The Last Word: IOOGO’s Kristy Alballero On the ‘ALL-Women’ Award Winners at The DEC Network’s State of Entrepreneurship 2024

“Last night I got to see the tides begin to turn as the recipients of the awards last night at The DEC Network Annual State of Entrepreneurship were ALL women.”

Kristy Alballero
Co-founder & COO
.…on a fortuitous collision of events, considering Friday is International Women’s Day, via LinkedIn.

Today is International Women’s Day, and many women entrepreneurs across North Texas are still basking in the glow of something that happened Thursday night: As Alballero said in her post, The DEC Network’s 2024 State of Entrepreneurship event featured an all-star cast of women among its entrepreneur award winners.

“This was not purposeful,” Alballero wrote of the coincidence, “but rather these women were voted by their peers for their great accomplishments. Cheers to these women and all women who continue to break through barriers.”

Last month, Dallas Innovates told you about the nominees for The DEC’s 2024 awards categories. From startup evangelists to rising founders to investors fueling growth, the awards recognize key contributors driving DFW’s dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem.

State of Entrepreneurship 2024 Award Winners

The awards are community-nominated and community-selected by vote. Announced by last year’s winners, here are the individuals and companies recognized by The DEC Network on Thursday.:

        Corporate Supporter of the Year 2024: 
        Texas Woman’s University Center for Women Entrepreneurs

        Institutional Investor of the Year 2024: 
        The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth

        Angel Investor of the Year 2024: 
        Stella Robertson: Cowtown Angels

        High-Growth Entrepreneur of the Year 2024: 
        Jenica Oliver: Blueprint Marketing Group & DFW CPG

        Rising Entrepreneur of the Year 2024: 
        Brieanna Lightfoot Smith: Brands by Brie

        Student Entrepreneur of the Year 2024: 
        Kirstin Green: Kristin’s Care, LLC

        Woman Entrepreneur of the Year 2024: 
        Tara Franklin: Precious Kargo Academy

        BIPOC Entrepreneur of the Year 2024: 
        Tiffany Jones Lewis: TJL Collection 

        Startup Evangelist of the Year 2024: 
        Tamara Payne: Ensemble Coworking & Sparkyard


In a statement, Jennifer Chandler, president of Bank of America Dallas, which was a name sponsor of the event, said North Texas would not be the economic powerhouse and global business destination that it is without our diverse entrepreneur community.”

“We know innovation and entrepreneurship go hand-in-hand,” she said, “What better place to celebrate accomplishments in both areas than the DEC Network State of Entrepreneurship event?”

Supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses is “central to the work we do in communities across the country,” Chandler added. “It’s incredible to witness the State of Entrepreneurship grow year after year.”

IOOGO co-founder Alballero, who launched her successful tax and accounting company with her husband Josh in 2017, is proud to say they’ve “built a company that is made up of over 65% talented women.”

The Alballeros “get” entrepreneurs. Back before IOOGO was born, the pair struggled to find a tax and accounting firm that provided high-quality business solutions quickly and affordably. So they decided to fill that gap. Today, they say they’ve simplified accounting and other business solutions with tech and experience.

For more of who said what about all things North Texas, check out Every Last Word.

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