BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Calling all innovators, game-changers, and entrepreneurs.

Applications are still open for emerging companies and organizations that wish to scale and commercialize their products or services through Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation’s StartUp Texas program.

The seed fund program is part of BCIC’s ongoing efforts to cultivate a culture and ecosystem of entrepreneurship in Brownsville and the greater Rio Grande Valley.

Nathan Burkhart, director of marketing & small business development for BCIC, said the Startup Texas Pitch Summit is a live pitch event that showcases early stage companies pitching their product or service to industry experts, venture capitalists, and high profile media. 

Winning teams earn $20,000 in seed funding alongside mentorship and assistance from the eBridge Center for Business & Commercialization in Brownsville.

Burkhart said taking part provides not only an opportunity to refine one’s pitch abilities but also compete for a share of $100,000. Those that apply can gain media exposure, potential clients, and access to investors, he explained, with qualified teams getting personalized pitch coaching and feedback from industry specialists.

Burkhart said applications close this Saturday.

“Brownsville was born of entrepreneurs, and we want to continue that entrepreneurial spirit by promoting the creation and scalability of innovative businesses in our community,” Burkhart said.

“Research shows how startups are disproportionately responsible for innovations that drive economic growth, and account for most net new job creation. This Pitch Summit is just another example of the ecosystem we are creating for our community, for the Valley.”

Josh Mejia, executive director for BCIC, said his group is helping to create a circle of economic empowerment that expands commerce opportunities and generates beneficial outcomes for the community.

“This is more than just an opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch their unique innovations to industry leaders and investors, it’s an opportunity to get a glimpse into how the next generation sees the future of the Brownsville economy,” Mejia said.

Mejia award

Josh Mejia

Meanwhile, Mejia has been selected as Young Young Economic Developer of the Year for 2020 by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers.

Only two individuals from over 5,000 members across the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and other nations are selected.

The award recognizes outstanding achievement by a young, emerging leader in the economic development profession. IEDC takes into account the impact the leader has on their organization, the community as a whole, and how their achievements contribute to the advancement of economic development as a profession. 

IEDC is recognized as the premiere economic development association, dedicated to helping economic development professionals create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions.

“I am extremely grateful to be recognized by the world’s leading organization for economic development” Mejia, said. “The successes we are capturing could not be possible without the work and support of the BCIC team, board of directors, and our community leadership. I am excited to continue to foster a diverse local economy, attract the best economic development opportunities, and continue to work for the betterment of Brownsville.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows Nathan Burkhart, director of marketing & small business development for Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation.

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