Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Plano, TX

Plano, TX

Plano is home to the headquarters of a number of major companies (including Fortune 1000 companies such as Rent-A-Center and J.C. Penney), the city is a thriving business hub.

Plano, TX, just north of Dallas and a part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, is the ninth-most populous city in Texas and 69th-largest in the country. Home to the headquarters of a number of major companies (including Fortune 1000 companies such as Rent-A-Center and J.C. Penney), the city is a thriving business hub.

That holds true for entrepreneurship as well as for corporations: the city ranked 68th overall on WalletHub’s 2019 list of the best large cities to start a business, including a rank of 21 in the “Business Environment” category. The same site also had Plano its 2019 list of the best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs, where the city came in at 21. Additionally, the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area is often ranked highly: it was 38th on WalletHub’s 2019 rankings of the best metro areas for STEM professionals and 42nd on Business.org’s list of the best cities for women to start a business in 2018.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Plano’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

Real estate investors and entrepreneurs in Plano and the surrounding area can join the Collin County Entrepreneurs and Investors meetup group, which hosts regular events.

Entrepreneurs in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area can attend the DFW Entrepreneur Exchange Speed Networking group to expand their personal and professional circles.

Based in Dallas, the Network of Women Real Estate Entrepreneurs is a group that aims to support women in the world of real estate entrepreneurship.

Women Entrepreneur Resource & Educational Community (WERE Community) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting women entrepreneurs.

 

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

The Dallas Small Business Expo is an annual conference that offers local small business owners the chance to present their businesses and gain exposure.

Held every year, Dallas Startup Week is a five-day collection of conferences and workshops centered on small business and entrepreneurship.

The North Dallas/Plano branch of the eWomenNetwork is a business and entrepreneurial network that hosts regular events, workshops, and conferences.

The Plano Chamber of Commerce hosts regular events based around a small business in order to support the local economy.

 

Startup Competitions:

Both undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Texas at Dallas can compete for a number of cash prizes in the school’s annual Big Idea Competition.

Based just down the road in Frisco, Code Launch is a competition in which the winning startups are enrolled in a high-level seed accelerator.

Entrepreneurs in Tarrant County and members of the Fort Worth Business Assistance Center can compete for large cash prizes in the organization’s business plan competition.

Held at Dallas Baptist University, The Lion’s Den DFW is a startup competition for Christian entrepreneurs.

 

Co-working Spaces:

With two Plano locations and two others in Dallas and Fort Worth, City Center provides a number of co-working and office options for North Texas residents.

With levels ranging from traditional shared space co-working to full hospitality suites for teams up to 100, memberships at Common Desk apply to all locations across Dallas, Plano and more.

Actually located in Carrollton, TX, HeadSpace Dallas is a co-working space with a wide variety of membership levels to best support entrepreneurs and startups.

Venture X’s Plano location offers a number of membership levels for co-working and event spaces as well as a wide variety of amenities for members.

WeWork, one of the largest co-working companies in the world, has a pair of locations in Plano as well as several in the larger Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

 

Makerspaces:

Located in Carrollton, the Dallas Makerspace is a large community workshop with several specific labs that hosts regular classes on the space’s tools.

The Frisco Public Library has a small makerspace, where they provide their members with 3D printing, a laser cutter and other small-scale manufacturing equipment.

The Lab.ms provides members with 24/7 access to a wide variety of tools and equipment and hosts open houses every Tuesday night for non-members.

 

Incubators:

Based in Dallas, The Cedars Union is an incubator program for the arts, helping creative entrepreneurs turn their passion into a viable business.

Founded in 2013, the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship in North Texas.

The North Texas Small Business Development Center connects small business owners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to the resources they need to succeed.

Food-based entrepreneurs can rent time in Perfect Temper Kitchen, a commercial kitchen space and incubator for culinary startups.

Students, faculty, and alumni of the University of Texas at Dallas can participate in the school’s Venture Development Center incubator program.

 

Accelerators:

The winning startups in the Code Launch competition join the organization’s seed accelerator, which helps launch software technology startups.

Organized by Collide Village, CoBuild works with founders to create and support promising startups and small businesses.

One of the first and highest-ranked business accelerators, the Dallas-based Tech Wildcatters runs a five-stage accelerator program for the most promising technology startups.

 

Colleges/Universities:

The Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship at SMU’s Cox School of Business has a variety of programs and resources designed to support entrepreneurship at the university.

Students at the University of North Texas’ G. Brint Ryan College of Business can earn a BBA degree in Entrepreneurship.

The University of Texas at Dallas organizes a number of resources, both inside and outside of the classroom, in order to help entrepreneurial students.

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

Founded in 2010, the Dallas Angel Network is a group of angel investors that work with companies based in and around Dallas, Houston, and Austin.

Based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the North Texas Angel Network aims to make investments in companies across the state of Texas.

Trailblazer Capital is a venture capital firm based in Dallas that invests in promising startups in large, growing markets.

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

Those interested in business news from Dallas and the surrounding area – including Plano – can subscribe to one of the Dallas Business Journal’s newsletters.

The Plano Chamber of Commerce offers a newsletter covering business news and events in the Plano business community.

The Texas-Squared newsletter is a weekly recap of business and entrepreneurship news from around the state, including the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.

 

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Plano not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

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Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at Funding$age where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.