Denton partners with DEC to launch entrepreneur center

8 Mar 2016

The City of Denton is partnering with the Dallas Entrepreneur Center to launch a collaborative space for area entrepreneurs.

Stoke, located at 608 E. Hickory St., is a product of Connected Denton, a community-based initiative fostering entrepreneurship and innovation in the city of Denton. The 9,216 square-foot space will be located just east of Denton’s Downtown Square. It is expected to open in the summer.

“There’s been kind of a grassroots discussion for a couple of years for creating a coworking space and supporting entrepreneurship and high tech companies,” said Aimee Bissett, Denton’s director of development services, adding that Stoke is the culmination of all those efforts. “It will be that hub or centerpiece for people to come and collaborate.”

Stoke will be financed by the $220,000 that the city approved in September 2014. The funding was allocated to launch an economic development initiative that would help Denton become a hub for technology. The center aims to serve as the anchor for Denton’s Innovation District.

The city also allocated $75,000 annually to help support the new center. The funds come from the tax increment financing district monies and will cover the lease and staff. The center will also receive a percentage of membership fees collected by the DEC to help support the operating costs.

The DEC will run the programming associated with the center, and the joint venture will function like the Addison Treehouse, a partnership that formed between the town of Addison and the DEC in 2014. However, Stoke will have a Denton twist.

“We’re creating the right programming, the right collaboration community, but this is very much a Denton vibe,” said Trey Bowles, CEO of the DEC. “We are very much trying to figuring out what that community needs for entrepreneurial support so that we are really able to create a way for the city to build Denton’s entrepreneurial brand.”

As in Addison, the DEC will provide entrepreneurs access to training, education, mentorship, promotion and capital to grow their businesses. Stoke will include features such as gigabit fiber Internet, conference room rentals and office resources for members and visitors.

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