The Rio Grande Valley’s brain drain can be halted with projects such as the eBridge Center for Business and Commercialization.
That is the view of Josh Mejia, executive director of Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation. In an exclusive Zoom interview with the Rio Grande Guardian, Mejia spoke about the importance of the eBridge center, for which a groundbreaking ceremony will be held in downtown Brownsville in a couple of weeks.
“The full name is the eBridge Center for Business and Commercialization. It is an entrepreneurial center that has consolidated all the foundational resources necessary for entrepreneurs to start their ventures, obtain capital, scale them up, and eventually reach new markets,” Mejia explained.
“It is a one-size fits all for the first floor. For any entrepreneur that wants to just build a mom and pop shop or who wants to create a large enterprise, they can do that. Our second floor is specialized on acceleration, to be able to help folks obtain the capital through VCs (venture capitalists), through angel investors, through SBA (Small Business Administration) lending, or lending as well thanks to the recent investment that the EDA (Economic Development Administration) made of $2 million.”
Mejia said there is no clear path to entrepreneurship. However, he said BCIC is helping make the pathway more navigable.
“The eBridge Center for Business & Commercialization is mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs, access capital, and scale commercially,” Mejia said.
“The opportunities that you would typically find in a large market like Austin, Silicon Valley, New York City, Miami, you can find them here in Brownsville without having to leave. And the Weslaco CIC building is an extension of our center and services because they are a partner of ours as well. The Valley is no longer going to be a place for brain drain. It (the eBridge center) is going to be place where folks can start their venture and see it reach new markets here. We are continuously working to make sure that we continue to improve it and make it just easier for folks to be able to start up their ventures.”
The CIC Mejia referred to is the UT-Rio Grande Valley Center for Innovation and Commercialization in Weslaco.
“The eBridge Center is focused not just on tapping into the human capital of our community or commercializing scalable businesses, but establishing entrepreneurial equity in developing and advancing an open and inclusive ecosystem for all entrepreneurs,” Mejia said.
Mejia thanked BCIC’s partners in the eBridge Center project. Namely, the City of Brownsville, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the U.s. Economic Development Administration, the Office of Congressman Filemon Vela, the office of U.s. Sen. John Cornyn, and the office of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the eBridge Center takes place at 1034 E. Adams Street, Brownsville, on June 16, starting at 10 a.m. To RSVP go to www.BEDC.com/ebridge.
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