MISSION, RGV – Alex Meade, chief executive officer of Mission Economic Development Corporation, unveiled the Center for Education and Economic Development building and named its Entrepreneurship Hall after Mission Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas.
The Mission Center for Education and Economic Development (CEED) is a 55,000-square-foot facility that aims to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in science, technology, education, arts and math (STEAM). Meade said the entrepreneurship hall was named after Salinas because he has always been a proponent and an advocate for small business.
Meade said in a very basic way, it is an office building that allows for business incubation, but at the same time it allows creativity.
“We want to make sure that we create a culture of creativity–a culture of collaboration,” Meade said. “We want small businesses to work with each other. We want the educational entities to work with the small businesses, as well as the technology companies that are here. That culture of collaboration and creativity is going to play a big role in the success of this building.”
The CEED building is comprised of three different sections. The first is education, CEED is partnered up with Schreiner University, based out of Kerrville, and will begin teaching courses next fall. Also in the education hall is Teach for America. The second section is the entrepreneurship hall, and RGVision Magazine, among others, is situated there. And the last section is technology, where the local non-profit, CodeRGV can be found for coding bootcamps.
“As you all know, technology is ever changing,” Meade said. “Technology plays a bigger role in everything we do–making sure that our workforce is ready for those new skills that they need is something as an EDC is very important for us.”
Aside from the offices, there is also open seating. Meade said open seating is for coworking space.
“Coworking is a social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but share values and are still interested in the synergy that is created from a place like this,” Meade said.
Other cities in the Rio Grande Valley have centers that support entrepreneurship. This includes Brownsville’s WorkPub, Edinburg’s The Grindstone, McAllen’s Techspace and Weslaco’s future Center for Innovation in partnership with UTRGV.
“What we’re doing with the other coworking spaces is we’re working on establishing a visa program,” Meade said. “If you’re a member (at another center), you can come over to this working (space). You can get a membership at a reduced rate or we work out some kind of agreement. We want to create this communication or remove boundaries for the entrepreneur.”
On behalf of Mission EDC, Meade also signed a “Strategic Alliance Memorandum with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
SBA District Director Angela Burton said the agreement will encourage entrepreneurship and economic empowerment through increased collaboration on entrepreneurial and financial education for local residents and small business owners.
“The benefit of the partnership is clear – the SAM is intended to spur economic development through entrepreneurial education and programs that advance greater access to capital, expanded technical assistance and access to procurement programs,” Burton said.