Recently, WalletHub, a leading personal finance outlet, listed Brownsville as the 7th Best City for Hispanic Entrepreneurs.

According to WalletHub, their analysts checked the Hispanic business climate in 150 of the largest U.S. cities to help aspiring entrepreneurs and established businesses find the most fertile ground for their enterprises.

Brownsville was the only city in the Valley to make their list. Among the list of criteria used to rank cities was Hispanic-business-friendliness, startups per capita, number of small business loans awarded, housing affordability, and Hispanic population growth. The trajectory for the success of small businesses in our city continues to increase. The message is loud and clear, “Brownsville continues to be a great place for small businesses!”

The Brownsville Chamber of Commerce is leading the effort to improve the climate for small business startups, as well as established businesses. Brownsville is an emerging entrepreneurial community, and last week’s announcement of the arrival of SATA USA, an Italian machining operation, is yet another sign that new industries are coming to Brownsville.

Aside from increasing the opportunities for business owners to increase their knowledge and expertise through our Chamber University Program, which offers more than 40 professional development workshops, we also partner with numerous small business service providers to offer business owners the resources they need to expand their businesses and reach more customers. Some of those resources include access to experts to help create business and marketing plans, as well as access to lending institutions and organizations such as LiftFund that can offer startup capital, credit report reviewing and planning, and business and strategic planning. These organizations want to lend money to businesses in Brownsville.

Looking to the future, the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce is also working to inspire future business leaders through the creation of the Brownsville Young Chamber. The Brownsville Young Chamber (BYC) program is a great opportunity to develop Brownsville’s future entrepreneurs. By providing opportunities for BYC members to engage with business and community leaders and providing relevant professional development, we aim to cultivate a strong and innovative pro-business culture that sustains Brownsville’s future economic development. Over 50 interested young professionals attended the first social gathering, and before the end of the event, 19 had officially joined BYC. More continue to join each week.

Lastly, we know that there are many challenges to opening and sustaining a successful business, so in the very near future, we plan to expand our business services to provide more support to small business owners by offering financial incentives to cultivate more creativity and innovation. We also want to attract new entrepreneurs and industries to Brownsville, so together with local business and community organizations, we will strengthen the entrepreneurial infrastructure so that we develop a qualified workforce, provide vital business support services, create a fertile pro-business climate, and in the end improve our quality of life. Each day, we take small steps toward these goals, and each day we see the success of our members and know that Brownsville is a great city—on its way to greater prosperity.

¡Adelante! Together—We are the Chamber!

Editor’s Note: The above guest column by Melinda Rodriguez first appeared in Progress, the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce’s newsletter.