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Economic Story

Dallas-Fort Worth’s initial economy relied on farming, the Fort Worth Stockyards, and its strategic location on Native American trade routes. Notably, Fort Worth’s collection of cowboys and rangers gave rise to its reputation as the place “Where the West began.”  The DFW story accelerated in the 1870s when several rail lines opened up access to the country and the region became the largest inland cotton market in the world.

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Watch Ruben Mauricio make the winning pitch at our Returning Citizens pitch competition.

Watch our investment partner Jaylon Smith explain his commitment to closing the investment gap for minority entrepreneurs.

Upcoming Events


Minority Entrepreneurship

Dallas Cowboys at The Star; Frisco, TX

On July 10, 2020, Commonwealth will co-host the MEI Texas Showcase featuring:

  • $350,000 in impact investing capital
  • 147 minority entrepreneurs competing from 42 Texas cities
  • 30+ companies qualifying for the MEI Texas Marketplace totaling over $13 million in deal flow

Guest sharks on July 10 include Jaylon Smith (Dallas Cowboys), Torii Hunter (former MLB All Star), Tom Dowling (Goldman Sachs), Scott Everett (S2 Systems), and Roland Parrish (Parrish Restaurants).


Returning Citizens

Houston Country Club; Houston

In the fall of 2020, PEP and Commonwealth with host the 2nd annual Barbed Wire to Business Accelerator pitch competition on the historic Rice University campus in Houston. Here PEP alumni entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses to investors.

Past Events


Returning Citizens

George W. Bush Presidential Library; Dallas

RPM Diesel Repair

FSO Construction & Management

Cherokee Acres Homes

On November 20th, 2019, PEP hosted the “Barbed Wire to Business Accelerator—Fueling Growth through Impact Investing” at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. The event showcased three Prison Entrepreneurship Program graduate-owned companies.  Sharks included Mark Holden (Koch Industries), Biggs Burke (record executive and film producer), Doug Deason (Dallas investor), and Joe Horford (PEP Pennsylvania founder).

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