The Dallas Entrepreneur Center is another step closer to realizing its expansion plans for southern Dallas with a recent investment from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.
The $600,000 grant from the regional EDA office in Austin will be used for operational and programming expenses at the DEC’s forthcoming centers at Red Bird Mall, University of North Texas at Dallas, and Paul Quinn College.
“We commend the Dallas Entrepreneur Center on their strategy to support local entrepreneurs as they scale their businesses.”
“We commend the Dallas Entrepreneur Center on their strategy to support local entrepreneurs as they scale their businesses,” said Dennis Alvord, the EDA’s deputy assistant secretary for regional affairs, in a release.
The DEC has previously received funding from corporations, but this EDA grant will be its first from a government organization, DEC Co-founder Trey Bowles said.
Bowles believes it demonstrates the government’s commitment to entrepreneurs and will hopefully spur support for programs similar to the DEC across the country.
“What we are doing is being able to show a platform and a strategy for entrepreneur center building that will work in any geographic or socioeconomic community,” Bowles told Dallas Innovates.
The DEC currently operates locations in Dallas’ West End, Addison, Denton, and San Antonio.
ENTRY INTO SOUTHERN DALLAS ON TRACK FOR FALL
It announced plans to move into southern Dallas earlier this year and hired Michelle Williams, a former director of the Dallas nonprofit Leadership ISD, to serve as executive director for the new locations.
“We think there are some amazing entrepreneurs specifically in southern Dallas and Oak Cliff and all across the southern sector,” Bowles said. “We want to make sure we are offering the same tools and resources that we are offering in North Dallas.”
He expects the DEC’s entry into a lower-income area of the city will create 250 jobs and prompt $1.25 million in private investment.
“In the first one and a half years of our existence, companies out of the DEC accounted for almost 1,000 jobs,” Bowles said. “This grant is going to get us into the position where we can help companies in southern Dallas create jobs, too.”
“This grant is going to get us into the position where we can help companies in southern Dallas create jobs, too.”
The new centers at Red Bird, UNT-Dallas, and Paul Quinn are slated to open their doors later this year.
In the meantime, the DEC is working on programs and establishing relationships in the community. The public can get a sneak peek of the Red Bird Entrepreneur Center design plan and learn about its operational vision during an event to be announced in the next few weeks.
The DEC also is collaborating with leaders at UNT-Dallas and Paul Quinn to retrofit spaces into dedicated entrepreneur centers. At those locations, operations will primarily focus on students, but programming will open up to the larger community a few times a semester, Bowles said.
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