Boerne/Kendall County residents and, in particular, budding entrepreneurs, have an exciting opportunity on the horizon. The Boerne Kendall County Angel Network (BKCAN) along with collaborator, Boerne Kendall County Economic Development Corporation (BKCEDC), recently announced the creation of Boerne’s first business incubator, Das GreenHaus.
With the rapid population growth in Kendall County, Das GreenHaus could not have come at a more ideal time, although the 501(c)3 nonprofit is the culmination of years of thoughtful planning.
“This is just another step in our strategy to create quality business opportunities for Kendall County,” says Amy Story, President/CEO of BKCEDC. “One of our top goals is to foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem and make Boerne a hub of entrepreneurial activity.”
The new incubator, which is anticipated to launch before the end of 2022, will be situated in the former 6,300-square-foot Public Works building, located at 400 East Blanco Road. Das GreenHaus will be offering memberships that come with a variety of options, including shared workspaces, private offices, access to conference rooms, coffee/snack bar and an outdoor patio. There is a vetting process to ensure entrepreneurs’ plans align with Das GreenHaus’s mission and leases will have fixed terms. This is truly an incubator for new businesses to get them on their feet and onto the next phase of business development.
“The City of Boerne is proud to be able to partner with the Boerne Kendall County EDC and Boerne Kendall County Angel Network as they prepare to launch this first-of-its-kind space in Boerne. Das GreenHaus will serve as a launching pad of innovation to further provide support with networking, education and capital challenges and help grow our community’s entrepreneurial spirit,” says City Manager Ben Thatcher.
Das GreenHaus Board Member, Kathy Estes, comments, “Entrepreneurship-led development has been successful in a number of rural Texas communities where business incubators are established. The vision for Das GreenHaus is to be part of the solution to growing our own entrepreneurial ecosystem with businesses that fit within the City, County and Community strategic plan providing livable wage jobs while preserving the natural resources we all hold so dear.”
The overall goal is to enhance the thriving community of Kendall County by attracting and nurturing new businesses that wish to make Kendall County their home. “The quality of life in Boerne is unparalleled and growth is happening. Das GreenHaus allows us to shape that growth and encourage the types of businesses that would be a fit in Kendall County,” says Story.
With BKCAN providing potential access to capital and Das GreenHaus providing entrepreneurs a hub for business activity, Das GreenHaus presents an amazing value proposition for potential founders. BKCAN Executive Director, Justin McKenzie explains, “Creating a visible entrepreneurial ecosystem in Boerne and Kendall County will give our talented citizens and children a place to build their passions. Das GreenHaus gives Boerne a place to share mentorship, ideas and innovation that will help us reduce Kendall County’s number one export, our talent. Everyone has worked hard to create an ecosystem that will foster Boerne’s brightest innovators to create and adapt the future of work here in Kendall County. The BKCAN will be interested in seeing the future alumni of Das GreenHaus and investing in their future success.”
Perhaps one of the most beneficial aspects for members is access to numerous programs, workshops and networking events, as well as developing partnership opportunities with organizations, such as the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas and the Small Business Development Center. Das GreenHaus also intends to collaborate with Comfort ISD and Boerne ISD’s newly created Incubator.edu in order to offer support for student entrepreneurs.
Incubator.edu, led by teacher, Jenny Breuer, launched in the fall of 2020 and has already been successful in developing the burgeoning entrepreneurs found in local high schools. The student participants are tasked to invent products or services with the help of mentors, making future collaborations with Das GreenHaus even more rich with such boundless talent.
Another highly anticipated component of Das GreenHaus is the community involvement, specifically a mentorship program that utilizes the extensive network of retired and semi-retired businessmen and women of Kendall County.
“We want to engage this community and give them an outlet in which to share their knowledge. We’re hoping to energize mentorship groups by tapping into the tremendous amount of experience and wisdom that exists here in Kendall County,” shares Story. “We see it as a win-win for both mentees and mentors. It’s a chance for them to pay it forward.”
Currently, programming is not established, but workshops will run the gamut from finance to marketing and will continue to expand as the incubator grows. Trends and data from other successful business incubators have been evaluated to optimize development of the program.
Das GreenHaus plans to start measuring milestones from day one and will report to the City Council every six months with status updates.
“We want to make sure the space is utilized and is a worthwhile place for them to launch their businesses,” says Story.
Story, along with BKCAN Executive Director Justin McKenzie and Kathy Estes, past chair of the BKCEDC, has spearheaded this project for years. Her personal vision is one in which Das GreenHaus is the start of an entrepreneurial ecosystem that puts Boerne and Kendall County on the map as the ideal location to both live and grow a business.
“I’m so excited for this project to come to fruition, and I hope to see many successful start-ups emerge from Das GreenHaus and remain in Kendall County over the next 20 years!” she adds.
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