In a vast, southern American city known for its cowboys and tools of innovation, Dallas has since been considered a charming home for small businesses alike. From providing small business owners with free to reduced-cost administration classes to showcasing business incubators, nowhere in the entire deep South has there ever been a city like Dallas.
To help our fellow innovators understand how and where are the best places for starting a business in Dallas, we’ve compiled a list of the top 23 resources for inventors and entrepreneurs in Dallas.
So without further ado, let’s begin!
Founded on the intersection of academics and industry, the University of Texas has since 1969 been recognized as a Tier One research institution. From promoting environmentalism to developing ground-breaking technology, the university has since been considered one of the city’s ultimate tools and places of innovation.
In 2019, UT Dallas received APPA’s Sustainability Innovation Award for its initiatives to reduce 66% of the food waste from campus dining facilities and student apartments. To do so, they’ve “diverted leftover food to the Food Recovery Network to help feed the needy and partnered with an outside composting company to convert food waste into animal feed and biofertilizer.”
Meanwhile, during that same year, one of the school’s electrical engineers, Dr. Qing Gu, received an award to develop a nanoLED technology to be used in integrated circuits. This way, computer data could travel more efficiently without having to utilize a lot of electrical energy.
Also, in April 2020, the school’s very own Dr. Ross Roeser will receive the prestigious Aram Glorig Award from the International Society of Audiology (ISA) in Warsaw, Poland for his leading contributions to audiology in the United States. According to the website, the school’s audiology doctoral program, is ranked No. 4 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
For those looking for a southern university known for its strong STEM programs, the University of Texas in Dallas is considered one of the best places to start at.
Phone #: 972-883-6527
Located near the heart of Dallas, Southern Methodist University (SMU) is a nationally ranked private university known for fusing, “ global research with a liberal arts tradition.”
Complete with a multitude of small classes, hands-on research opportunities, leadership development tools, community service activities, international study, and innovative programs, the university has since been considered one of Dallas’s prized institutions of learning and innovation.
Looking to take your newfound learning outside of the classroom? In that case, join the SMU Entrepreneurship Club! They offer a plethora of resources, opportunities, and activities for students to do so from startup competitions to resume writing session (regardless of their major or school).
They even offer a mainframe supercomputer for those looking to solve math problems on a scale of 120 trillion mathematical operations a second. Be sure to show your work prior to turning it in, however, or else no credit from your math professor(s)!
Phone #: 214-768-2000
Offices for Small Businesses
Looking for a place that offers free counseling in areas such as new business feasibility and start-up, business plan preparation, and general management? In that case, the North Texas Small Business Administration may be your future go-to place!
Currently serving as the largest business management assistance program in the United States, the SBDC conducts research, counsels and trains business people in managing, financing and operating small businesses without taking full control of the businesses themselves.
On Oct. 5, 2019, from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm GMT, the SBDC will be hosting a small business start-up workshop for those looking to learn more about the organization. Cost is $30 per person and pre-registration is required.
Email: Contact Form
Phone #: (214) 860-5831
PeopleFund is a non-profit organization that provides small business loans as well as business assistance and education to those starting a small business in Texas such as educational workshops and one-on-one mentorship.
With flexible underwriting and no prepayment penalties, this organization offers interest rates and terms of up to 60 months (longer in special cases) for qualified, underserved small businesses and nonprofits looking to get funding on equipment purchases, permanent working capital term loans, revolving lines of credit, and real estate.
According to its website, PeopleFund is especially interested in funding women-led businesses, minority-owned businesses, veteran-led businesses, and businesses in low-income areas.
Email: Contact Form
Phone #: 888-222-0017
Inventor and Makerspace Groups
Texas Inventors is a group of inventors that meets monthly in the Mirabelle Davis Library in Plano, TX.
Here, members can meet with patent attorneys (including software patent attorneys), patent agents, prototype designers, successful inventors who have licensed their products, as well as inventors who have built businesses around their inventions to discuss what would be the best way to showcase their invention(s) to the world.
They even have inventors with expertise in offshore manufacturing!
For those who are interested in becoming a part of this well-acknowledged group of like-minded individuals, make sure to join for the next meeting!
According to the website, the first meeting is free to everyone. From there, anyone who wishes to continue being a part of the group will pay $30 for an annual membership. Attorneys also meet clients here.
Email: Contact Form
Phone #: N/A
Founded in Jan 2010, the Dallas Makerspace is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to provide local artists, engineers, makers, and thinkers a place to work and collaborate with one another.
In addition, to providing a community space and a laboratory, the group also hosts a series of clubs such as the Philosophy Meetup, where innovators can talk freely about the world of entrepreneurship and makerspaces in a safe, calming environment.
For those who are interested in learning more about the organization, the Dallas Makespace group hosts a weekly Open House every Thursday at 7:00 pm. This event is free and open to the public.
In the meantime, for those looking to be more involved with the organization, the makespace group meets on the 2nd Friday of each month at 7:00 pm to discuss committee reports and voting on matters concerning the Makerspace.
Phone #: 214-699-MKER
“Born from a shared vision among small business and entrepreneurship advocates” according to their about page, The Dallas Entrepreneur Center (The DEC) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that helps entrepreneurs start, build and grow their businesses by offering them free counseling and networking opportunities.
Since its founding on June 12, 2013, the group has developed a vast number of hubs including The DEC@Redbird, The DEC@Addison Treehouse, The DEC@West End, and much more! It also started the Annual State of Entrepreneurship Address, Startup Dallas Week, Women Entrepreneurs (WE) Dallas, and Diversity Entrepreneurs (DE) Dallas.
Phone #: N/A
Looking to join a group of like-minded entrepreneurial ladies in a calming, relaxing setting? In that case, the Wellness-Glam-Dine-and-Grind (WGDG) may just be the group for you!
Founded on Aug 2, 2018 by a passionate female entrepreneur named Fran looking to escape from the grueling clutches of working a meaningless 9-5 job, the WGDG helps women-led business owners of all different backgrounds unwind and discuss their plans in a safe setting by participating in brunches, hanging out at movie theaters, hosting book clubs, and other mindful activities!
Speaking of book clubs, according to the website, the club meets every 3rd Sunday of the month from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
Email: Contact Form
Phone #: N/A
As cliche as it sounds, it’s true that when it comes to starting a business, it’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know that matters. So if you’re a fellow women-led business owner looking to connect with the right group of other women-led business owners in the area, Ellevate Network is a group that you can certainly trust to help you get the job done!
Formerly known as 85 Broads, Ellevate works tirelessly to help female business owners meet the right people online and offline. Annually, this group holds over 900 in-person events in over 40 chapters throughout the US and beyond. They also offer twice-weekly educational webinars called Jam Sessions. These sessions are 30-60 minute online webinars led by expert members of all different working backgrounds (arts, science, fashion, and so on).
For those with plenty of years of experience and expertise looking to get their name and brand out there, Ellevate offers a number of tools on subjects like writing articles to be published by ForbesWomen, being Spotlighted on the Ellevate website, hosting webinars, and co-hosting Twitter Chats.
Speaking of tools, for those looking to try out any of their networking events, Ellevate will be hosting a breakfast networking event called November Mugs and Mornings on November 8 2019 from 7:30 am to 9:00 am. Cost is free and the event is BYOB (buy your own breakfast).
Phone #: (646) 517-1160
Created with a desire to “break the typical LinkedIn group mold of existing primarily online,” LinkingDFQ is a North Texas-based networking group that provides business professionals primarily located in the northern suburbs of Dallas/Fort Worth with the necessary tools and skillsets to make it through the grit and grime of business life.
Founded in September of 2010, Linking DFW has since facilities a variety of meetings and mixers within the communities around Flower Mound/Lewisville, Grapevine/Southlake, Irving/Coppell/, and Plano/Frisco.
For those interested in attending any of their monthly meetings, they typically take place on the 2nd Tuesday of every month as open mixer-type events. Times and places are to be determined.
Additionally, they meet on the 4th Tuesday of every month from [11:30]-1:00 p.m. for networking and business builder presentations. The majority of these meetings are located at NovaCopy, 4251 W. John Carpenter Freeway, (SH 114), Irving, TX 75063 according to their website.
Phone #: 972-874-8757
Dedicated to providing the highest level of client service since 1999, First Business Resources, Inc. is a private business advisory firm that provides, “full-service professional acquisition, divestiture and consulting services to private, small and middle-market corporations” that are right for them. This is especially true when it comes to the field of real estate.
For those looking to get advice in disposition, acquisition, and exit strategy development, this agency is especially great for businesses that specialize in either distribution, manufacturing, technology, service firm, construction, and/or healthcare.
Note that First Business Resources is NOT a CPA firm. So if you need help on getting your taxes and inventory straightened out, it would be best to visit either the SBDC or SCORE Dallas.
Phone #: 214-363-7774
Considered one of the nation’s top-notch volunteer organizations for business owners alike, SCORE Dallas provides free to reduced-cost mentoring services to residents of Dallas and, through over 20 satellite offices, to residents of the surrounding cities in North Texas.
In addition to providing custom-tailored no-cost, confidential business counseling to business owners alike, SCORE Dallas offers workshops and seminars on everything from accounting to creating a business plan for a small fee.
For instance, SCORE’s monthly “Starting & Managing a Successful Business” workshop, covers a variety of topics for people wanting to start their own business or wanting additional information for their existing business.
In the meantime, for those looking to learn more about financing options, there would be a free finance seminar hosted by SCORE and Capital One Bank on Monday, September 30, 2019, from [9:00] AM to [12:00] PM CDT
Phone #: (214) 987-9491
In today’s world of instant gratification and information overload, it’s important for business owners of all different shapes, sizes, and backgrounds to be able to take what they’ve learned and organize it in a way that makes sense to them. That’s where the brave and bold folks at Dallas B.R.A.I.N. come in.
Created as a partnership of Dallas’ Office of Economic Development and the Dallas Public Library, Dallas B.R.A.I.N. helps promote entrepreneurial literacy and local business development by offering workshops on using library databases and providing free business checklist worksheets. They also have a variety of resources for those looking to get help on funding, accounting, networking, and many other fields necessary for turning a plain-old startup into a world-class Fortune 500 company.
Speaking of which, according to its calendar, The Dove Agency & The Slate will be hosting a session on market trip planning for independent interior designers on October 3rd, 2019 from [3:30] – 5:30 pm.
Phone #: 214-670-3441
Accelerators and Programs:
The AccelerateNFC program is a mentor-driven, mentor-funded idea incubator/success accelerator that pairs near field communication (NFC) companies and/or companies with a proven product with less than $3 million in sales with the right people and resources that would take them to the next level!
Every year, up to five selected companies are chosen to participate in an intensive, 12-week mentoring program designed to get them beyond the reach of start-up or early-stage companies.
In order to be chosen for this accelerator, candidates must live in Texas or be willing to relocate to Texas for the duration of the program. They must also be willing to pay a fee for advice, connections, and access to cash when the situation merits funding.
At this time, they are currently accepting applications for the 2020 AccelerateNFC program.
Phone #: N/A
CodeLaunch is an annual seed accelerator competition that provides seed services early-stage software technology startups looking to gather funding for many years to come!
Since its inception by Code Authority, a software development company in Frisco, TX, in 2012, CodeLaunch has accelerated numerous startup companies and curated over 1,000 applications from all across the United States and Worldwide.
According to the website, “There’s no cost nor surrendered equity to participate in the competition and all ideas are protected under an NDA.” For those looking to take their business ideas to the next level, CodeLaunch is considered an ideal starting point.
The application deadline for the program next year is March 1st, 2020.
Phone #: (214) 774-4262
While some accelerators focus mainly on providing funding and mentorship to successful tech and health companies in America, at DFW Excellerator, they go above and beyond to help local retail technology, consumer products, and sports management companies thrive in a global, competitive market.
Opened since 2014, DFW Excellerator is an award-winning, cross-cultural accelerator and advisory firm that helps businesses in Texas raise capital, provide executive mentorships, and boost innovative ventures for companies that are striving to be globally competitive in the United States and China.
In 2017, this accelerator won the Dallas Business Center Award. Meanwhile, in 2016, it also won the Outstanding Asian American Achievement Award for being one of the few accelerators to help bridge the gap between Chinese and American businesses.
For those looking to get ahead in today’s market, DFW Excellerator is certainly the place to go!
Phone #: N/A
While some incubators in Dallas focus mainly on offering classes and short-term coworking space for its members, The Genius Den goes above and beyond.
Located in Deep Ellum, Genius Den offers a plethora of resources to its users, including long-term coworking space and event rental space, to help fellow innovators such as yourselves thrive in a world where the underdog owner doesn’t garner as much respect as their alpha counterparts.
As such, GeniusDen is rated as one of the highest-rated shared office spaces and coworking spaces in Dallas.
For those looking to take advantage of this amazing space, GeniusDen is currently offering tours (via appointment).
Phone #: 800-545-1130
Standing as one of the crown gems of innovation in North Texas, UNT Innovation Greenhouse is a university-run incubator that allows students and young adults, in general, to expand upon what they’ve learned in the classroom so that they too can help save and preserve the planet for many years to come.
Founded on January 7, 2013, Innovation Greenhouse helps students prepare for life after graduation by offering them a place to expand upon their ideas, network with other students, and create their own internship opportunities for many years to come. According to their website, “It is associated with the Murphy Entrepreneurship Center and Discovery Park.”
As such, it is a valuable resource for those looking to combine their passions for art, science, and business.
For those who are interested in learning more about the incubator, students can contact Nancy J. Hong, the executive director of the incubator. No appointment or charge necessary!
Phone #: (940) 363-5302
In a world where artists of all different backgrounds are often underpaid and thus undervalued, Cedars Union provides a place for them to thrive and interact with other artists. This way, they too can help to not only beautify Dallas but also create a collaborative and supportive community of innovators for many years to come.
From providing classrooms to offering micro-studios, Cedars Union has since been regarded as a valuable incubator for artists of all different backgrounds to thrive in. They even offer a fabrication lab and two different computer labs (one for Mac users and one for PC users) for tenants to utilize.
Not to mention that they also offer a variety of workshops that are open to the public, regardless of experience!
Speaking of which, for those interested in interior design and painting, Cedars Union is offering a workshop on painting on alternative surfaces on September 24th, 2019 at 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Cost is $55 per person.
Phone #: (972) 816-8018
Seed Funding/Venture Capital
Looking to gather some funding for your organization here in Dallas? In that case, look no further than to the kind folks at the Dallas Angel Network.
Founded in 2010, this group of passionate innovators and investors funds successful groups in Dallas, Houston, and Austin that deserve to get their names out to the public’s eye.
For those who are interested in any of their services, groups can either submit a short executive summary or a slide deck/presentation that consists of the following:
- Who the team is
- Why it would succeed
- Milestones they’ve completed.
- How much money they’ll be raising and at what valuation
- Milestones to be completed with the proceeds from this capital raise
- Historical financials and projections (if available)
Phone #: N/A
Since 2005, Golden Seeds has invested over $110 million in over 150 exciting women-led enterprises across the United States such as Bento box and Onboard Dynamics.
Headquartered in New York City, Golden Seeds also has chapters in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, and Silicon Valley. For those looking to take their businesses to the next level, Golden Seeds is considered one of the ultimate starting points.
To qualify, female business owners would need to mention the following in their application:
- Their elevator pitch – who they are, what they do, for whom and at what price
- The problem they are solving
- Their solution – product or service
- Total addressable market
- Target clients and business model
- Go-to-market strategy
- The competitive landscape and their competitive advantage
- Their management team
- Financial summary, last year’s P & L and a 3-year projection
- History of funding to date
- Use of funds and milestones they expect to achieve
- Estimated pre-money valuation and capital they are seeking
Phone #: (888) 629-6774
From helping adults earn their GED to assisting business owners with filing their taxes, Dallas Public Library has since been regarded as one of the top places in Dallas to learn how to become a true entrepreneur.
Every year, from February through April, the library offers free tax help. Meanwhile, on Thursdays and Fridays, the library offers yoga classes.
For those looking to bring their creations to life, the library now offers free creative spaces. Here, users can take advantage of the library’s heritage lab, fiber arts workroom, and story center.
While some libraries serve as places to check out books and rent DVDs, the Dallas Public Library goes above and beyond to help their fellow patrons thrive in a competitive economy.
Phone #: 214-670-1400
Dallas Patent Attorneys
When it comes to bringing ideas and inventions to market, there’s no question that the patent filing process can be so confusing to navigate.
That is why here at Bold Patents, we exist to help our clients through the legal processes of intellectual property in Houston. This way, they too can get their innovations to market as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible.
About Bold Patents:
Known for serving the bold and the brave, Bold Patents has been helping its clients get the patents that they need in order to make their business ideas (and inventions) a reality.
From helping clients figure out how to patent an idea to describing the differences between a provisional and non-provisional patent application to them, Bold Patents has been helping its clients understand how patents work.
Because they focus only on patents, they are able to find the lawyer(s) that best fit a certain company’s needs.
If you would like to know more about what a patent is and what the steps for finding the patent that’s right for your invention, then check out this article on what is a patent.
There you have it! The top 23 resources for inventors and entrepreneurs in Dallas:
- The University of Texas in Dallas – Winner of the 2019 APPA’s Sustainability Innovation Award
- Southern Methodist University (SMU) – A nationally ranked private university known for fusing, “ global research with a liberal arts tradition.”
Offices for Small Businesses:
- North Texas Small Business Administration – Currently serving as the largest business management assistance program in the United States
- PeopleFund – A non-profit organization that provides small business loans as well as business assistance and education to those starting a small business in Texas
- Texas Inventors – A group of inventors that meets monthly in the Mirabelle Davis Library in Plano, TX
- Dallas Makerspace Group – A non-profit organization dedicated to providing local artists, engineers, makers, and thinkers a place to work and collaborate with one another
- The Dallas Entrepreneur Center (The DEC) – “Born from a shared vision among small business and entrepreneurship advocates”
- Wellness-Glam-Dine-and-Grind (WGDG) – Great for women-led business owners looking for a safe place to meet up and discuss their potential escape from the rat race
- Ellevate Network – Great for a women-led business owner looking to connect with the right group of other women-led business owners in the area
- LinkingDFW – Created with a desire to “break the typical LinkedIn group mold of existing primarily online”
- First Business Resources Inc. – A private business advisory firm that provides, “full-service professional acquisition, divestiture and consulting services to private, small and middle-market corporations”
- SCORE Dallas – Providing free to reduced-cost mentoring services to residents of Dallas since the 1960s
- Dallas B.R.A.I.N. – A great place for entrepreneurs to learn more about how to utilize the Dallas Public Library’s services
Accelerators and Programs:
- Accelerate NFC – A mentor-driven, mentor-funded idea incubator/success accelerator for NFC businesses and/or businesses with a proven product with less than $3 million in sales
- Code Launch – An annual seed accelerator competition that provides seed services early-stage software technology startups looking to gather funding for many years to come!
- DFW Excellerator – Going above and beyond to help local retail technology, consumer products, and sports management companies thrive in China and in the United States
- Genius Den – One of the highest-rated shared office spaces and coworking spaces in Dallas.
- UNT Innovation Greenhouse – Great for students to learn how to save the planet and become the next generation of entrepreneurs
- Cedars Union – Great for artists looking to thrive in a competitive global environment
Seed Funding/Venture Capital:
- Dallas Angel Network – Great for successful innovators looking to gather long-term funding
- Golden Seeds – Great for women-led business owners looking to take their businesses to the next level
- Dallas Public Library – Great for those looking for a library that offers a creative space to work and thrive in
Dallas Patent Attorneys:
- Bold Patents – Your future go-to place for all of your patenting needs!
Now tell us, what do you think of these resources? Are there any others that you recommend that we add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!