BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Entrepreneurs in Brownsville no longer have to worry about access to capital being a barrier.
That is according to the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC), which runs the StartUp Texas Accelerator and Seed Fund.
This program has been investing in Brownsville community small businesses since 2020.
This is how the most recent program worked. Local entrepreneurs in the food and service-related industries joined the StartUp Texas Quality of Life cohort in May. The participants completed a ten-week rigorous accelerator program overseen by UT-Rio Grande Valley Entrepreneurship & Commercialization Center. At the end of the course they showcased their business during a Demo Day event, with the chance to win up to $40,000 to assist in scaling their venture.
Last week’s Demo Day was held, for the first time, at the eBridge Center for Business & Commercialization. It drew a big crowd.
How did it go? Brilliantly, according to Cori Peña, president and CEO of BCIC. She posted this review on Facebook:
“Thanks, y’all, for supporting startups on the border, by the sea, and beyond!
“First and foremost, a massive shout-out to everyone who honored us with their presence at the StartUp Texas Quality of Life Ventures 2023 Demo Day. The energy in a full house is unbeatable, and the entrepreneurs on stage felt the buzz of your excitement and support!
“Our hearts are full of gratitude, and it wouldn’t have been such a fantastic night without our incredible sponsors, Ruby Red Hospitality and The Mitte Foundation.
“Big applause for our winners: TXQ RUBS – $40,000 in seed funding. F10 Casting – $20,000 in seed funding. La Pale Frozen Fruit Bar – $10,000 in seed funding.
“You’ve proven that hard work, passion, and innovation are the foundations for success.
“To every participant, from Al Chile, to Juices by Trisha, to Go Create Microfarms, and every entrepreneurial spirit in between, thank you for sharing your ventures and lighting up the stage. Each of you adds a unique flavor to our thriving Brownsville ecosystem.
“To our brilliant panel of judges, thank you for taking the time to provide insights and being vital in making tough decisions. Your expertise elevates this event and our community as a whole.
“Our fantastic community of attendees, you’re the real MVPs. Your enthusiasm, cheers, and networking with the entrepreneurs after their pitches make all the difference. Events like these are made memorable because of YOU.
“No se les olvide, por supuesto, ¡también hablamos español! Si necesitas recursos para negocios, no dudes en contactarnos. Estamos aquí para apoyarte en cada paso de tu travesía empresarial.
“And let’s not forget the fantastic team from UTRGV Entrepreneurship & Commercialization Center, who volunteered at the event and played a pivotal role in training and prepping our entrepreneurs. They’re not only our companions at the eBridge Center for Business * Commercialization but also our partners in shaping the future of businesses in Brownsville and beyond!
“As one chapter closes, another begins. We’re excited to announce our upcoming StartUp Texas events: Emerging Industries and SBIR/STTR cohorts! There’s a space for you if you’re in tech, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, or energy.
“Ready to write your success story? Apply now and become part of our ever-growing family. Until next time, keep innovating, growing, and pushing boundaries!”
Here, below, is an audio recording from the recent Demo Day. It features, in order of appearance, Brownsville entrepreneur Steve Perez, BCIC board member Traci Wickett, BCIC’s Peña, BCIC director of business development Nathan Burkhart, BCIC director of marketing and communications Nelson I. Amaro, and UTRGV’s director of entrepreneurship, innovation and commercialization, Linda Ufland Romo.
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