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Future of Innovate Center uncertain

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600 Parker Square Road in Flower Mound is home to the Innovate Center.

As any entrepreneur will tell you, not every good idea follows its original path or works out as planned.

Unfortunately, although the Flower Mound Innovate Center was– and still is– a good idea, a shared view-of-purpose was missing in the joint contract between the town and the entrepreneurial center’s DayOne Consulting management company, a Texas corporation specializing in helping cities build economic development through local entrepreneurship.

The three-year contract for the Flower Mound Innovate Center was initiated in October 2015 under former Economic Development Director Mark Wood. At that time, Jason Adams, managing partner of DayOne Consulting said that the center, “will provide a space for local entrepreneurs to connect and find synergies, as well as have access to mentors, programs, resources and investors.”

A performance review by the town of the center’s progress after two years led to the decision to terminate the lease agreement with DayOne Consulting as the management firm.

“We tried it and are pleased that the town is reaching out to the local businesses,” said Andrea Roy, Director of Economic Development. “The problem is that a lot of the things that were presented to the town, weren’t what was happening. And while the wording in the contract was left open, these were things that we expected to happen.”

Flower Mound terminated its three-year lease with building owner Curtis Shore of Parker Assets I LLC for the 4,600-square-feet center, housed in the 600 building in Parker Square, on Dec. 31, 2017. As part of the termination, the town will pay one lump-sum of $185,900, which constitutes the remaining rent due under the lease.

Meetings of the business-oriented minds occur at the Innovate Flower Mound Entrepreneur Center in Parker Square. (Photo by Helen’s Photography)

“The guidance necessary to implement the envisioned business plan was missing from the equation for success,” said Roy. Among the list of missing items were programs by mentors or entrepreneurial leaders, such as, “social media for start-ups or other basic business programs.”

Without its own resources to manage the center, the town determined it was financially more responsible to terminate the lease with Parker Square, rather than take over the facility.

“It was a little abrupt and came as a shock,” said Adams about the lease termination. “We’ve been looking at ways to keep it open by the end of January; re-evaluating the use of the space. Before [now] it’s been a central gathering space to connect people. Now, it will go back to a collaborative space with two different strategies and will be focused on real estate.”

He also pointed to the fact that in 2017 the center hosted 333 events– from Chamber of Commerce LEADS meetings, to talks about products and guest speakers who were brought in for information events.

“With Flower Mound, the goal for the center was slanted towards job creations, but that isn’t what it’s intended for,” Adams explained. “We kept it running– including staff– for only $11,000 a month.”

Under the terms of the agreement, the town’s funding was limited to $33,000 per quarter.

Adams said he’s hoping to have a vision for the space by the end of this month.

The Invest Local, LLC, a company created by Adams and Shore, will remain active.

“We started the company as a way to invest in local Flower Mound companies via time, talent and treasure (capital),” explained Adams. “We are firm believers that the source of the next largest investment capital will come from locals investing in locals.”

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About The Author

Lyn Rejahl Pry

Lyn Pry is the Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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