When you think of Dallas, what are the first things that come to mind? Some people think of the Dallas Cowboys, the popular TV show “Dallas,” or the airport that is on track to become America’s second-largest by 2022. But who thinks of Dallas as a thriving entrepreneurial hub?
People don’t consider the fact that Dallas is home to 18 Fortune 500 companies. 10,000 businesses have corporate headquarters here, and organizations such as Microsoft, PepsiCo, Samsung, and Ericsson have a major presence in the region. Close to 50 major restaurants are based in Dallas-Fort Worth, and there is an abundance of local high-tech talent here, too. What about the fact that Dallas is the fifth-largest market for self-employed workers and home to more than 25 billionaires who have chosen to reside and build companies here?
I bet you didn’t know that approximately 19,000 new businesses are started in Dallas each year. Jn the past six months, we’ve gone from one accelerator (top 10-ranked Tech Wildcatters) to five accelerators across the region. We’ve grown from five coworking spaces to more than 12—and growing daily. Startup incubators, university entrepreneur programs, and other entrepreneur support systems are sprouting up across the region every month. This city is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity.
Last Wednesday marked the six-month anniversary of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center.
The DEC (pronounced “deck”), as it is affectionately referred to, launched nationally as a central hub for startup activity in the region. Offering education, training, mentorship, incubation, shared space, promotional opportunities, and access to capital, the DEC serves as a launch pad for entrepreneurs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and is one of a myriad of startup support organizations determined to put Dallas on the map.
This week, the DEC announced several new initiatives in Dallas, all built around supporting entrepreneurship and creating a more collaborative community in the nation’s “largest geographical entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Chief among them is the DEC’s partnership with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to provide support to entrepreneurs as they seek advice and counsel on obtaining patents around intellectual property, products, and services. Through this agreement, representatives from USPTO will make trips to Dallas to sit down with entrepreneurs and walk them through the best way to protect and leverage IP for startups. This opportunity creates substantial value and differentiation for the businesses launching here.
The DEC also announced a partnership with the City of Dallas that has yielded $200,000 in grant money to foster entrepreneurship in the region and help build an Entrepreneurial Village in Dallas to bring the startup community under one roof.
In another announcement, the DEC said that it would put its IP, content, curriculum, and incubation program online for free on the open-source platform Git Hub. The goal is to be a leader in demonstrating a “give before you take” approach to supporting entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneur and thought leader Steve Case, CEO of Revolution and Chairman of UP Global, said, “The Dallas Entrepreneur Center is a great example of how cities like Dallas can step up and in big ways to provide resources that support entrepreneurial success.” He continued, “Dallas is one of a number of strong markets in Texas that are well-suited for startups, incubators, and accelerators, and we applaud their leadership in encouraging a rise in entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout the U.S.”
Dallas is experiencing an explosion of entrepreneurial activity. More than 70 individuals and 35 companies have decided to office at the DEC, and more than 3,500 people have streamed through its doors. This flurry has actually created a “startup inertia,” leading to better and sounder businesses, ready to access the vast amount of capital that exists in the Dallas region and take advantage of the “can-do” attitude innate to those who live here.
In a recent press release, I weighed in on what we believe will make Dallas a hub for entrepreneurship across the country. “The DEC is dedicated to bringing promising entrepreneurs, corporations, educators, investors, and community leaders together to continue building a thriving startup ecosystem in Dallas. We are proud to have champions like the USPTO, the City of Dallas, and countless others share our desire to help others realize their entrepreneurial dreams. We are just one of a countless number of local organizations that are serving entrepreneurs in this region to start, build, and grow high-growth, scalable organizations destined for success.”
Dallas may be the greatest entrepreneurial ecosystem that you have NEVER heard of, but our goal is to change that. We are committed to helping build great companies and being a conduit for their stories of innovation, determination, and success in the Dallas area.
Texas is arguably the No. 1 state in the country to DO business; now we are focusing on why Dallas is one of the best places in the country to START a business.
So be prepared to hear much more out of Dallas’ startups and entrepreneurs because before too long, you might just be moving this way to start YOUR next business.