McALLEN, RGV – South Texas College kicks off its annual binational effort to promote entrepreneurship and business locally and south of the border in McAllen on Friday.

The 4th Annual Binational Innovation Conference (INNO 2016) is a bi-national collaborative effort between STC and El Instituto Internacional de Estudios Superiores in Reynosa, Mexico, and takes place on Oct. 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the STC Technology Campus located at 3700 W. Military Highway in McAllen.

On Thursday, Oct. 6, a related conference takes place at El Instituto Internacional de Estudios Superiores (IIES) in Reynosa.

In a video interview, Dr. Kevin Peek, an economics instructor at South Texas College, talks about STC’s collaboration with IIES and the importance of the conference. Click here to watch the video.

This year’s keynote address at the STC event on Friday will focus on Binational Entrepreneurial Innovation. Dr. Carlos Marin, President and CEO of Ambiotec Engineering Group, will be the featured speaker.

“This conference is all about promoting entrepreneurship. We will have speakers focus on that theme,” said Mario Reyna, Dean for Business and Technology at South Texas College. “We are trying to let the public know that if you are interested in starting your own business, and if you have an idea, there are ways you can go about to make sure your ideas develop.”

Reyna said the INNO Conference provides entrepreneurs and the business community with information about the new cross-border economic opportunities that could arise so they are enabled to develop new business plans, and adjust existing strategies to potential opportunities. Reyna said the conference will consist of speakers, sessions and student workshops, all designed to foster cross-border economic development.

Speakers and topics include expert business economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Jesus Canas speaking on the economic outlook of the region. Dr. John Sargent, UTRGV Professor of International Business and Entrepreneurship will speak on Entrepreneurial Innovation in Higher Education, and Joaquin Spamer President of Reynosa-based Consejo Binacional Para El Fomento Economico de Reynosa (COBIFER) will speak about cross border entrepreneurial innovation.

“We need to remember that Mexico is a free economy, and we need to remind our residents that they can open a business across the border,” Reyna said. “All of us understand, when we look at the Valley, that there are so many restaurants that were opened here in McAllen who originally started in Mexico. If they can do it here, we can do it there also.”

INNO will also include a panel featuring representatives from the various Economic Development Corporations (EDCs) in the region talking about entrepreneurial innovation. Scheduled to be on that panel are Keith Patridge, President & CEO of McAllen EDC; Leticia Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs, Edinburg EDC; Rose Benavidez, President, Starr County Industrial Foundation; and Frank Almaraz, CEO of Workforce Solutions.

“There are economic opportunities and business opportunities in Mexico, and we want to tell the public that this also an opportunity for them,” Reyna said. “We invite members of the public who have an interest in promoting the business community, as well as interested in knowing what the community is doing to promote entrepreneurship. This conference will help all of them.”

Editor’s Note: For more information, to register, or a full schedule of events please visit For more questions, please call the STC Business Administration Department at (956)872-2764.

Editor’s Note: Click here to see a previous Rio Grande Guardian story about Inno’ 2016.