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? I’m happy to say that thanks to TheDec.co, one of our awesome partners, we do… and you should too.
People don’t consider the fact that Dallas is home to 18 Fortune 500 companies. 10,000 businesses have corporate headquarters there, 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 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 there?
I bet you didn’t know that approximately 19,000 new businesses are started in Dallas each year. In the past six months, the city has gone from one accelerator (top 10-ranked Tech Wildcatters) to five accelerators across the region. Dallas has 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 month marks the six-month anniversary of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center. The DEC (pronounced “deck”), as it is affectionately referred to, launched nationally last night 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.
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 strong “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 there.
Dallas may be the greatest entrepreneurial ecosystem that you have never heard of, but the DEC is set to change that. The DEC is committed to helping build great companies and being a conduit for their stories of innovation, determination, and success in the Dallas area.
So please join us in congratulating the DEC on their success and get used to seeing much more come out of the Dallas startup scene!
Learn more about the Dallas startup scene through their awesome infographic: http://www.thedec.co/scene