On June 17, 2013 the McKinney Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Curious Complex opened the Collide Center, an innovative program designed to help entrepreneurs start and grow their own businesses. It opened with 10 flagship resident companies employing 24 people. In 10 months, Collide Village (formerly the Collide Center) has supported 30 companies and 63 people.
In addition to offering workspace and networking opportunities, Collide Village offers a variety of support to entrepreneurs and anyone interested in starting their own business. Every Thursday morning MEDC and Collide Village host Collide Over Coffee where you can connect with entrepreneurs and seasoned professionals over coffee and donuts to brainstorm, discuss challenges or meet new contacts. In addition, there are monthly workshops, speaker presentations, access to investors and mentoring programs. Workshops and presentations touch on different topics that will appeal to entrepreneurs at different levels in their business. These events are free and open to the public.
“It has been an amazing year,” said John Valencia, Director of BREP & Emerging Technology for MEDC. “The program has evolved and we are continuing to grow and make changes based on the feedback from the tenants. We want to be able to offer these resident companies and the community the tools they need to succeed.”
Being a tenant comes with advantages.In addition to the resources previously mentioned, tenants can attend pitch sessions to refine their pitch before meeting with potential investors. Collide Village also assists in securing meetings with investors and other business leaders.
Many tenants of Collide Village have seen success. Jason Adams, owner of Curious Complex and anchoring tenant of Collide Village, appeared on the ABC-TV show Shark Tank in 2013.
“Entrepreneurship is the core of what I enjoy doing,” Adams said. “As an entrepreneur, being featured on Shark Tank was a huge opportunity. I’m lucky to be in the City of McKinney where the McKinney Economic Development Corporation is fostering that entrepreneurial spirit. The opening of Collide Village is a perfect example.”
Adams isn’t the only tenant to experience success. Robert M. Atkins of Green Eye Games, a flagship tenant of Collide Village, chose McKinney’s co-working and accelerator program because of the mentoring by seasoned entrepreneurs and investors. The advice and opportunities offered can be helpful to entrepreneurs at all levels in their business not just start-ups.
Green Eye Games started in 2013 with four employees with one workspace in Collide Village. With the support and resources of professionals at Collide Village, Atkins used a Kick starter crowd funding campaign to raise $1.4 million. It ranked No. 7 for raising the most money for tabletop games using Kickstarter. Atkins sold his part of Green Eye Games to one of the partners. Shortly after, Atkins started his next venture with new partners and continues to work in Collide Village, with his new company, ABUZZ Entertainment.
“While Green Eye Games has taken off, my experience with Collide Village has been so valuable that I continue to reside in Collide Village while I start another venture,” said Atkins. “The networking and collaboration between resident companies is unlike anything I’ve experienced. There is no competition between tenants; we really just want to help each other succeed.”
The Collide Village provides an environment that offers entrepreneurs of all stages a place to collaborate.
“Over the last five years, MEDC supported 32 projects that have added to the tax base and created more than 1,000 jobs,” said McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller. “Our Business Retention and Expansion Program is an integral part of MEDC, it provides support to new and existing businesses to help them thrive. Our goal is to continue building a strong business community here in McKinney. As residents and city leaders, we want to see start-ups succeed and create more jobs.”
The Emerging Technology program was created in 2009 with the intent of assisting small start-up companies that would grow and provide jobs in McKinney. The McKinney Economic Development Corporation offers incentives in the form of rent reimbursements to high-tech startup companies that are in the process of growing. Since its creation, the Emerging Technologies program has helped 11 companies and supported 183 jobs in the community. Collide Village is part of the program and has been Successful in helping startups grow.
“This is incredibly exciting because you never know who you will connect with or where they will end up,” said Jim Wehmeier, President-CEO of McKinney Economic Development Corporation. “Today’s tech giants were once an idea and this creates the opportunity for us to be a part of tomorrow’s technology. In just 10 months, Collide Village entrepreneurs have been able to secure $4.2 million in funding. We can’t wait to see what the rest of 2014 has in store for our entrepreneurs.”
The Collide Village provides an environment that offers entrepreneurs of all stages a place to collaborate. The concept of “village” pulls together elements of talent, entrepreneurs, mentors, corporation, capital, space and various services into an ecosystem that fosters innovation in local communities with potential for global impact. It takes a Village to raise a successful entrepreneur and Collide is creating an environment that fosters this.
Collide Village is looking for companies that are working on cool or innovative products and emerging technologies, things that investors may be interested in or something that would be beneficial within the Collide Village eco-system. Companies must be looking toward growth or growing a business model.
For more information visit the website at CollideVillage.com.