DALLAS — A local nonprofit is working to provide more space for entrepreneurs and start-ups to establish their businesses. 

The DEC Network in the Shops at Red Bird is preparing for a major expansion. It’s moving from its current location in the mall to a space three times larger.

"We’re moving our 80-plus entrepreneurs from then 7,400 square-feet to the 20,000 square-feet,” said Tarsha Hearn, Senior Director of Eco-Systems for The DEC Network.

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The Dallas-based nonprofit has been providing resources to a variety of entrepreneurs to help start, build and grow their businesses for 10 years. Small business entrepreneurs have had access to DEC’s incubator at Red Bird for the past five years. It’s a space, the organization says, it has outgrown.

During its 10th anniversary celebration on Monday, June 12, DEC Network staff offered tours of its new space, which is under construction. The new site will be called the Red Bird Innovation Center. 

"It’s going to be open for everyone. All entrepreneurs. But we want to make sure that our BIPOC and women entrepreneurs get connected. That they build their social capitol and they build their financial capital as well,” Hearns explained.

The $2.1 million expansion project is a significant investment. Small business owners like Iman and Freddie Harris of Raisa Agency will conduct business in the new space.

“We’re a full-service marketing agency that works with small businesses, to municipalities, nationwide,” said Harris. 

Their company has been affiliated with the DEC Network five years. In that time, Raisa Agency has had access to mentors, financial resources, and the owners said they’ve seen their business grow.

“The DEC has offered us so many resources that we probably wouldn’t have been able to get in contact with if we weren’t with the DEC,” said Harris. 

The Red Bird Innovation Center’s expansion is bringing even more momentum to a Southern Dallas campus that’s already seeing a significant amount of development and change.

“We want people to be able to connect and collaborate,” said Hearn. 

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Developers said the new Red Bird Innovation Center is expected to open by December 2023 or January 2024.