Since You Gotta Spend Money to Make It, City Looks Outside For Help Growing Small Biz

Categories: Biz, City Hall
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Far as Dallas City Hall's concerned, it's hard out there for a small start-up, which is why it's spent years loaning and granting money to businesses via, say, the South Dallas/Fair Park Trust Fund and the Southern Dallas Development Corporation, both of which have suffered their share of sputters since their respective inceptions. And so the city tries again, this time by looking outside for help -- to Kansas City, home of the Kauffman Foundation, which, in '03, helped launch something called KCSourceLink aimed at linking small-business would-bes with resources who could help them turn concept into profit.

In nine years the SourceLink concept has taken spread far and wide, from Alaska to Florida; in some cities it's been branded as an "Entrepreneurial Empowerment Center" partnered with the Urban League, while in some states it's been launched with a government kickstart. Either way the intention is to link small-biz operators with resources (from nonprofits to private corporations to universities to other government agencies) to which they might not otherwise have access, either through the website or a simple phone call. As Maria Meyers, network coordinator for U.S.SourceLink, explained to Chicago Business in '07: SourceLink came into being in 2003 because ...
"There was a strong perception that there were a lot of resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs, but they couldn't find them. A lot of groups, nobody knew about. Every one of these organizations was fairly well-niched in what they do. The entrepreneur would call one or two or three of them, find out they couldn't help, and would give up."
Tomorrow the city council's Economic Development Committee will be sold on the concept, in the hopes it will recommend the full council spend $750,000 (in $150,000-per-year increments for five years) out of Public/Private Partnership funds to buy into SourceLink (meaning: license the software, for starters). But that only covers half of the expenses; says the briefing prepared for tomorrow's meeting, the rest will be provided by an unidentified "funding partner match."

The city would initially run it, after which EcoDev and "founding funding partners" (again, not ID'd) would organize a nonprofit corporation to administer the program and hold on to whatever money it comes into.
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14 comments
OakClifftownie
OakClifftownie

I guess having an in place and already operating Bill Priest Business Incubation Center at El Centro With its campus off of Corinth St In sunny south Dallas isn't good enough.

So after this is approved the council will reinvent Fire and the Wheel ?

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

Far better this and a city run hotel, fake bridges, etc. than actually building and repairing the infrastructure that would make it desirable and possible to develop businesses in Southern Dallas.

OakClifftownie
OakClifftownie

http://www.elcentrocollege.edu...

The Business Incubation Center located at the Bill J. Priest Campus of El Centro College opened in 1990. Small companies operate in the Center, leasing office space and receiving business services for up to four years.

The Business Incubation Center is an environment that supports young companies during their first four years of business, which is the most vulnerable period of development. It is a place where you can learn how to do business while you conduct business. Our mission is to provide professional business services, management assistance and training to enhance the success of the businesses located here. We do not offer money, grants or loans, but we do offer many services.

Seems like we have something already

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

http://www.elcentrocollege.edu...

The Business Incubation Center located at the Bill J. Priest Campus of El Centro College opened in 1990. Small companies operate in the Center, leasing office space and receiving business services for up to four years.

Real people doing Real things

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

http://www.elcentrocollege.edu...

"The Business Incubation Center located at the Bill J. Priest Campus of El Centro College opened in 1990. Small companies operate in the Center, leasing office space and receiving business services for up to four years. "

Wow in place and operating .

 

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

It always makes me nervous when various city programs are pitched as being partially funded by unidentified third parties.  In my experience, few things come without strings attached or expectations of some sort of other quid pro quo down the road.

I would like to see the City be more transparent about who the sources of funding for various things like this, international field trips to Africa & London, etc.

Scottacus300
Scottacus300

Growing small businesses in a part of town that many with money don't go to requires much more than funds. Funds are critical, don't get me wrong, but funds without strategy and continuously increasing skills are wasted.

I am not selling my services on here, but contextually, it is important to say that my career has been made in helping businesses grow successfully and strategically.  What South Dallas needs is a joint strategy for all small businesses.  That strategy would require the top personnel at each of these businesses to have leadership skills, to be able to create a solid vision and strategy, to set the example every day of ethical business practices, and be able to affect the organic culture of their businesses for the better.  Only when this is the case will the seeds planted by fund programs will take root and bear fruit.

My opinion here is drawn from working in South Dallas, with businesses there. There needs to be an overarching plan. Right now, there isn't one.

Dallascityhaul
Dallascityhaul

SMU offers an excellent course on starting your own business. This is another waste of taxpayer dollars. 

abuckley1970
abuckley1970

The city running this gives me heartburn, regardless of length of time, and it's a waste of money.  The Small Business Development Centers located all over the metroplex already provide these services to entrepreneurs.  The city should advertise those locations on its website and be done with it.  Just google "small business development dallas" and watch what pops up.

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

Why do I feel transported to an elementary PTA meeting where some rich parent stands up and says, "Hey, it's only $150K a year, let's go for it." Then technology makes such rapid progress that it's pretty much obsolete upon kickoff, ending up costing tens of thousands per use.

If you can't figure out how to make your small business successful then you shouldn't be in small business, period. You end up supporting the weak with tax funding from the successful, raising taxes on all to cover this ridiculousness.

Please, I beg this matching fund organization, please send that matching money to our swimming pools, or librarys, or schools.

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

No doubt OakClifftownie, funding a promotion for those services at BPBIC with that $150K per year would make way too much sense.

Texasdave60
Texasdave60

South Dallas Business 101:  Pay JWP.

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

I'm sorry, I'm still choking on, "The entrepreneur would call one or two or three of them, find out they couldn't help, and would give up."

You've got to want it more than that. You've got to want it so badly that when your operating system crashes while you're on vacation, you take a plane back. You've got to want it so bad that when you're sued for the first time, you take it in stride and keep your mind on business. You've got to want it so bad that you find the time, the effort and the means to grow your business - even if that means working another job while you start it. Because once you get your small business started, it doesn't get any easier.

People, in general, who don't want it that badly end up running their business piss poorly, and then somebody (the IRS, the employees, the vendors) get stuck cleaning up the mess. In general.

Guest
Guest

As a small business owner, I have to ask: what's a vacation?

(though I do find time to post plenty of pointless diatribes here).

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