Our Network Partners share our passion for driving the success of software startups through mentoring, networking, business advice, financial assistance, and peer connections. Network Partners know the startup environment and understand what it takes to succeed.
The Dallas Entrepreneur Center (The DEC, pronounced ‘the deck’) serves entrepreneurs
in the Dallas area, providing a location where they can receive training, education,
mentorship, promotion and access to capital in order to encourage and equip the
entrepreneurial community to start, build and grow their businesses. Facilitating
a culture of entrepreneurship and ‘giving before you get,’ the DEC connects new
and old entrepreneurs with a vibrant, collaborative environment.
What is The Dallas Entrepreneur Center?
Trey: The Dallas Entrepreneur Center – we call it The DEC -
has created a central hub for the entire entrepreneur community to come and receive
education, training, incubation, collaborative office space, promotion and access
Why did you choose Dallas for the location?
Trey: The need existed because there was nothing like this in
Dallas. I was involved in the Startup America Partnership and as I traveled I noticed
people didn’t realize there were any startups in Dallas. In fact, there are 19,000
new businesses! It’s a burgeoning Startup community but there was no branding and
We want Dallas to be seen as the leading entrepreneurial hub that it is and there
was nothing out there to help them (entrepreneurs) in the city. We’re part of a
movement that wants to invest into the startups of the world as a responsibility.
And we want corporations to give long-term opportunities to its partners.
What makes Dallas fertile ground for Startups?
Trey: Every major city in Texas has some sort of center that
is tech-related. We wanted to be more entrepreneurial and not isolated to any particular
industry. The term ‘tech center’ leaves out other industries that still need technical
services and assistance. Everyone needs software technologies to run the way their
business works, especially for efficiency.
Is that why you partner with BizSpark?
Trey: We want to give startups all the options we can so we
use a two-pronged approach. We can advise them which pieces of software can help
them. They can then leverage the opportunities as they need them. They typically
see a huge business opening to build on the technology from Microsoft because the
market is less saturated in that space. The revenue prospect is critical to leverage
because the device will become less important than the network that exists.
It’s all about access to data and the information people need – eventually most
turn to cloud storage and, more often than not, they will run into Microsoft devices.
Loyalty goes a long way and Microsoft already has people in the Startup community.
Startups will be loyal to them in turn.
How do Startups work with you?
Trey: We accept any company from any country. We’d love to see
more entrepreneurs make world moves to Dallas to start their businesses. It’s a
business-friendly city with Texas being the 13th largest economy in the world. In
fact, Texas is arguably the number one place in the country to do business; we would
like to make Texas the greatest place in the country to start a business.
Startups should choose Dallas because it is the largest geographical entrepreneurial
region in the country. Nearly the entire state is involved when you say ‘Dallas’
– it reaches across multiple industries, such as oil and gas to healthcare. Plus,
numerous corporations have a major presence here. Being in close proximity to these
large companies that can provide opportunities to small businesses is an incredible
Any words of advice for Startups in general?
Trey: Oh absolutely! First of all, be fiscally responsible.
Why are you buying that solution? Is it cool? Or does it have the basics that you
need to get the job done sufficiently? The new Cool is profitability.
Next, focus on the fundamentals: sales, revenue and profitability. The
companies that do build and grow are building on real foundations. Make sure you
are taking a calculated approach to entrepreneurship. Don’t empty out your entire
savings; do your research and perform a full feasibility analysis first. Talk to
potential customers, evaluate the marketplace, and make sure there is truly an opportunity
before you go diving in head first. Look at entrepreneurship as a pond or body of
water … how will you get out once you’re in? If you take the calculated approach
to entrepreneurship and “jump right in” you might bruise your tailbone, but if you
“dive in” head first you could break your neck.
Always surround yourself with mentors and advisors. Then listen to what they
tell you. Being successful has less to do with intellect than experience; these
people have run into the wall themselves and discovered how to go around it.
Finally, recognize that you can learn something from every single person.
Listen for the pieces you can learn from and create a take-away from. People might
not know as much about your business as you do but they do know things.
Don’t be arrogant: You don’t know what you don’t know. It will cost you more
money in the long run when you don’t listen.
Trey at The DEC with questions or to apply for their next program. You can follow
the DEC on Twitter at
@theDECtx and you can follow Trey Bowles at