I had the incredible opportunity to participate in the RGV Lead Business Development Workshop hosted at the CIC. It was an inspiring event where young entrepreneurs from all over the Rio Grande Valley came together to learn how to turn their business ideas into reality.

During the workshop, students received invaluable insights on developing a strong business plan from Veronica Ortega, with the LRGV district office of the U.S. Small Business Administration and creating a compelling pitch deck. Mentors and educators shared their wisdom, emphasizing the essential elements of a successful business pitch.

The best part was the keynote presentation delivered by Yaw Sam, an alumnus of UTRGV. Watching him speak made me so proud to know I have had a teeny, tiny role in his entrepreneurial journey. Yaw’s exceptional insights and expertise left us all inspired and motivated.

I want to give a special shout-out to the amazing Entrepreneurship Leadership Team who made this event possible. Huge thanks to Luis Rodriguez, executive director of RGV Lead; Daniel Silva, president and CEO of RGV Partnership Foundation; Eloy Garza, founder of Career Bridge; Naomi Perales, community relations manager at Texas Gas Service; Norma Salaiz, Ph.D., board of directors at RGV LEAD, and my team at the UTRGV CIC for being part of this incredible initiative. And a special thanks to Eliza Groff, program coordinator at RGV Lead for all her hard work putting the event together. We couldn’t do it without you.

It’s incredible to see how programs like this align with the mission of the CIC to foster the growth of the next generation of entrepreneurs. These young minds are stepping up to the challenge and seizing the opportunity to build their dreams.

I want to wish each and every one of them the best of luck as they go through this learning experience. May their ideas flourish, their pitches shine, and their determination lead them to success.

I would also like to express gratitude to our generous sponsors, PNC Bank, and Ameriprise Financial, for their invaluable support.

Let’s show our support for these young entrepreneurs and their incredible potential!

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by Laurie Simmons, director of entrepreneurship, innovation and commercialization at UT-Rio Grande Valley’s Center for Innovation and Commercialization. The column first appeared on the author’s LinkedIn page. Simmons can be reached by email via: [email protected].

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