DEC Network, long known for its entrepreneurial activity in Dallas, will head west to Fort Worth to operate a new center aimed at supporting small business owners and start-ups.
The Fort Worth Regional Development Corporation has approved $500,000 over two years to establish the Fort Worth Entrepreneurship Center, which will be operated by the DEC network beginning in August, according to the Fort Worth report.
The center will be tentatively located at 400 Bryan Avenue, Near Southside, in the same building as Roots Coffee.
News arrives as DEC Network prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary
The news comes as DEC Network is approaching its 10th anniversary and working to build its newest innovation hub in Dallas. Red Bird Innovation Center.
According to the Fort Worth report, the city of Fort Worth has struggled to create more businesses than other large cities in the state, lagging behind Dallas, Austin, Houston and San Antonio in the number of businesses created.
But Fort Worth is working to change that statistic. Earlier this month, the city received a rating from WalletHub as the best place to start a business, ranking him among the top cities in Texas and among the 100 best cities in the United States based on business environment, access to resources and cost of doing business. was ranked ninth.
Booming Fort Worth Seeks More Entrepreneurial Support
The city is also working to rebuild its business support center.
Robert Stearns, director of economic development at Fort Worth, visited DEC’s center in Redbird, south of Dallas, several years ago to meet with CEO Bill Chin.
“I just went there and met Bill and saw the business,” Stearns said at a Regional Development Corporation meeting in March, according to the Fort Worth report. “And I think that was really the first discussion of how we could get something like this in Fort Worth.”
Stearns told the Fort Worth Report that the city has grown significantly since the Business Assistance Center was established, and at the time it made sense to have one center to support businesses.
However, rapid growth had increased the city’s population to about 935,508 and needed more help.
“We have to encourage more of this kind of activity across our community,” Stearns said. “It’s going to be very important.”
Help Trey Bowles take the lead
DEC Network co-founder and former CEO Trey Bowles told the Fort Worth Report that he shared with the city how the organization established the center in the past. Mr. Bowles serves on the City of Fort Worth’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Commission and is Chairman Emeritus of the DEC Network.
“We felt like this was important, so we could build this in different cities and found it really, really helpful, and the city of Fort Worth wanted it,” Bowles said. “I came up and said, I will help you share how we did this and what you have done before. but they thought it was great to make it happen.”
Bowles, managing director of Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator, said he will be a paying tenant for the new center.
DEC is focused on building businesses, including coaching, community, networking, fundraising and finding new customers for business, Bowles said. According to DEC Network, the Fort Worth Entrepreneurship Center will host workshops, events, pitch contests, and a network of mentors to help those who visit the center.
withdraw more investment funds
According to the organization’s latest impact report, those with offices in the DEC network in 2022 raised more than $15 million.
DEC Network says that anyone who actually wants to set up an office in the center will have to pay a fee. However, the curriculum on business, teaching and events is free.
DEC Network CEO Chinn said he sees the network as a kind of incubator program.
“We have no illusions that our curriculum will accelerate any business,” Chin said. “But what we’ve seen is that when you put people inside the same wall, inside an event, not just a collaborative situation, you find your own capital, find your future partner, find your own Finding people who can really accelerate growth. Growth.”
Mr. Chin also told the Fort Worth Report that he would like to have more investment capital, which is essential for fast-growing companies.
To help Fort Worth attract more local startup funding, Chin said he wants to bridge the gap for DFW investors to focus on Fort Worth startups.
“There are some incredibly exciting investment opportunities,” he said. “And for some reason, we’re flying people from Dallas to San Francisco to find and deploy capital. They don’t have to fly to San Francisco. They just drive straight down the street. It’s okay.”
Aiming to be the “first center among many”
FUSE Fellow Kay West, who has studied ways to better support Fort Worth small businesses, said DEC sees it as part of the solution to help Fort Worth businesses.
West said the location of the Near South Side, central Fort Worth, may exclude some communities.
“This is great for groups of people, but certain groups of people don’t necessarily go there, and they may not,” West said. “And what about everyone else? What about other people who don’t have transportation or even go to the Near South Side?”
Chin told the Fort Worth Report that no organization can meet all the needs of the business community, and that’s where collaboration fits in.
Bowles also told the Fort Worth Report that he has high hopes for the organization to grow in Fort Worth.
“Entrepreneurs everywhere need help,” Bowles said. “Our hope is that this is the first of many centers and there is no reason why the program should not go out of space.”
Please put it on the list.
Dallas innovates every day.
Sign up for daily updates on what’s new in Dallas/Fort Worth and what’s next.