MISSION, RGV – The latest success story to come out of Ruby Red Ventures, a small business fund that aims to nurture entrepreneurial spirit, has been announced.

Pilar Gonzalez is the creator of DIP-IT – a yogurt-based dipping sauce with flavors including chipotle, cilantro, jalapeño, piquín pepper, and green olives. In 2014, Gonzalez and her company, Habibi Gourmet, earned $15,000 and won second place in H-E-B’s Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best food product competition.

Pilar Gonzalez
Pilar Gonzalez

Now, her DIP-IT product line will be placed on the shelves of hundreds of H-E-B stores across Texas, as well as Spec’s wine and liquor stores in Texas.

Alex Meade, Mission Economic Development Corportion CEO, said Pilar Gonzalez’s success serves as and example of how nurturing small business ideas to fruition can lead to success and local job creation. He said the entrepreneur is a two-time Ruby Red Ventures winner from Mission.

“Pilar’s determination, hard work and innovative ideas set a high bar for other Ruby Red Ventures participants, and we wouldn’t have it any other way,” Meade said. “She embodies the entrepreneurial spirit, and hope that other Mission start-ups and small businesses can take her lead and run with it.”

The Mission EDC and the Mission City Council unanimously approved in 2013 the creation of Ruby Red Ventures and a $100,000 annual small business fund that aims to nurture entrepreneurial spirit and promote the creation of innovative businesses in Mission. Gonzalez and her DIP-IT creation was one of the startup companies to benefit from the support of Ruby Red Ventures.

Since 2013, more than 150 entrepreneurs have gone through the Ruby Red Ventures program, and dozens have each been funded up to $25,000.

Meade said the Ruby Red Ventures program will undergo registrations for the next six-month program starting this fall. He said there will be two rounds of funding of $50,000 each per round for those who qualify. The funding program will continue to invest the time and money in local Mission businesses, all in hopes to turn local ideas into big realities. “We hope to find the next Pilar Gonzalez,” Meade told the Rio Grande Guardian.

Mission EDC will soon open its Center for Education and Economic Development (CEED) building. The 55,000 square foot facility will house many Ruby Red Ventures grant winners. Meade said CEED will be an education facility that will aim to create an entrepreneurial and Science, Technology, Education, Arts and Math (E-STEAM) ecosystem. “Mission EDC’s existing programs Ruby Red Ventures, Code the Town and Enginuity will jumpstart CEED, and in effect provide the strategy for sustainable businesses and a 21st century workforce,” Meade said.

CEED will also house the offices of Mission EDC and Mission Redevelopment Authority. The facility will also provide ample space for entrepreneurial tenants, conference rooms, lecture halls, training classrooms, computer labs, industrial space, maker space, a coffee shop, and a commons for the public.

“We have taken all these programs, Ruby Red, Code the Town, Enginuity, and now Etsy and now we have justified why we need a new facility. Fifteen years leasing, now we are in need of a new building right next to City Hall,” Meade said.

For more information about CEED and Ruby Red Ventures, contact Mission EDC at 956.585.0040, or www.missionedc.com. More information on Ruby Red Ventures can be found at www.rubyredventures.com.