Denton roots in future efforts.

“Members will be walking away with stronger foundations to their businesses, and the tools they need to grow,” Heather Gregory, executive director at Denton coworking space Stoke Coworking, told Dallas Innovates.

First in-person program for AccelerateHER

The Denton-area small businesses newly named to the AccelerateHER program. [Image: AccelerateHER]

With businesses ranging from crafts and community spaces to tutoring services and soaps, this year’s batch of companies focus largely on the creative retail and service provider spaces, Gregory said. She added that this will be the first class to go through the program in person. The incubator will still incorporate a digital element, using the online learning tool Heartbeat to provide video workshops, homework, and cohort communication.

“The eight women chosen come from a variety of different industries and they will learn and grow from each other and the programming,” Tracy Irby, director of the Center for Women Entrepreneurs, said in a statement.

AccelerateHER looks to expand in Texas

The announcement comes as TWU’s Center for Women Entrepreneurship is expanding AccelerateHER across the Lone Star State. By partnering with business and coworking spaces, the center has brought the program to Dallas in a partnership with The Slate.

Gregory says launches in Houston and Abilene are next.

AccelerateHER first launched in 2020 to help early-stage companies develop, test ideas, and grow their businesses while making an impact on the local economy and entrepreneurial community.

A network of entrepreneurs

During the program, businesses will be provided with networking opportunities and workshops in areas like business planning, funding options, leadership, and marketing from local entrepreneurs Aaron Powell, founder and CEO of Bunch Bikes, and Jasmin Brand, director of innovation at the Frisco Economic Development Corporation.

Gregory said two cohorts have already gone through the program, creating a network of entrepreneurs that have been in the same position as the current class and can help provide guidance to the businesses.

“Through the two cohorts we’ve already completed, we now have an alumni network of about a dozen local entrepreneurs,” Gregory said “These are folks who stayed connected to each other, have grown and pivoted their businesses, created jobs, and more.”

They also come back to lead workshops on topics they’re experts in, she says. The AccelerateHER alumni continue to have “a positive impact on the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Meet the new Denton-based AccelerateHER members:

  • The Workbench—A co-working art space with workshops and retail space
  • Spoonie Creative Collective—Handmade goods “created by disabled and chronically ill makers”
  • Salted Sanctuary Soap—A maker of cold-processed soaps, oils, and other skincare products
  • La Catrina Creations—A clothing and accessory maker focused on Mexican culture
  • Math With Marcia—A math coaching and tutoring service
  • Hans Film & Photo—Photography and videography services for engagements, weddings, and elopements
  • CM Promotions—Event-planning services for weddings
  • Get Noticed with Video—A coaching and consulting service for content creators using live streaming


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