Science and Technology

Tech Ticker: Pitch Competition Awarding a Free Year of Flights on Southwest

The latest news from the Addison TreeHouse, AT&T, CBRE's tech study, and the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center.

Southwest Airlines has teamed up with the Addison TreeHouse for a competition that will award a woman or minority entrepreneur in North Texas one year of free travel. The TreeHouse, a coworking space founded by the Town of Addison and the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, will manage the Southwest Airlines Soar to Success Business Competition. Local startup experts will judge all the applications to pick four finalists, who will pitch in front of a live audience and a panel of judges in September. The winner will receive up to 24 e-passes on Southwest Airlines and will be expected to share their year of travel on Southwest online media channels.

Dallas-based Cornbread Hustle, a startup led by Cheri Garcia, is one of the 10 finalists competing for a $50,000 grand prize as part of AT&T’s Agility Challenge. The contest invited small business across America to explain what agility means to them and how the grand prize could help them be more agile. More than 1,000 businesses responded. Cornbread Hustle, which aims to aid prison inmates’ transition back into society by teaching them entrepreneurship skills. The startup is the only Texas company chosen as a finalist. Judges and the public will choose five winners, who will be announced Aug. 1. Online voting ends July 26.

Dallas-Fort Worth ranks sixth in the nation for its tech talent, according to a recent report released by CBRE. The Scoring Tech Talent report, released last week by CBRE, gave DFW a score of 59.95, which is based on 13 metrics to gauge the ability to attract and grow tech talent pools. Dallas followed Austin, which took the No. 5 spot on the list, with a score of 60.99. The San Francisco Bay Area took the top spot, followed by Washington, D.C., Seattle, and New York. DFW had a total of 162,060 tech occupations in 2015, representing a 38 percent increase from 2010. The majority of those jobs were in computer support and database and systems. During 2013-2014 school year, 5,010 students completed tech degrees, with the majority in computer engineering. About 77 percent of tech talent in the region is male.

The Fort Worth Business Assistance Center has appointed a new coordinator. Michael B McClinton, a former business instructor at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois, will coordinate programming and activities for the center. McClinton comes from an entrepreneurial background, having started businesses in various industries including real estate, retail, construction and transportation. He also spent nearly seven years with The Northern Trust Co.