Fostering Entrepreneurship in the City of Mission

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The Mission Economic Development Corporation knows the challenges that startup companies face from first-hand experience. What started as a small initiative – lacking funds, furniture, office supplies, and equipment – has managed to bring multimillion-dollar companies to the city of Mission and help dozens of young entrepreneurs fulfill their dreams. Mission Economic Development Corporation recognizes that although the city of Mission offers the ideal environment for businesses to prosper, companies and aspiring entrepreneurs face many obstacles that keep them from achieving success. This is why; the organization seeks to connect businesses and entrepreneurs with the necessary assets in order to remove barriers to growth and development.

Startup companies and new businesses have created a culture of innovation, breakthrough technology, and forward thinking throughout the nation. They also play a crucial role in the economy by being the biggest contributors to job growth. According to the Kauffman Foundation Report “The Importance of Startups in Job Creation and Job Destruction,” start-ups add an average of 3 million new jobs to the American economy, while older firms lose 1 million jobs each year. Micro firms with 1-4 employees account for 20 percent of new jobs in the country. The leaders at Mission EDC understand that in order to create economic growth and bring the City of Mission up to par with the rest of the country, emerging businesses need the proper support to prosper. “The EDC believes that in order to make the state more competitive, communities now need to create their own tools,” says Alex Meade, CEO of Mission EDC.  The organization offers a wide range of services that support aspiring entrepreneurs or existing businesses in a variety of ways, from developing a business plan to securing funding. The most notable resources are the Ruby Red Ventures and Code the Town programs that seek to put Mission in the same playfield as fast-growing and innovative cities in the nation.

Ruby Red Ventures is a program that helps people start or expand a business through a process similar to the popular television show “Shark Tank.” The program awards $100,000 dollars to encourage entrepreneurially oriented Rio Grande Valley residents to launch new ventures or expand their current business in the city of Mission. Participants attend workshops and sessions that help them develop a business plan and then present to a panel of judges in hopes of winning a grant. El Yaqui Mexican Products, owned by the father-son duo Rafael Pacheco Sr. and Rafael Pacheco, Jr., is a perfect example of how this program can help a business grow. “They had been producing chips for a long time, but got to the point where they could not produce the amount they needed to be in places like H-E-B, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart,” said Meade. “So they went through the program because they needed the money to buy the machinery.” Through Ruby Red Ventures, they obtained a $25,000 dollar grant that has helped them become a presence in these stores and continue to expand throughout the state.

Code the Town is Mission EDC’s newest program. The leaders of Mission EDC recognize the importance of computer science in this area. Thus, the program will teach participating Mission residents computer programming and how to develop mobile apps.  The participants can then participate in a competition where they develop their own mobile apps. The winner will have access to a $70,000 grant to invest in the app they developed. Code the Town, like Ruby Red Ventures, serves multiple purposes. Mission residents will have the opportunity to learn a skill that will make them more competitive in the workforce, the businesses in the area will be able to obtain these services through local providers, and some participants may even go on to develop their own ventures, which will eventually bring jobs and capital to the city of Mission. Similarly, all of the services and resources provided by Mission Economic Development Corporation directly and indirectly impact the economy, workforce, and residents of Mission –improving the overall quality of life in the area.