The DEC Network Brings on New Senior Director to Focus on Southern Dallas

Tarsha Hearns, the former director of LiftFund DFW, has been hired by The DEC Network as its senior director of the Southern Dallas ecosystem.

“I really see this role being a face of the small business community in the southern sector, being someone who is going to be a voice, an advocate, and ensure that entrepreneurs get access to the resources that they need,” Hearns told Dallas Innovates.

A Dallas nonprofit is bringing on a new leader to help lift up local entrepreneurs in Southern Dallas.

The DEC Network, an entrepreneurial support and networking organization, announced hiring Tarsha Hearns as its senior director of the Southern Dallas ecosystem, with the goal of making “an economic impact in the communities that need it the most.”

“I really see this role being a face of the small business community in the southern sector, being someone who is going to be a voice, an advocate, and ensure that entrepreneurs get access to the resources that they need,” Hearns told Dallas Innovates.

Hearns would like to see ‘more businesses being started’

In the new role, Hearns will be leading strategic planning for The DEC’s initiatives in the southern part of Dallas, as well as overseeing day-to-day operations of the organization’s Oak Cliff outpost, The [email protected] In addition, she will also manage The DEC’s $1 million Community Navigator SBA Grant.

Hearns said that while startups and small businesses in Southern Dallas need access to capital like any other business, she will be focused on making sure that women and entrepreneurs of color have better access to those resources, in addition to having a voice at the decision-making table.

“If it were a perfect world, I will want entrepreneurs to never have to say, ‘I didn’t know that resource existed,’” Hearns said. “The type of impact that I would like to see is more businesses being started, more jobs created, and businesses generating enough revenue where they can make a significant economic impact in their own communities.”

Hearns recently served as director of LiftFund DFW

Founded in 2013, The DEC opened the doors to The [email protected] in 2018. In addition to providing a space for entrepreneurs to work, connect, and collaborate, the space has played host to numerous pitch competitions and The DEC’s BIG iDEA DALLAS program, which is aimed at helping Black founders bring a business from an idea to a “market-validated business concept.”

Hearns joins The DEC from her previous role as the director of LiftFund DFW, where she oversaw the Women’s Business Center in Dallas, helping more than 70 businesses get off the ground and helping entrepreneurs secure more than $10 million in funding. Hearns also runs The Marketing Lady, a consulting business focused on solo entrepreneurs and small business owners. She takes over from Demetra Brown, who is now a senior program manager at California-based Promise Venture Studio.

“The value that I bring to the table is that I’ve been walking in the shoes [of an entrepreneur] and my shoes are worn,” Hearns said. “I have experienced my own mistakes and challenges, and understand what the needs are. Being aware of what the entrepreneur needs, having strong community relationships can help small businesses become more sustainable and scale.”

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R E A D   N E X T

  • The DEC Network, in partnership with Charles Schwab, is putting out a call for founders of color to apply for its BIG IDEA DALLAS cohort by May 16. It calls the seven-week program a "pre-step" in a founder's journey.

  • Women entrepreneurs—especially those in the tech world—have something to keep them warm at home Thursday during tomorrow's winter storm: The DEC Network’s inaugural, all-virtual Women X Tech event, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., is designed to help women founders from all tech industries connect, learn, and grow their businesses.

  • You'll find deadlines coming up for Dallas Innovates and DCEO Innovation Awards, StartHER grants, the Webby Awards; and many more opportunities. NEW!: Opportunities for women- and minority-owned businesses, Texas-based tech startups, and more.

  • DEC Network CEO Bill Chinn

    The American Rescue Act initiative aims to reduce barriers that underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs often face in accessing the programs they need to recover, grow, or start their businesses. The Dallas Entrepreneur Center will use the grant to engage efforts with six Dallas-area organizations: Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center; LiftFund; TruFund; Dallas College; BCL of Texas; and WiNGS.