‘The Upstart Entrepreneurs’: Locals Recognized on the Third Installment of the Forbes Next 1000

Here are the North Texas entrepreneurs who made the Fall cohort of the first-ever Next 1000, which spotlights resilient founders with under $10 million in revenue or funding who 'redefining the American Dream' amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the beginning of 2021, Forbes launched its Next 1000 initiative to spotlight entrepreneurs and small business owners across the country who are battling to survive—and thrive—amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The year-round program, which highlights those with under $10 million in revenue or funding, has released periodic installments of “sole proprietors, self-funded shops, and pre-revenue startups” that represent the country’s resilience and adaptability.

By the time the entire list is released, the first-of-its-kind list will boast “1,000 new faces with a running start to one day land on the cover of Forbes.”

The third installment was just released as a Fall 2021 class of 250 entrepreneurs.

Each entrepreneur is nominated for the chance at a spot, then selected by a group of top business executives and successful founders. Forbes says they are all proof that American entrepreneurship is bold, vibrant, and on its way to success—even in the face of the “new normal.”

The Forbes Next 1000: North Texas

Here’s a roundup of the locals who have made the list so far, courtesy of Forbes, along with their industry and location in North Texas.

Art & Style

Daniel Mofar

Daniel Mofor, Founder of Don Morphy, Dallas
Monique Little, Founder of You Go Natural, Dallas

Consulting & HR

Danielle Bertrand, Founder of It’s Go Time, Forney
Jene Denise Huginnie, Founder of Impact Focus, Frisco

Consumer Technology

Deah Berry Mitchell, Founder of Nostalgia Black, Dallas


Jay Veal

Jay Veal, Founder of It’s Not Complicated Education, Dallas
Kewanta Brooks, Founder of Elite Kids TV, Frisco
Chris Hoffmann, Founder of The Ambitious VET Network, Frisco

Enterprise Technology

Abu Sadeq, Founder of Zartech, Dallas


Dennis Cail, co-founder and CEO of Zirtue

Dennis Cail, Co-Founder of Zirtue, Dallas

Food & Drink

Victor Garcia, Co-Founder of SolDias, Fort Worth

Healthcare & Science

Anthara Patrice [Photo: courtesy]

Anthara Patrice, Founder of Think Safe, Dallas
James Griffin, Founder of Invene Dallas
Brian Dixon, Owner of Mindful, Fort Worth

Law & Policy

Chanel Christoff Davis, partner Davis Davis & Harmon [Image: Courtesy]

Chanel Christoff Davis, Founder of Davis Davis & Harmon, Dallas

Manufacturing & Industry

ShantaQuilette D. Carter-Williams, Co-Founder of Thrive Innovations, Cedar Hill
Chad Roberts, Founder of Smith Lawn Care, Midlothian

Marketing & Advertising

Justin Tarin, Founder of Visionary Playground, Dallas

Media & Entertainment

Brittani Hunter

Brittani Hunter, Founder of Mogul Millennial, Dallas

Retail & Ecommerce

Stephanie Weibring, Founder of Joy Creative Shop, Dallas
Monisha Edwards, Founder of Scent & Fire Candle, Dallas
Mike Williams, Founder of ExcelHealth, Fort Worth
Deepika Pillai, Founder of Kula Village, Frisco
Asha Kangralkar, Co-Founder of AVACRAFT, Plano


Stephone Coward [Courtesy photo]

Stephone Coward, Co-Founder of BankBlackUSA, Grand Prairie
Ernanda White, Founder of Black Girls Drone, Lewisville

The latest roundup, according to Forbes, is evidence of optimism. Following the first wave of the pandemic, the Census Bureau saw that new business applications grew by 41 percent, which surpassed the traditional post-recession uptick. Comparatively, COVID-19 brought an unemployment rate of 14.8 percent, the highest it’s been since the Great Depression.

Good news and bad news

“There’s some good news and bad news,” Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and a Forbes Next 1000 judge, told the publication. “The good news is that fewer small businesses remained closed at 18 percent, down from 24 percent in February. But the bad news is that women and people of color-led small businesses remain the hardest hit.” 

Facebook recently released a Global State of Small Business Report that noted 20 percent of women-led small businesses have been closed since February in comparison to 16 percent of those led by men. And, those led by underrepresented groups were at least 50 percent “more likely to be closed or to have lower sales as compared to this time last year,” Forbes says.

Philip Gaskin, the Kauffman Foundation’s vice president of Entrepreneurship and another judge, remains hopeful. He told Forbes it’s “these resilient entrepreneurs who are best suited to create the companies to solve these challenges.”

Call for nominations

Forbes is still putting out a call for nominations to round out the list, and aims to continue highlighting a variety of regions, businesses, and industries. Apply here.

The Next 1000 semi-finalists are evidence of that: On the list, 60 percent identify as a person of color and 56 percent as female.

The publication says that for now, “entrepreneurs will need to remain resilient” and “embrace the digitalization that has helped them adapt.”

Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.

Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.

One quick signup, and you’re done.
View previous emails.

R E A D   N E X T