BROWNSVILLE, Texas – UTRGV’s Linda Ufland Romo says Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation’s StartUp Texas is a “signature event” for the Rio Grande Valley.

StartUp Texas is a seed fund and accelerator program. 

Ufland Romo is director of entrepreneurship, innovation and commercialization at UT-Rio Grande Valley’s Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center. 

Linda Ufland Romo

“Thank you Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation for leading this collaborative concept and making it a reality for entrepreneurs, innovators and business owners to take a step closer to achieving for many, lifetime dreams,” Ufland Romo said.

“UTRGV Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center is proud to collaborate and partner with you and be a pillar for StartUp Texas and eBridge.”

Based in downtown Brownsville, the eBridge Center for Business & Commercialization is slated to open later this year. The center aims to be the “entrepreneurial bridge” for startups and legacy businesses to scale and commercialize their product or service on a massive scale.

Ufland Romo thanked the “amazing” UTRGV Enterprise and Commercialization Center team” for guiding and mentoring all the finalists and for support BCIC with StartUp Texas.

“To all participating entrepreneurs, thank you for taking the next step to transform our region and beyond,” she added.

BCIC describes StartUp Texas this way: “Partnering with passionate leaders and visionary entrepreneurs, we apply creativity, strategy, design and data to re-invent businesses, drive growth, commercialize and scale. Together with our collaborative partners, we strive to shape an ecosystem of entrepreneurship that is both sustainable and inclusive for businesses, people and our planet.”

Recently, BCIC held its 2022 StartUp Texas Pitch Summit. Jaime Diez, CEO of Valley Tire Recycling, took home the grand prize of $25,000 in funding for their venture. 

Nathan Burkhart, small business development director for BCIC, said Valley Tire Recycling “beat out eight other very highly qualified competitors.”
Speaking of the summit, Burkhart said: “It was our third pitch summit but our very first summit held in-person. It was great to showcase our local entrepreneurs, as well as our international and out-of-state companies utilizing our soft landing, incubation, and resources that make up our programming at the eBridge Center.”
The judging panel composed of last year’s StartUp Texas winner, Keeisi Caballero, physicist, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Permittivity, along with David Ortiz, executive director for the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center, Rolando Gonzalez, owner of Team Logic IT Rio Grande Valley; and Griselda Muñoz, Sr. human resources manager for Creative Liquid Holdings.
 “BCIC’s mission is to enhance quality of life through innovative & equitable economic development initiatives. One of those initiatives is to promote an open and inclusive ecosystem for all entrepreneurs, big or small” said Cori Peña, president and CEO of BCIC. 

“This pitch summit is for those starting new business ventures or expanding their business. We could not have done this summit without the collaboration of our UTRGV Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center partners. This was truly a team effort and it showed last Thursday night.”


• Valley Tire Recycling: converting end-of-life tires into reusable raw materials for various industries and manufacturers while creating sustainable products through the collection, remediation, and recycling services.


• iAG Technologies: Developers of efficient systems that allow for high crop yields and quality output for sustainable micro-farming.

• WITBA: Developers of high quality, sustainable, zero CO2 emission, steam cleaning technology solutions for oil wells at ten times the rate of existing industry leaders.

• iBed by APYCO: Creators of innovative platform technology and new therapeutic systems for elderly patients.

• TXQ Rubs: Creators of superior seasonings and rubs specialized for individual proteins, representing the flavors and traditions of every unique region in Texas.

• Embedded: Creators of fitted bedsheets using wireless RFID technology to create a comfortable, non-invasive solution for elderly patient monitoring.

• Aetherworks: Utilizing direct air carbon capture technology to reduce the total C02 emissions on earth, as well as directly serving mid-size and large indoor farms.

• Eido Innova: Utilizing patented technology, developers of a glucose measurement device for diabetic patients.

• SilverWarp: Disrupters in the Moto-E Racing world, creating an all-electric race-ready motorcycle that pushes the limits of generative design, additive manufacturing, and rider performance.


Editor’s Note: The above news story is the first in a two-part series on BCIC’s StartUp Texas program. Part Two will be published next week.

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