New director has big plans to grow Domi Station
By Kathryn Lewis
As business start-ups go, Antonio Montoya knows that money and location usually are two hurdles for entrepreneurs.
Montoya has the location – Domi Station — where he recently became the new director. Now one of his major goals is to help clients of the business incubator find sources to finance their ventures.
That, plus bringing back a PowerApp and improving an I/O software development program are some of the ways Montoya plans to help clients who use the working space to grow as entrepreneurs.
He planned to begin bringing investors to the table this week.
“We are going to try to bring investors and entrepreneurs to pitch,” he said, “and try to get (them) together to start a conversation for possible funding opportunities. That’s something I think is another great area for growth.”
Montoya replaced Lucas Lindsey, becoming its second director since Domi Station began operation four years ago on Railroad Avenue.
Montoya, a 51-year-old Columbian native, came to Tallahassee from Huntsville, Ala., where he was Executive Director of HuntsvilleWest, a co-working space similar to Domi Station. He’s also had a role in establishing other startup ecosystems in North Alabama. Montoya, who has been involved with start-ups as a college student, also has held executive positions at several global technology companies.
Barbra Wescott, has had plenty of help from Domi Station with her start-up, Swellcoin, but said she’s eagerly anticipating what Montoya brings. Especially in the area of technology.
“I wanted to try and build a company, but I had some learning to do about starting a business and connecting with technology,” she said. “By coming to Domi, there are opportunities to learn and build with other people to grow a company and create job-share in the community.”
So far what she’s seen and heard from Montoya is inspiring, said Wescott, whose business is geared at helping consumers earn loyalty points.
“I’m thrilled,” she said. “He seems like someone who is going to really build an exciting community for entrepreneurs. I think he’ll continue Domi’s mission of empowering entrepreneurs across the community.”
The I/O program that Montoya plans to enhance emphasizes input/output, which allows participants to learn different programming skills. It started a year ago as a joint venture between Domi Station and FAMU, giving students in the school’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program an opportunity to participate in code academy classes.
“We are going to bring companies that are in need of the office to take a look at the developers and their work, hopefully get some people hired,” Montoya said. “It’s more like a jobs program.”
Like the I/O program, the PowerApp concept is in Montoya’s wheelhouse because of his passion for technology. Having a PowerApp allows tenants at Domi Station to create apps that run in a browser or ondevices such as phones and tablets.
The PowerApp will allow fledgling entrepreneurs to take their businesses to the next level, Montoya said.
“We need to have something for that and there’s apparently enough of a demand for that,” he said.
Montoya not only wants to help the businesses that use Domi Station to grow. His vision is to expand so others can pursue their dreams.
“We are already at capacity,” he said. “We are looking at ways we can expand our space, community and the impact that we make,” he said. “This is also a great opportunity for us to continue to grow some of the programs that we have already started.”