Mavs Business Assist program creates ‘opportunity’ for 100 diverse entrepreneurs – The Official Home of the Dallas Mavericks –

by | Oct 10, 2022 | Business

Whether it’s basketball or business, success requires repetition. It requires discipline to show up even if you’re the only one working towards a goal. Success requires the fortitude to push through adversity and trials to chase after destiny.
Perhaps no one understands this more than Mercedes Johnson of Dallas. She is on a mission to launch her new business and create change in her sphere of influence.
So is Keith Fluellen. Erin Prather Stafford, too.
They are among 100 diverse entrepreneurs selected to join the first Dallas Mavericks Business Assist (MBA) program that officially launched last month.
The Mavs partnered with The Lonely Entrepreneur to empower the applicants with “access to knowledge, tools and support they need to succeed.”
Selected applicants gain one year of free access to The Lonely Entrepreneur Learning Community. They will also sit alongside other small business owners at four cohorts throughout the year.
The idea is to build and foster relationships with each other and receive the backing of an NBA franchise.
The Mavs Business Assist is run by a department within the organization called Mavs Take ACTION!
In the summer of 2020, the Mavs created the initiative to address and help alleviate systemic inequities that create disadvantaged communities. The acronym stands for advocacy, communication, training, investment, outreach and noise—because the team isn’t going to remain silent.
The initiative deals explicitly with the underlying racial component of inequity concerning education, employment, housing, foster care and countless other issues.
Mavs Business Assist is still in its infancy, but it’s an exciting new space for the franchise’s future.
Participants arrived at the Dallas Regional Chamber in mid-September for the inaugural Mavs Business Assist event. They were armed with enthusiasm, excitement, and plenty of new business ideas.
The Dallas Mavs, along with various North Texas area Chamber of Commerce organizations, selected the finalists based on their entrepreneurial journey, the mission of their business and other tangible goals they hope to accomplish.
Mercedes Johnson has worked tirelessly to bring her new business — Food Magnet — to life.
She’s won numerous pitch competitions and was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame along with Dallas Mavs governor Mark Cuban last year. She was a scholar; Cuban was honored as a Dallas-business legend.
After Johnson earned her undergraduate degree, she returned to UTD and entered a graduate program concentrating on innovation and entrepreneurship.
That’s when her idea for Food Magnet was born.
“We are getting ready to publicly go to market in January,” Johnson said. “Food Magnet is a double-sided marketplace similar to Uber with the rider and driver sides. What we do is the same concept, but with food trucks. So, you can hunt down your favorite food truck, book them for special events and find discount deals when they have lunch specials. That will be available on the consumer side. We will be more of an end-to-end business solution on the food truck side, helping them run their business.”
Johnson said she’s finishing the final touches on the backend development, an area she feels exceptionally skilled. As a Black woman, she faces other challenges daily, like trying to keep a roof over her head.
“For those nights when I feel like I’m out here alone, it’s opportunities like the Mavs Business Assist that recharge me,” she added. “I’ …

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