To grow from selling a couple cool customized socks to owning a business that generates over four million dollars in sales a year may sound a tad far-fetched, but it isn’t. This dream can very much so become a reality, as it was for DVAPP Socks, with the help and support of Domi Station.
Domi Station is a non-profit, local business incubator that aids and guides entrepreneurs and small businesses toward prosperity, growth, and success. Executive director, Antonio Montoya, believed it helps entrepreneurs take their passions to the next level.
“You can’t go to class to learn how to hustle,” said Montoya
For that reason, Domi offers a wide range of services that help local entrepreneurs expand their businesses. It is currently involved with over 20 startups. Domi is not a place where you come to take classes and graduate, it is more about getting engaged.
Montoya explained that to be a successful business, you must have a unique approach; something that sets you apart from the competition. However, not all companies have to solve the biggest problems in the world. It can be a simple solution to an even simpler problem.
Although Domi does offer its “Get Started” program, it is far from the standard college course. It is a six-month long curriculum that guides and mentor new entrepreneurs by setting milestones every week. With advisors and coaches in branding, accounting, legalities, and marketing, members are able to gain knowledge on how to properly establish their businesses. All Domi Station services are free for those in the program.
With “Get Started,” entrepreneurs learn how to construct a business model and establish relationships with their customers amongst many other tactics. Domi encourages anyone with a small business or idea to come out and take advantage of their services.
“Ideas can be modest,” explained Montoya, “it doesn’t have to be revolutionary.”
Enrollment for the “Get Started” program is offered in the fall and spring. Montoya encourages everyone to apply for “Get Started,” but if you are not accepted into the program, do not get discouraged. You can still become a member.
Like those in the “Get Started” program, regular members have the rights to the 24-hour facility, work stations, meeting rooms, and café area. There’s even a ping pong table when things get a little too stressful and members need to release some steam.
Students even receive a fifty percent discount on their membership. Domi welcomes everyone with open arms and non-members are encouraged to come to the events as well.
Phoebe Barnes, a member of Domi Station, utilizes the facility any chance she gets. She said since joining Domi’s community, she has met clients and worked on creative content. She also regularly attends the networking events and workshops hosted by Domi. ‘Women Wednesdays’, is one of her favorite events to partake in.
“I think the collaborative space is great,” Barnes exclaimed.
With all of the skills she has learned while at Domi, Barnes plans to start a sustainable consulting firm that helps businesses become eco-friendlier. Her entrepreneurial ideas don’t stop there. She also aims to create a business that supports collaborative spaces for alternative means of housing sustainability.
Domi also offers great internship opportunities. Through the internship students can shadow a member of the “Get Started” program or someone who has already started their own business. This allows interns to get first-hand experience of the ups and downs that come with entrepreneurship. “It is not as glamourous as it looks,” emphasized Montoya.
Amy Flynn, a recent graduate of Lively Technological College, learned of Domi Station through her internship with B-EZ Graphics. While interning, a part of her requirements is to utilize everything Domi has to offer. While there, she makes use of the work area to design course catalogues for B-EZ Graphics.
“I’m usually there from about ten in the morning to three in the afternoon,” Flynn expressed. “It’s also a cool place to just study”.
Like Barnes, she too has attended a Woman Wednesday event and loved it. While in attendance at the event, she learned great ways to promote businesses on social media. She’s looking forward to the many events that will be held in November, especially for graphic design.
Flynn recommends everyone to be open-minded. “Even if there’s an event that you may think isn’t for you, go anyway,” she added, “you might pick up something.”