DI ADVISER Q&A: AT THE DEC, BOWLES OFFERS RESOURCES, WORKSPACE FOR ENTREPRENEURS
This is the second in a series of question-and-answer sessions with a Dallas Innovates’ Adviser.
Trey Bowles helped marry the idea of communal work spots, called “coworking” spaces, with business incubators when he co-founded The Dallas Entrepreneur Center.
Called The DEC for short, the nonprofit offers members — what Bowles calls “coworking plus” — shared office space where entrepreneurs can toil around like-minded types, along with mentorship, training, and financial help to turn ideas into high-growth businesses.
Bowles also co-founded the Dallas Innovation Alliance, or DIA, a public-private partnership that aims to develop and execute on a plan to deploy “smart cities” technologies in Dallas. These technologies aim to help with everything from managing traffic to monitoring crowds and air quality.
“We are a leader in our field, and are expanding and licensing our intellectual property and blueprint to cities and economic development groups.”
What makes your organization an innovator?
The DEC is one of the only entrepreneur centers in the country.
We are a leader in our field, and are expanding and licensing our intellectual property and blueprint to cities and economic development groups. We hope this can help entrepreneurs nationwide receive the necessary tools and resources to be successful.
With help from the Dallas Innovation Alliance, our city has become one of about 10 municipalities in North America that are building smart cities projects. These projects will help leverage infrastructure, technology, and data to create efficiencies and develop new business models within cities to make them more efficient.
What is the most exciting innovation in your organization’s industry at the moment, and why?
For The DEC, the most exciting innovation in our industry is that state, local, and federal governments are seeing the efficacy of entrepreneur centers as a crucial tool to help startups and entrepreneurs start, build, and grow the businesses.
Meanwhile, the global smart cities market will be a $1.56 trillion industry by 2020.
We at DIA are seeing amazing technological growth and shared knowledge across cities, and this is creating sustainable and long-term solutions that are making infrastructures within large urban cores more effective places for their citizens to live, work, and play.
“I am seeing more people stand up and stand out as courageous innovators that are trying to do things that few in the world are attempting.”
Why do you believe North Texas is such a hotbed of innovation?
We have the history, talent, capital, corporate leadership, and commitment, as well as the innovative and can-do entrepreneurial thinking among our citizens. These attributes make this a leading hub for innovation in the world.
What is the most intriguing innovation you have seen in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the last year, and why?
Its people. I am seeing more people stand up and stand out as courageous innovators that are trying to do things that few in the world are attempting.
I believe what will separate us is not just projects like the Dallas Innovation Alliance is trying to launch, but also the things that are being tried in areas like technology, healthcare, and social enterprise.
Have you or your organization ever failed when trying something new or different? If so, what happened, and what did you learn?
Every entrepreneur fails. Failing is a key piece of what makes us better.
The key, as many would agree, is to “fail fast.” Our goal is to try and succeed at everything we do. But when we fail — and we do that often — we want to learn from that failure and make sure to not make the same mistake again.
“You cannot control the outcome of any of your endeavors, but you can control your contribution to the process.”
– Trey Bowles
If you could go back in time and give the 18-year-old version of yourself one lesson about innovation, what would that lesson be?
I would say, “You cannot control the outcome of any of your endeavors, but you can control your contribution to the process.”
I would tell myself to not worry about how much money I would make or how successful I would be, but rather to pick something you are passionate about and figure out a way to make a living at it.
As long as you commit every day to being excellent, learning from your mistakes, having fun, and treating your team well, then everything else will fall into place.
What is the next big thing in the arena in which your organizations operate, and how does Dallas fit in?
I am seeing coworking-plus models popping up all around the country.
Many organizations that provide help for company owners, such as Score, focus on small businesses. Entrepreneur centers like ours focus on start-ups that are high growth.
A number of models like The DEC are surfacing nationwide, as these are some of best solutions for helping people start and build businesses.
THE DALLAS INNOVATES’ ADVISER SERIES
Janis Burkland: Dallas Film Commission’s Janis Burklund Keeps ‘Shoots’ Coming
Trey Bowles: Dallas Entrepreneur Center’s Trey Bowles Gives Entrepreneurs Tools For Success
Hayden Blackburn: Idea Works FW’s Hayden Blackburn Says Innovation is Everywhere
Learn more about all our Dallas Innovates’ Advisers, and watch for their upcoming Q&As in our ongoing series.
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