Mavs Business Assist (MBA), the flagship business development program of Mavs Take ACTION!, recently had its sixth session of the season, featuring Mavs sponsorship partner, ShiftKey.

The unique event featured a panel discussion with ShiftKey leadership, offering valuable insights and knowledge for entrepreneurs and business professionals. The session took place at the Grapevine Chamber of Commerce.

Launched at the start of the season, the MBA program gives 100 minority entrepreneurs representing communities across North Texas the backing of an NBA franchise to support their businesses and dreams.

The Mavs and various community partners, like ShiftKey, meet with MBA members quarterly. The program will culminate with a pitch competition in front of a panel of judges in August.

The local entrepreneurs all have different dreams and pursuits but share a common goal to impact their local communities.

“We take the feedback from our entrepreneurs very seriously, actively seeking their input on how to improve the program and how we can better help them achieve their goals,” said Teddy Graves, founder of Mavs Business Assist. “The Mavs Business Assist program has been everything I could have imagined and more (so far!). There’s always more work to be done.”

Mavs Business Assist Session No. 6 started with a networking hour, followed by encouraging words delivered by Dallas Mavs executive team members. ShiftKey executives then spoke to the entrepreneurs in attendance. ShiftKey panelists included Tom Ellis (Chief Executive Officer), Mike Vitek (Chief Revenue Officer) and Karen Clark (Chief Human Resources Officer).

The conversation focused on several key areas, including company scaling, building and maintaining corporate relationships, team building, and hiring the best fit for a company.

Founded by Tom Ellis in 2016, ShiftKey takes a marketplace approach, creating choices and options for both healthcare facilities looking to fill shifts and independent licensed professionals seeking to work on their own terms.

Since 2016, the model has proved highly successful, equipping thousands of facilities nationwide with the resources, analytics, and network to make strategic workforce decisions at scale while expanding access to work for hundreds of thousands of licensed professionals.

Vitek explained how the partnership with the Mavs was born from a personal mission. His son endured many medical hardships, and the game of basketball was a shining light during a hard period of their lives. They realized that the Dallas Mavs can bring hope to many people in all kinds of ways.

“We got Mavs tickets at that point in time because we wanted to enjoy his health,” Vitek shared with the audience. “We then met [the Mavs corporate team], and everything aligned well. What we wanted to do was give back. We [at ShiftKey] aligned with many of the same values of the Mavericks. We had a purpose and were driven towards that, so all the plans aligned.”

The Mavs and Shiftkey, a Texas-based technology company, announced a multi-year partnership in August 2022. With this partnership, the companies will focus on making a meaningful difference in North Texas. They worked together throughout the season on various projects, including the Mavs Vault at the State Fair, hospital visits for healthcare workers, the Mavs Ball and events honoring single moms in the community.

The MBA event was an extension of the work the organizations do together during the season.

“The Dallas Mavericks have built an incredible organization, and it’s exciting to be able to align with the team as their Official Partner,” Ellis said at the time. “Our company has seen tremendous growth over the past year, and part of what makes me proudest is the ability to give back. Seeing the Mavericks leadership and presence in the community inspired us to partner so that together we can make a meaningful difference.”

The Mavs Business Assist program is designed to provide networking resources and equitable support to diverse local entrepreneurs through professional development workshops and other activities.

Graves says the Mavs have an all-hands-on-deck support system that will only grow in the coming years.

“The Mavs Business Assist program has certainly been a source of pride for me and the entire Mavs Take ACTION! Team,” he shared. sat down with Graves to learn more.

What were some personal highlights for you during Session No. 6?

Some personal highlights for me during this session included observing the network happy hour and seeing how close the cohort has become over the course of the year. When comparing the engagement levels among MBA members, it’s clear to see how this community has grown organically. Another highlight for me was Daisha Board’s vulnerability as she explained how Mavs Business Assist has helped her art gallery both fiscally through the MBA Fast-Pitch competition and personally through the confidence that the program has instilled in her. Her tears brought tears to many in the room. Another highlight was Tiffany Jones speaking to me after the event and declaring this her favorite event. We at MBA always want the next event to be the best, and Tiffany’s positive feedback was a great sign. The panelists’ firsthand experiences with the ebbs and flows of growing a business, such as ShiftKey, made for an intimate setting that was informative and inspiring.

We have some amazingly talented minority entrepreneurs from creative and diverse backgrounds. What did you learn from them this season?

I feel like I learn something new every time I interact with the entrepreneurs. From this session, I learned how powerful a community of like-minded entrepreneurs can be. No matter the question or specific topic, they put themselves in each other’s shoes as entrepreneurs who are on an everlasting quest for improvement.

Finally, what can we expect for year two, and what do applicants need to know?

GRAVES: Year 2 will build off of the incredible foundation that our first cohort has set. We can expect Year 2 to be bigger, better, and grander. There will be much more information, but applicants should know that the MBA Year 2 application will be launched in June.

To learn more about the program, click here.

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