The District Incubator to Bring DEC Model to Fair Park Area

The District is a collaboration of The Dallas Entrepreneur Center, the city of Dallas, and the United Methodist Church.

Fair Park

A collaboration between the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, the city of Dallas, and the United Methodist Church will benefit entrepreneurs in the neighborhoods surrounding Fair Park in South Dallas.

The Fair Park District Entrepreneur Center, known as The District, is a business incubator and coworking space that’s based on the model of The DEC. It is expected to open in the spring.

“Some of the best business people are young people, and they happen to live in South Dallas,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said Tuesday at a press conference announcing The District.

The project is being launched under the auspices of The ZIP Code Connection, an initiative of the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church, which is providing initial funding.

“There’s a lot of work to be done, but there’s a lot of progress.”
Mayor Mike Rawlings

The church will work with the city on additional funding once the center is operational.

“There’s a lot of work to be done, but there’s a lot of progress,” Rawlings said.

The ZIP Code Connection’s mission is to eradicate poverty in two ZIP Codes, including 75215 in the South Dallas/Fair Park area, one of the city’s poorest regions.

The District will encompass 5,000 square feet of space at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X boulevards.

The incubator plans to identify potential and existing businesses in the South Dallas/Fair Park areas and provide them with the tools necessary for financial and intellectual growth.

Among the benefits planned at The District are:

  • Tablespace, networking opportunities similar to the 1 Million Cups event series at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center
  • Coworking spaces for community members
  • Individual mentoring and coaching for startups and existing businesses
  • Group business seminars
  • Whiteboard sessions to help entrepreneurs validate their ideas
  • Helping identify and match entrepreneurs with financial and intellectual investors

Organizers said that The District will be staffed with a mix of professional resources from inside the South Dallas Community and the greater Dallas region.

The District is one of five new business incubators in South Dallas that have been announced in recent weeks. Others include The Dallas Entrepreneur Center at Red Bird mall and Tyler Station in the Oak Cliff area.

The Red Bird Entrepreneur Center will be in an office building at 7222 Westmoreland Road, just across the parking lot from the former Southwest Center Mall, now called Red Bird again.

The Red Bird building will serve as the hub for DEC’s Southern Dallas Entrepreneur Network, which will include satellite offices at Paul Quinn College and the University of North Texas at Dallas. The university locations will be led by faculty members and are expected to open in the fall.

Fair Park

Attendees at Tuesday’s event mingle outside the building that will become The District. [Photo by Jana Pruet]

Fair Park

New incubators are planned in South Dallas.

 

Dallas Innovates Executive Editor Jana Pruet contributed to this article.


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