Texas is home to 6 of 50 fastest-growing women-owned businesses

Texas is home to six of the nation's 50 fastest-growing women-owned businesses, the Women Presidents' Organization and American Express OPEN announced last week.

The No. 4 company, DeSoto's Warrior Group, owned by Gail Warrior-Lawrence, is a construction services firm and Super Bowl XLV sponsor.

The 46th-ranked company, Parago of Lewisville, owned by Juli Spottiswood, sells sales incentive programs.

Other Texas companies on the list: Integrated Mortgage Solutions, No. 14, Houston; Andra Group, No. 15, Dallas, operator of an online lingerie store; ICON Information Consultants, No. 32, Houston, recruiting; and The Providus Group, No. 43, Houston, legal staffing.

To qualify for the ranking, businesses must be privately owned by women, be based in the United States or Canada, and have reached annual revenue of $500,000 by the first week of 2005 and $2 million in 2009. The ranking was based on a sales growth formula.

The other companies in the top five were a supply chain management company based in New Jersey; a staffing services firm in Illinois; an IT consulting company in New Jersey; and a language services provider in New York.

Ninety-six percent of the companies on the list said they planned to add employees this year.

UNT boot camp

The University of North Texas is putting on an Entrepreneurs Boot Camp this summer for students and others interested in launching businesses.

Classes will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays from July 14 to Aug. 18. Cost is $250 for UNT students and $500 for UNT faculty members and anybody else. The program will accept up to 10 potential businesses, and up to three people per business idea can attend.

UNT's Center for Achievement and Lifelong Learning and Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship are putting on the program.

Tony Mendes, the Murphy Center's director, who came to UNT from the University of Illinois last fall, said the partnership helped keep participants' costs down.

Faculty members and graduate students will help camp participants shape their business plans. At the end of the series, camp participants will pitch their ideas to an expert panel. There will also be "opportunities" for participants to present their ideas to investors.

"They go from concept to actual business plan to presenting it to actual investors for $500," Mendes said. "That's a real bargain."

Mendes expects the workshop to attract participants who are already in the work world, as well as UNT students who have been "tinkering with ideas in their dorm."

Of course, the program doesn't guarantee investment.

"We can't do that," Mendes said. "We just want to expose our businesses to the opportunities."

Deadline to apply is May 7. For applications: Questions: Tony Mendes, 940-565-2848.

A suite deal

The Arlington Highlands lifestyle center in south Arlington has opened the executive suites portion, completing the "work" component to the center, where people can already shop, dine and play.

The office and business facility at the center, at Interstate 20 and Matlock Road, has 65 suites ranging from 120 to 300 square feet, with team and conference rooms, state-of-the-art technology services, upscale kitchen and lounge facilities for employees, administrative support and a lobby.

Thirteen suites have been leased.

ABT Executive Suites will manage and lease the office complex within the shopping center. It manages 10 other executive suites developments in the Metroplex.

"A privileged group of professionals can wake up every morning and go to work at an office facility with great amenities nestled in a vibrant shopping center," David Wilson, president of Connected Development Services, the center's developer, said in a statement. "We knew we had to mirror the quality of the shopping center in the executive suites, and the end result is even more impressive than we expected."

Arlington Highlands is an 80-acre, 800,000-square-foot lifestyle center, one of the largest open-air developments in North Texas.

Frost tops Texas banks

Frost National Bank was the top-rated Texas bank in a J.D. Power and Associates ranking issued last week.

With a score of 829 and faring well in account activities, account information, fees and product offerings, Frost outdid Woodforest National Bank (800) and Capital One (787).

The annual survey is in its fifth year. The average rating is 748 on a 1,000-point scale.

Thirty-seven percent of customers who changed their primary bank in the period covered by the latest survey cited poor customer service, J.D. Power said.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Scott Nishimura, 817-390-7808

Barry Shlachter, 817-390-7718