Entrepreneurs thrive in Dallas
A recent report ranked Texas as the number one state for small businesses, with Dallas earning an A+ grade. Thumbtack, an online project service, produced the findings after looking at 12 key areas, including licensing, tax, zoning and how easy it is to start a new business. Locally based corporate icons such as AT&T, Texas Instruments, Southwest Airlines and Dean Foods chose Dallas because of global accessibility through its airports, highways and railroads, a talented workforce of more than 800,000 and a culture and history of public/private partnerships. But 90 percent of the city’s business landscape is made up of 130,000 self-employed, sole proprietor and microbusinesses – businesses that can have a bigger impact on local employment than national corporate chains.
Nationally, Dallas-Fort Worth is ranked as one of the top cities for job availability, median pay for employees and overall employee satisfaction. These facts, along with a revival of historic neighborhoods throughout Dallas, have made the city the benefactor of a strong entrepreneur following.
“We have seen amazing growth in the last two years in entrepreneurial activity, funding interest and support activities,” said Trey Bowles, Cofounder and CEO of The Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC). “Dallas has always been an entrepreneurial and innovative force in the country, but in the last two years we have seen those entrepreneurs find each other locally and aggregate around likeminded individuals.”
Building a small business in Dallas requires more than a friendly operating environment, it takes a fair amount of research, a feasibility analysis, trial and error and more importantly, a customer.
“You must first have a problem that needs to be solved,” says Bowles. “At DEC, we often tell entrepreneurs that companies don’t fail because people have bad ideas; they fail because the entrepreneur doesn’t know what they don’t know.”
Fostering and educating talented entrepreneurs, technological growth and development and startups through private and public partnerships enables greater opportunities for investors and enhanced mentorship opportunities that form an ecosystem.
“Public and private partnerships are critical to small business projects,” said City of Dallas Business Network Manager, Daniel Oney. “The ecosystem is a relatively new term for all the support services available in a community, so when it comes to small businesses, the real hope is support services like business planning, marketing, accounting, networking and funding opportunities are available to foster growth and development.”
The City’s Office of Economic Development is helping to build capacity for business support organizations in traditionally under-served communities. These neighborhood-focused groups provide important benefits in terms of networking and marketing a neighborhood to current businesses and entrepreneurs looking for opportunities.
Thanks to a burgeoning ecosystem of talented minds, long-term forecasts and endeavors will continue to develop and complement the roles key community and business partnerships play.
“The overall economic impact of these endeavors will be extraordinary for the City and the entrepreneurs, corporations and educational institutions, alike,” said Bowles. “This ecosystem will ultimately make Dallas the recognized leader in entrepreneurship and innovation in the country.”