The DEC Network is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization driving innovation and economic impact by helping entrepreneurs start, build and grow their businesses. With a number of innovation hubs across DFW, they provide expert education, access to knowledgeable mentors and a vibrant community of like-minded entrepreneurs.
Since 2013, they have attracted more than 125,000 visitors, hosted over 1,000 educational events and worked with over 100 partner organizations. We conducted a brief interview with The DEC Network CEO, Bill Chinn.
Ten years is quite an accomplishment with the fluctuations throughout the decade, so big congratulations on that— what are you most proud of?
I am truly proud of our team during COVID. Everyone was scared about their own families and financials, but our folks burnt the midnight oil helping our entrepreneurs qualify for the PPP. When they realized that many of our entrepreneurs in lower and middle income areas were not going to qualify, they raised $3.1 million to help keep them in business.
What do you envision for the next 10 years for DEC? Are there any improvements to be made or challenges for DEC or the region in general?
I envision lots of growth. We need Texas to become the number one state for startups, or at least maybe number two. We have to keep working on capital access. We cannot be the ecosystem we could be unless we have a true meritocracy.
Are there any surprises you’ve seen with the state of entrepreneurship in the metroplex area?
The collaboration is always a little surprising. I am always pleasantly surprised how much entrepreneurs are willing to give to other entrepreneurs.
Congratulations on receiving the SBA $1M grant, how important are government grants and initiatives to promoting and supporting organizations such as the DEC?
We have seen a lot more opportunities for funding coming out of DC recently. This is great for our community and I suspect it will only get better.
Your varied background consists of leadership roles with GameStop and Big Brothers Big Sisters. How did you find yourself at DEC and how has your history played a role in leading DEC?
I have a meandering resume because I have always been lucky enough to do what I was passionate about. The DEC Network is the only place where my resume makes sense.
What are the upcoming events we should have on our radar?
Techstars Startup Weekend from April 21-23 (Register at b.link/SuW23), WEDallas Mompreneur Summit (Register at b.link/mompreneur-2023) and Save the Date for Dallas Startup Week sponsored by Capital One on September 10-14, 2023 at The Star in Frisco!