The Mavs Business Assist program launched at the start of the 2022-23 basketball season to support 100 diverse entrepreneurs and small business owners who call North Texas home.
Here at the Mavs, we believe in the power of storytelling, and it’s our honor to showcase various MBA members throughout the year to highlight their extraordinary accomplishments.
This week we visited with a local teacher and entrepreneur who is revolutionizing the esports industry!
The Dallas Mavericks have a diverse cast of business entrepreneurs for the inaugural class of the Mavs Business Assist program. Kyle Cheung is the founder and CEO of OpenWorld Gaming, and his business provides North Texans with a family-friendly gaming space that is welcoming to all.
OpenWorld Gaming provides opportunities for high school students to gain real-world experience that will give them post-secondary opportunities. The business was created to eventually open a video gaming cafe, but for now, Cheung hosts after-school events, parties, mobile tournaments and more. The business also has after-school programs.
“As a teacher, I know how popular gaming is with the younger generation,” Cheung said. “With the after-school programming, I am currently collaborating with several recreation centers around the city of Dallas. Right now, our program consists of us bringing in gaming consoles to the centers and letting students free-play games of their choice.”
Cheung said OpenWorld can host birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, weddings and more! The sky really is the limit!
“We are more affordable than gaming trucks, so if the space and location allow, we have all the necessary equipment to support any type of parties,” Cheung said. “If there is an ask, I will do everything I can do to accommodate!”
Cheung joined Mavs Business Assist to network and meet other business owners, plus getting to meet NBA legend and Mavs ambassador Rolando Blackman is a great benefit!
Cheung said his wife Melissa is one of his greatest inspirations and she pushes him to reach high and dream big.
“None of this is possible without my wife, Melissa,” Cheung said. “It was our shared idea, and she is my partner in everything we do. She listens and provides ideas, works in managing our team, and her unwavering support pushes me to be better in everything I do. She is my rock and foundation, and none of this would even be remotely possible without her in my life.”
The Dallas Mavericks recently talked to Kyle about his business and hopes for the future.
KYLE: I was born in New Jersey but grew up in Hong Kong for seven years before coming back to the United States and settling in Houston. The move happened when the Rockets were winning championships and that was my introduction to the NBA and the sport of basketball. I picked up the sport quickly and the game has had an impact on my everyday life ever since.
Once I graduated from high school, I attended Baylor University (Sic em Bears!) where I met my wife. That relationship ultimately took me to Memphis, Tennessee and into the teaching profession where I taught math and helped coach basketball. In 2017, we relocated to the DFW area for my wife’s job. We have been planting roots here ever since and living our best life with our two corgis Waffles and Chaco.
Growing up in Houston and following the Rockets introduced me to the Mavericks through their rivalries. Those playoff series in the mid 2000’s were legendary and watching both teams battle it out made me respect the Mavericks especially players like Dirk Nowitzki. I was an NBA season ticket holder in Memphis with the Grizzlies and upon our move here, my wife and I got season tickets with the Mavericks and have become MFFL! Going to games and watching Luka do amazing things these past couple of years has been an amazing experience. I am fortunate to have the Mavs around in my life!
KYLE: Gaming has been a big part of my life ever since I was young. Growing up in Hong Kong, I would go to arcades with my friends after school and would play for hours and hours before going home. That evolved into console gaming, with me owning a Game Boy, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, that allowed me to game at home. I can’t remember a time in my life where gaming was not a part of my daily routine.
I developed a passion or love of video games when I realized that I was good at them and could use gaming to hang out and make friends. I remembered when my brother and I got a Nintendo 64 and started inviting friends over to our place as the system allowed you the ability to play with four players at once. Golden Eye, Smash Bros, and Mario Kart were just some of the games that were influential in my passion and love of gaming. Even to this day with my busy schedule, I try to take time out of the day to play games such as NBA 2K, FIFA, and open world RPGS.
KYLE: The idea for OpenWorld was born when my wife and I were visiting friends and families back in Asia in December of 2019. I remember taking her to video game bars and arcades that I had gone to when I was younger, and we were like we could do something here like this back home in Dallas.
DFW has lots of gaming arcades, but they are primarily bars that cater to a more adult demographics. Our goal and concept are that it will be a gaming café that will be focused on being family friendly. I want our café to be kid and family friendly as I developed a love of gaming at an early age and want others to have that same experience. Our concept will be a café that will allow customers to reserve a living room where we will provide them with a gaming console of their choice and allow them a place outside of their home to spend time with their friends. Ultimately, our goal would be to expand from console gaming and offer customers the ability to choose games of their choice, from board games to virtual reality.
Those are just some of the differences that will make us unique in the gaming space here in DFW.
That idea is still in the works as I am looking to secure funding that will allow me to open a physical location.
The idea was also born as a method to provide my students with a job opportunity. A couple of months after we came back from Asia, the pandemic happened, and school went completely virtual. I remember not being able to get in touch with students and found out that they were working to support their families. Some even asked if I knew any places that were hiring. I did my best to connect and support my students during this time but wanted to do more and that’s when I started small business classes with the goal of providing opportunities to my students that needed it.
That became a reality the summer of 2022 when I started my summer programming with the city of Dallas. I hired 15 of my former students part time and were able to provide them with jobs and experiences. This continues as I have them helping me with my afterschool programs. They are the foundation of the business, and I would not be able to do this without their contributions and support.
KYLE: To be honest, I haven’t encountered many challenges as a minority. If I do have to pick one, I did have a challenge finding support for Asian-American businesses owners. I was ultimately referred by a friend to the National ACE organization that provided a lot of support for me.
The highlights for me so far have been being able to connect with the community around the DFW area and serving them. My summer camps took me to parts of town where the Asian population is smaller. Through video games, I was able to make connections and serve those communities. I can’t wait to go back this summer and continue the relationships our team has developed there.
What keeps me going are my students. As I reference earlier, one of the reasons I opened the business was to provide my students with job experiences. I want the business to succeed so that I can give them every opportunity to be successful as they transition to being young adults. I share with them any success of this business as they are instrumental in making my dream a reality.
KYLE: So right now, OpenWorld is still a plan in progress as we are working on a physical location. So, in ten years, the café will be opened and serve everyone around the DFW area. The café will have a strong coffee and food program. Our living rooms are easy to reserve and accommodating for customers that are looking to game and hang out. My wife and I are huge pickleballers and will look to have a couple of indoor pickleball courts at our gaming facilities.
If I were to dream, there will be multiple locations that will be managed by former students of mine with expansion in other cities as a possibility.
KYLE: Yeah! As a teacher I know how popular gaming is with the younger generation. With the after-school programming, I am currently collaborating with several recreation centers around the city of Dallas.
Right now, our program consists of us bringing in gaming consoles to the centers and letting students free-play games of their choice. Our staff can teach the students games to play or allow the students to play amongst themselves. All our games are age appropriate, and we try to provide a structured gaming environment where children ages 5-13 can have a safe space to game. Ideally, once we open a physical location, we would look to duplicate that at our gaming café.
I can do birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, weddings! If you have a space, we have the equipment! We are more affordable than gaming trucks so if the space and location allow, we have all the necessary equipment to support any type of parties. If there is an ask, I will do everything I can do to accommodate!
KYLE: I decided to join Mavs Business Assist (MBA) because I needed some assistance on the finer details as a first-time business owner. I had a sense of direction as to what I needed to do for the business but was lost at times. When the opportunity came about, I was like why not as I could use the support and the MBA has been so helpful with the support they have provided.
One of the highlights has been connecting with other participants in the MBA. I have connected with a couple of other MBAer’s that will allow me to grow and serve the DFW community. Connecting with other business owners in the community has been the most helpful part of the program.
Additionally, I still can’t believe I got to meet Rolando Blackmon. As a lifelong NBA fan, it was so cool to shake hands with an NBA legend.
KYLE: Yes! On the gaming side, I am planning on having a Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournament sometime in February/March and will be posting all our tournaments information on Instagram @openworld_dfw.
We will also be doing summer camps with the city of Dallas so look for us at various recreation centers from June-August!
Additionally, I am looking to secure a food permit and will be looking to serve our food items at various pop-up markets around the city. As a Hong Konger, I will be doing Bubble Waffles and Cantonese style French-toast as the first food items! If those sound interesting, be sure to check us out! I am anticipating doing the markets hopefully around late March, early April.
KYLE: Please follow us at our Instagram for all information! I am hopeful that it will be a busy year for us.
KYLE: None of this is possible without my wife, Melissa. It was our shared idea, and she is my partner in everything we do. She listens and provides ideas, works in managing our team and her unwavering support pushes me to be better in everything I do. She is my rock and foundation and none of this would even be remotely possible without her in my life.
Additionally, my parents are the ones who paved the way for me to do this. As an Asian-American growing up, they were not the tiger parents that were prevalent in our culture. They never told me I had to do this one thing, but rather supported me in every choice that I made and encouraged me when I had second thoughts on many of my important life decisions. They showed me love and sacrifice is a necessary human quality and that being nice to others and doing the right thing is what you should strive to do in your life. They provided me with the blueprint on how to treat and love others.
Lastly, shoutout to my buddies Devin Li of Cha Community in Waco/Temple and Sherman Yeung of Tobiuo Sushi/MoneyCat in Houston. They navigated opening a business first and provided me with so much knowledge that is allowing me to be a better business owner. Without both of them none of this is happening.
KYLE: Yes! Follow us on Instagram @openworld_dfw! Look out for our tournaments, our food at pop-up markets, and DM us if you would like to collaborate with us! I am looking forward to continuing to serve the DFW community!