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Fort Worth Chamber hosts Leaders Online: Startup Resources

Posted on: 03/24/2020

FORT WORTH, TX – The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce welcomed Cameron Cushman, Director of Innovation Ecosystems at UNT Health Science Center and founder of Sparkyard, for its fourth Leaders Online today.

In his current position, Cushman works to improve and connect the entrepreneurial ecosystem for innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs and investors in Fort Worth.

Cushman highlighted Sparkyard, a platform that connects entrepreneurs to resources that will help launch or scale their companies. From developing a business plan to funding a vision, Sparkyard offers an abundance of tools and resources for entrepreneurs and startups to jumpstart their businesses or ensure success.

Cushman shared valuable insight about previous economic downturns and the opportunities they created. Half of the current Fortune 500 companies were founded during a recession or bear market, including Microsoft, Intel, Dell, Home Depot, Staples, and Charles Schwab. While Fortune has the largest companies, Ink 5000 has the fastest-growing companies, and about half of Ink 5000’s companies were also founded during a recession, including Airbnb, Uber, WhatsApp, Github, Slack, and Square & Stripe during the 2008-2009 recession.

“Small businesses are the backbone of this community,” said Brandom Gengelbach, President of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, “We want them to prosper and succeed and I think Leaders Online is a fantastic way to reach some of our smaller businesses who might be struggling right now.”

Cushman closed with a few key takeaways that are pertinent for individual businesses:

  • Take advantage of resources: “If you’re not, you’re doing something wrong. Use them. They are for YOU,” said Cushman.
  • Make lemons: Make the most of the current situation. Cushman made a reference to local distilleries that have shifted to making hand sanitizer during the shortages. “They’re solving a huge problem in our supply chain right now,” Cushman said, “What are creative ways that you can continue business operations while helping our community?”
  • Prepare for pent up demand on the other side: “We’re going to be so sick of being at home. Restaurants are going to explode when we go back,” said Cushman.
  • Use your time wisely. What can you do to prepare? What projects have you been putting off that you now have the time for?
  • Take action on that side hustle: Write that business plan. Move that ball forward. Focus your energy on that something else.

Watch the full video here.

Leaders Online, an alternative to in-person programming, was created to assist Fort Worth Chamber members with obstacles related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders Online features industry experts via virtual livestreams to answer questions and guide local employers in situations they’re likely not familiar with, associated with COVID-19.

The Chamber will host Robert Sturns, Economic Development Director for the City of Fort Worth on Wednesday, March 25 at 2:00 pm CST to discuss Fort Worth programming and resources.


About the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce

The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, with 1,700 member businesses, is one of the largest chambers in the North Texas region. Through its core functions of business attraction and retention, talent development, small business and entrepreneur support, and government advocacy, the Chamber’s vision is to drive the Fort Worth region to be the most thriving, inviting community for all. Contact the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce at (817) 338-2491 or visit

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