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KERNEL 2017 Gets Under Way

United Way is beginning the second year of KERNEL, its social innovation program designed to fund new and innovative programs that can make a lasting impact in the community in the areas of education, income and health. Last year, three organizations received awards totaling $35,000 plus additional benefits.

United Way (UWTC) and the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center (BAC) are joining forces again this year to provide opportunities for local entrepreneurs and social innovators. The BAC’s Business Plan Competition will offer prize packages for the top applicants who develop a business plan or enhance an existing plan that will reflect improvement in their market competitiveness and an increase in their bottom line.

UWTC and the BAC held a joint information session on June 1 so entrepreneurs, startups and social innovators in the community could learn details about both the Fort Worth Business Plan Competition and the KERNEL social innovation program. KERNEL notices of intent to apply are due Friday, June 23, and the KERNEL application deadline is Friday, July 7. Learn more by visiting

KERNEL LIVE! will return this year. During this live pitch event in front of an audience, community investors will hear from a select group of finalists who will pitch their new or innovative solutions. At the end of the evening, awards will be announced and given out. Open to the public, KERNEL LIVE! will be held on November 2, 2017, at the Four Day Weekend theatre, 312 Houston in downtown Fort Worth.

Twenty-five businesses will be accepted into the BAC Business Plan Competition and will compete through several rounds beginning June 27th through October 19th. An award ceremony will be held on October 26, 2017, where 3 prizes will be awarded based on final business plans, presentations and feedback from judges. Applications to enter were due on Friday, June 16th, 2017. For more information, visit

United Way is also pleased to continue its partnership with Tech Fort Worth, an entrepreneurial startup incubator that has been championing innovation and technology for almost 20 years. Tech Fort Worth will continue to provide leadership, mentoring and program support throughout Year 2 of KERNEL.

These partnerships give individuals, organizations and businesses the opportunity to receive the benefits of competing in both competitions and benefits from all three organizations.