The Garage, a new collaborative workspace in Deep Ellum, is holding its grand opening event this Thursday. The event will feature guest speaker Ben Davis, founder of The Gent’s Place.
We caught up with The Garage co-founder Michael Gilbert to chat about the space.
What is The Garage and what need is it trying to fill?
The Garage is more a collaboration space than a coworking space. While we do serve as a coworking space we want people to understand that you can rent a desk anywhere, we want people in the Garage that we are helping coach, collaborate with, or make or get introductions so deals get done. We just didn’t see a space in the DFW market that allowed that and certainly not a space where multiple industries, mentors, service providers and investors can all meet or make intros.
Who are the founders and why are they passionate about its mission?
Myself [Michael Gilbert] and Danny Jester are the founders. Both are serial entrepreneurs for over 25 years with over 30 businesses between them and hundreds of M&A’s. We also buy and sell businesses in any vertical. I had the vision of an online collaboration portal but Danny knew that you had to bring people together in person. Thus, The Garage came to be. Our mission at The Garage is for people to connect, collaborate, make and get introductions to people and resources that can help them execute on their deal or idea.
Who do you see as being the perfect members for The Garage?
Anyone with a business…mature or startup…any vertical; real estate, oil and gas, technology, manufacturing and at any stage; investors and service providers looking to mentor business owners to success. We all need to stop looking to have our fingers in every deal that comes to our plate. Many times it’s just not what I do or I don’t understand the market or industry. But what if I had someone in my network that could help push your business to success? Well, let’s get back to the Texas way of helping folks without always wanting something in return.
How does membership work? Do you take equity in companies?
Anyone can be a member…no charge. We do not take equity in every deal that happens in The Garage. However we are investors ourselves so yes we take equity in some deals but the goal isn’t to be involved in every deal that comes through The Garage but to provide resources for every person. For now, members merely come to Events. If you want to rent a desk you can but you have to be involved in collaboration in some form; meaning we have to have invested in you, are working directly with our mentors, are an investor or service provider mentoring one of the businesses.
How do you define success for The Garage?
Our goal is to help 1 million people fund their dream. That may not come to fruition in my lifetime but that’s the vision of The Garage. Not everyone wants to start a Google or Facebook or Instagram. Some folks just want a better life for themselves and their children. What if we could fund a dream for someone just getting out of prison? What if we could fund the single mom that has been living on minimum wage? What if we could fund that small idea and put $40,000 or even $100,000 in their pocket? What if we could help them create a half million dollar company or even a multi million dollar company? That’s not life changing money to some, but for them it is. That’s the vision of The Garage. To help those in need finally put that idea into action. The only way to do that is to have mentors and investors that will help them but more importantly, hold them accountable to executable items in their plan. As you know, most businesses don’t fail because of lack of funding, its lack of execution.
Where can people find you and learn more?
You can find more at www.WorkTheGarage.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WorkTheGarage
Or, come on down and visit us any time. 2930 Commerce in Deep Ellum.