Dallas Mayor Appoints Its Inaugural Entrepreneur-in-Residence

Nina Vaca, the CEO of Pinnacle Group, will help diversify Dallas’ tech sector with this role.

Written by Abel Rodriguez
Published on Nov. 09, 2021
Dallas Mayor Appoints Its Inaugural Entrepreneur-in-Residence
Dallas-Forth Worth  Entrepreneur-in-Residence - Nina Vaca
Photo: Shutterstock

What does it take to craft a tech hub? Innovative startups are a must. Entrepreneurial attraction is built over time. But one aspect often overlooked is guidance.

On Tuesday, the City of Dallas announced the appointment of its inaugural Entrepreneur-in-Residence. The role was established in order to continue guiding the city’s tech innovations, and further cement Dallas as a major tech hub in the United States. 

Nina Vaca, the founder and CEO of workforce solutions startup Pinnacle Group, was appointed to the position by Mayor Eric Johnson. According to a prepared statement, Vaca will provide counsel to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the city. 

“I have no doubt that as our first-ever Entrepreneur-in-Residence, [Vaca] will offer incredible insight to our city government and to our aspiring and diverse community of startup leaders. Together, with Nina’s help, we can ensure Dallas takes its rightful place as an internationally recognized and inclusive hub for innovation and entrepreneurship,” Mayor Johnson said in the statement. 

Vaca’s appointment fulfills a major point from Major Johnson’s Task Force on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The task force called for the creation of both an Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Venture Capitalist-in-Residence to help lead the team. According to the report, the creation of the two roles will provide guidance on how to support and attract startups, entrepreneurs and innovative projects to the city. 

The task force report, released earlier this year, also called for the creation of a mentorship program for nascent startups and the establishment of five incubators in different “innovation zones” across the city.

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Vaca is a Latina entrepreneur who started Pinnacle in 1996. Since then she has grown the company with offices in Denver and Philadelphia, as well as offices in eight other countries. Vaca has gained several recognitions over the years and was also appointed Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship by the White House.

“Pinnacle Group is living proof that Dallas is a great place to start and run a scalable, sustainable, high-growth business,” Vaca said in a statement. “There has never been a greater need nor a better opportunity for innovative, agile entrepreneurs to make Dallas their home. As Dallas’s first Entrepreneur-in-Residence, I am committed to advancing Dallas as a leader in this area to attract, retain and support more startup companies.”

According to the mayor’s office, one of Vaca’s priorities alongside attracting startups to the city will be to increase diversity in Dallas’ tech sector. 

“As a female entrepreneur and a woman of color, [Vaca] knows firsthand the challenges we need to address in order to ensure Dallas is one of the top cities for underrepresented entrepreneurs, especially women and people of color,” Task Force on Innovation and Entrepreneurship co-chair Mandy Price said in a statement.

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