BROWNSVILLE, Texas – UT-Rio Grande Valley’s Global Soft Landing Program has been such a quick fire success that it is going to be expanded.

This is according to Ron Garza, associate vice president of workforce and economic development at UTRV.

At a recent 2023 SelectUSA Investment Summit Spinoff event in Brownsville, Garza said the Global Soft Landing Program was “really thriving.”

And in an exclusive interview with the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service at a recent RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event, Garza said the program was now a “pillar” of his department.

Garza gave credit to Linda Ufland Romo, director of entrepreneurship, innovation, and commercialization for UTRGV, and her team. 

Working with the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation, Ufland Romo and her team have won statewide plaudits for the global soft landing program she launched at Brownsville’s eBridge Center for Business & Commercialization. There, Ufland Romo runs the university’s Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center. 

Garza said the program has been such a success that it is going to become regional in scope, not just centered in Brownsville. He said this can be achieved through the “hubs” his office is establishing in cities like Harlingen and Mission. 

Here is a video recording of what Garza said about the Global Soft Landing Program when speaking at the SelectUSA Investment Summit Spinoff:


Statewide recognition for the work of UTRGV’s Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center has come from Glenn Hamer, president of the Texas Association of Business. Speaking at the eBridge Center in January, Hamer said:

“The RGV area is vitally important to the success of the entire Texas economy. And what’s really very interesting about this (eBridge) center here, that is focused on entrepreneurship, is the proximity to Mexico and the relationships that have already been established with our friends south of the border,” Hamer said. “It could make this the entry point for entrepreneurship coming from Mexico into Texas and into the United States.”

Hamer spoke at a recent RGV Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event in McAllen. During a Q&A he was asked about the eBridge Center. Here is what he said:


It was at the RGVHCC event that the Guardian exclusively interviewed UTRGV’s Garza about the Global Soft Landing Program. Here is an audio recording of the interview:


Future SQC Software perspective

Eduardo Cerda is the founder of Future SQC Software. His company is part of the Global Soft Landing Program at eBridge.

Cerda said he chose to launch the U.S. component of his Monterrey-based manufacturing data software company in Brownsville, rather than Silicon Valley, in part because the city is totally bilingual.

Cerda gave special thanks to Ufland Romo. and Julio Ivan Quiroga, a development specialist and international program manager at UTRGV.

“Both Linda and, very honestly, Julio and his team have helped us a great deal.  I really got hooked with them. I love them. I’m very thankful to them. I think it (the Global Soft Landing Program) is the best way to grow a company like mine.,” Cerda told the Guardian.

“But, the other important thing is the bilingual aspect of the Rio Grande Valley. I can put some workers in Mexico or Latin America, and put the main staff here in Brownsville, and make the bridge, thanks to Brownsville being totally bilingual. It is one of their best selling points. For me, it’s like, very specific. The main reason is you have full command of both languages.”

BCIC perspective 

Soft landing facilities such as the one on offer at eBridge Center can play a big role in helping Mexican entrepreneurs make it in the United States, according to Nathan Burkhart, BCIC’s director of business development.

“The United States is the holy grail of market penetration. If you can penetrate the market, even get one percent of the market, you can go really far. So the ability to enter the U.S. market is difficult, it’s hard, when you’re trying to open up in New York or LA, or tier two cities like Denver, Austin, San Antonio, those are equally as hard, with the cost of living,” Burkhart said.

“Brownsville and our partnership here with the university and being within eBridge, we can offer those exact same resources and incentives and programs, a lower cost of living, better quality of life, or just as good, if you will. And our workforce is comparable to a lot of those cities.”

No Soft Landing Program in McAllen… just yet

Working with UTRGV, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce would like to establish a Global Soft Landing Program similar to the one operating in Brownsville. But it is not there yet.

In April, the Chamber sent out a news advisory to reporters headlined: “McAllen Chamber & UTRGV to Host Aguascalientes and Zacatecas Mexican Delegation to Promote Soft Landing Business in U.S.” 

The advisory said: “Media is invited to MOU (memorandum of understanding) signing between McAllen Chamber of Commerce, COMCE Zacatecas & UTRGV.”  

However, although UTRGV President Guy Bailey was present at the April 19 event, he did not sign the MOU. It was signed by McAllen Chamber President Josh Mejia, the president of COMCE Zacatecas, the Mexican consul to McAllen, and the secretary of tourism for Zacatecas.

COMCE stands for Consejo Empresarial Mexicano de Comercio Exterior and Inversion y Tecnologia.

In a letter, Bailey said: “We applaud the efforts of the McAllen Chamber and the Mexican Business Council of Foreign Trade on coordinating this event and look forward to being an active partner in strenghening the local economy and positively influencing the region’s prosperity.”

Editor’s Note: Click here to read the Rio Grande Guardian story titled, “How BCIC’s eBridge Center will help Mexican small businesses launch in the U.S.”

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