If you Google "entrepreneurship", you get back this definition:
Entrepreneurship is the willingness to take risks and develop, organize and manage a business venture in a competitive global marketplace that is constantly evolving. Entrepreneurs are pioneers, innovators, leaders and inventors.
We are part of the global entrepreneurial class, an identity that transgresses borders, nationalities, and religion. Entrepreneurs are a demographic, not a geographic, and their conspicuous creation is driving positive change in our world. Silicon Valley remains a bastion, and a gravitational force. But the walled gardens are withering, and the access class is becoming an asset class. Investors and entrepreneurs need a passport to the present.
The Dallas, TX area is no stranger to this phenomenon with organizations and activities like The DEC, Tech Wildcatters, The Garage, VentureSpur Texas, Common Desk, The Grove, BigDOCC, LaunchDFW, Dallas New Tech, DFW Startup Happy Hour, and plenty more. DFW has been no stranger to startup companies in the last 20 years either.
And of course there are local personalities helping driving this trend such as: Bradley Joyce, Mike Sitarzewski, Jennifer Conley, Michael Gilbert, Trey Bowles, and Gabriella Draney, to name but a few. And my small contribution is mentoring with a couple of the accelerator/incubator programs.
So far, it's a pretty straightforward set of facts repeated in various cities around the world, right? Not so fast, pardner – here in Texas we do everything bigger and better – and entrepreneurship is no different.
Meet Bill McNeely
Bill lives in Dallas and is a veteran of the Afghanistan conflict who, like many other veterans, has struggled since returning to civilian life. Between a moribund economy and the lingering effects of combat, Bill has struggled to support himself and his family. However, he's not just a veteran – he is also an entrepreneur and an active participant in the Dallas entrepreneurial community. This t-shirt he designed sums up his unique perspective:
Bill has been working on startup ideas surrounding the skills he excelled in with the military: logistics. The result is DeliverToMe, a B2B local delivery service. However, how he got to that point is just as important a story about Bill as it is about the Dallas entrepreneurial community.
Bill has received support from The Garage in acquiring a vehicle for his service and building his business model, acquired his first client Brevida, also a startup, through The DEC and received training and mentoring through the Google-sponsored Startup Weekend NEXT program led by Kevin Strawbridge where I helped Bill with his pitch and refined his business model. He also received in-kind support from FISH Technologies, a local award-winning experiential marketing technology company.
The details of how DeliverToMe has developed are much less important than how so many different elements of the Dallas entrepreneurial community spontaneously came together to help Bill. There was no central planning; there were no turf battles. The consistent ingredient was entrepreneurs with a passionate desire to help other entrepreneurs succeed. The difference here is that in Texas, we don't just want each of our own efforts to succeed – we want everybody's entrepreneurial efforts to succeed. That's how entrepreneurship benefits society as a whole and makes it all worthwhile.
What can I say? It's Dallas. That's how we roll.