Applications Open for Dakota Business Lending’s Entrepreneur District
Are you an entrepreneur looking for a new office space? Dakota Business Lending is accepting applications between January 4 and February 1 for their future co-working space The Entrepreneur District.
The best part? Spaces are free for the 10 entrepreneurs that are accepted.
The space will do more than prop up a handful of entrepreneurs in our community by allowing them to have a cost-free space away from their homes, it will also give the entrepreneurs something that most are severely lacking, the opportunity to collaborate.
“We are creating an environment for those in the program that allows them to essentially have co-workers,” Michael Schell, Entrepreneur Development Director at Dakota Business Lending said. “The physical layout of the space really helps to aid in that by allowing participants in the co-working space to roll over to someone else’s desk and bounce ideas off of one another. We will also be aligning our entrepreneurs with mentors in the community so they can have outside support from small business owners that have been there, done that. They’ll also have opportunities for different trainings that we put on. We will also be providing scholarships and grants for them to attend trainings that might be valuable to them for their specific businesses.”
Schell, who was brought on as the Entrepreneur Development Director in August to lead the charge, has a personal connection to this cause, having worked on a number of her own entrepreneurial efforts.
“I feel like, having been an entrepreneur for a long time, I know the challenges and needs of other entrepreneurs,” Schell said. “So, being able to support them in this way, was really just a no-brainer for me.”
The spots in the entrepreneur district are entirely free. The only stipulation upon being accepted into the program is that participants are required to donate two hours of their talents every month to either a nonprofit or another small business in the community.
“We really want them to pay it forward and use their superpowers,” Schell said. “If they’re a marketing professional, maybe they help an organization in town that needs help with marketing. That’s really the only requirement we have for them utilizing our space.”
“We wanted there to be a way for our entrepreneurs to continue to connect in the community, and being able to give their resources is one way to do that,” Schell said. “It helps them build their portfolio and get themselves out there more.”
Who Should Apply?
According to Schell anyone can apply, the business just needs to either be a business that wants to grow and really maturate and develop or a business that really just wants to sustain but wants to create a more robust internal business.
“We are really excited about getting a variety of businesses in here,” Schell said. “I think that that is what makes it really unique, having the collaboration among different types of businesses so they can see different perspectives, get different ideas from people working in completely different fields, collaborate in unique ways and solve problems in unique ways.
Do you have to be a Dakota Business Lending Customer?
No, you do not.
“We just really want to support a strong, small business ecosystem here and a thriving entrepreneur environment,” Schell said. “This is one way that we can do that. Dakota business lending can support people through lending, of course, to small businesses. But, if we create a vibrant, entrepreneurial ecosystem, that helps us that helps our community and small businesses, it just really amplifies so many great things in the small business world.”