PHARR, RGV – Matt Wilbanks, CEO and Co-Founder of HelpSocial, will be the keynote speaker at the Governor’s Small Business Forum.

The Governor’s Small Business Forum, co-hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Partnership, is designed to help small businesses owners network and connect with industry specialists, government, and regional service-providers.

Matt Willbanks

The forum takes place at the Boggus Ford Event Center in Pharr on Oct. 19, 2017. The event will run from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Among the featured seminars are:

“Access to Capital Roundtable,” to be moderated by Angela Burton of the Small Business Administration.

“Women Entrepreneurship and Business Success,” to be moderated by Veronica Gonzales of UT-Rio Grande Valley.

“Marketing and Social Media,” to be moderated by Crystal Belmares of AIM Media Texas.

HelpSocial is a provider of technology solutions that help businesses manage their relationships with customers in social networks.

HelpSocial, headquartered in San Antonio, TX, was created to solve customer-service challenges at Rackspace Hosting, which spun out with initial seed-funding from Mark Cuban in 2014.

HelpSocial is regarded as an expert in social customer-care and its technology is now integrated into the service systems of some of the world’s largest brands.

There is a $25 fee to attend the forum. The price includes breakfast and lunch. To register for the event call (956) 968-3141, or email [email protected].

Governor Greg Abbott penned a guest column to promote the small business forum. Here it is:

Small Businesses and Start-Ups Invited to Forum October 19

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

By Governor Greg Abbott

Small businesses are big in Texas. More than nine in ten businesses in Texas are small businesses, and they employ nearly half of all private-sector employees.

Men and women willing to take a risk, to dig deep into their own pockets and stake their future on an idea, have long written the story of Texas. That pioneering spirit still fuels our shared prosperity.

I’m proud that Texas continues to rank at the top for small-business friendliness, for women-owned businesses and for startup activity. Texas also leads the nation for jobs created by Hispanic business owners and by Hispanic women business owners. And the Rio Grande Valley is particularly well positioned for vibrant and continuing small business growth: economic forecasts show the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission metro area adding 31,300 job over the next five years.

If you are thinking of opening your own business or growing your small business, I invite you to register for the Governor’s Small Business Forum—RGV on October 19.

Small businesses drive the state’s dynamic economy. In total, self-employed entrepreneurs and small business employers create an annual economic impact in Texas of over $1 trillion.

The Governor’s Small Business Forum—RGV, co-sponsored by my office, the Texas Workforce Commission and the RGV Partnership, is designed to help entrepreneurs and small businesses find answers on accessing affordable financing, hiring skilled employees, bidding on government contracts, marketing a business—including social media best practices—and more.

Featuring a wide range of seminars and expert speakers, the forum provides a great opportunity to build valuable business relationships and connect with industry specialists, government officials, service providers and other regional businesses.

And local small business owners will be honored with a Governor’s Small Business Award for their contributions to the Rio Grande Valley economy.

Texas needs small businesses to succeed.

That’s why we slashed the franchise tax to spur job creation, removed roadblocks for veteran-owned businesses and reined in burdensome state regulations to allow free enterprise to flourish.

That’s why the Texas Workforce Commission, Texas Education Agency and Higher Education Coordinating Board are working together to place our education system on a parallel pathway with the changing needs of Texas employers.

And that’s why I will continue to fight back against runaway regulations at the federal, state and local level that disproportionately hurt small business job creation.

My goal as governor is to help small businesses grow even faster in Texas. And I invite you to take advantage of all the resources being shared at this forum.

Because when small businesses succeed in Texas, all of Texas succeeds.

For more information and to register for the Governor’s Small Business Forum—RGV on October 19 in Pharr, visit