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Space, training offered to start-ups

Free space, split utilities and valuable mentoring are available for prospective businesses thanks to local businessman Mark Ellis, the Dublin Economic Development Corporation and Tarleton’s Small Business Development Center.

Ellis is calling the project The Launch Pad and is setting up space for as many as six to eight new businesses at 117 E. Blackjack (formerly The Iron Star) with three start-up businesses already signed on. The space will be renovated to fit the needs of Launch Pad start-ups with the assistance of the businesses start-up owners themselves.

“This is an excellent opportunity for someone who has a home-based business or the idea for a start-up to try it out with a safety net,” said Karen Wright, executive director of the EDC.

The space will be rent-free for six months while the start-ups are offered free training by the SBDC and and the Dublin EDC.

Business analyst Amy Wright of SBDC, who shares office space in Dublin with the EDC, will work with tenants on their business plan, market research, cash flow, cost projections, marketing, social media, customer relations, business structure and other areas of business management and finance.

The advising group will also work with the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Go Texan program, in which the Dublin EDC holds membership.

While the space is rent-free for six months, tenants will split the cost of utilities and other fees for the six-month training period, which can be extended under certain situations. At the end of the six month period, businesses can decide whether to stay at the Launch Pad or to seek a stand-alone store front.

“The Launch Pad will provide solid business advice in a supportive environment, where entrepreneurs can learn from each other and the public,” Wright said. “There is no long-term lease and relatively little expense during this training period. If they choose to strike out on their own, the EDC and SBDC will be available to work with them to find a permanent location and financing, if needed.”

Ellis, who has been active in Dublin residential and commercial real estate for the past two years, said he is excited about helping businesses get started. “If they succeed, we all win. This is a way for start-up businesses to have some security while they find out if their business idea can succeed and if they have the perseverance to be a business owner.

“There are details to be worked out, but many of those will be developed by the start-ups themselves,” he said.

Anyone who is interested in The Launch Pad should contact the Dublin Economic Development Corp., 111 S. Patrick St., 254 445-1919, dublintxedc@gmail.com.

Dublin Citizen

938 N. Patrick
Dublin, TX 76446
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