The Entrepreneurship & Commercialization Center under the Office of Workforce and Economic Development for the Division of Governmental and Community Relations of University of Texas Rio Grande Valley works to serve the community of the Rio Grande Valley.
The mission of the organization is to enhance the economic landscape in the RGV by bringing together government, university, and industry and fostering entrepreneurship, innovation, commercialization, and collaboration to leverage opportunities for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and enterprises.
Its vision is to build a regional network that supports entrepreneurs and communities by developing knowledge, cultivating partnerships, and supporting global initiatives.
“The Rio Grande Valley has such a strong entrepreneurial spirit,” said Associate Vice President of Workforce & Economic Development Division for Governmental and Community Relations Ron Garza.
Garza explained the goal of the program to help small businesses grow and create jobs. “That’s what we’re after — more economic prosperity within the region,” he shared.
“We offer a real comprehensive portfolio of services for anyone interested in growing their business — small or large,” Garza said. “If somebody is interested in opening a business or has been in business for 20 years, there’s usually a resource that we can help them grow.”
“We’re what’s called community facing. It’s not directly geared toward students of UTRGV while they’re still completing their degree, but more [economic development] throughout the community. Another one of UTRGV’s strongest resources is applied research. If a business has a product or a product line, we can further it’s development through research. UTRGV does state-of-the-art research.”
Linda Ufland is the director of entrepreneurship with innovation and commercialization, under the Workforce & Economic Development Division for Governmental and Community Relations.
“My role is to help transform the region through different programs that we offer at the center,” she explained. “From idea to launch, we provide different resources that can support the entrepreneurial roadmap for entrepreneurs and small business to achieve their milestones.”
The Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center offers ideation, business incubation, entrepreneurship development, acceleration, and more.
“We are focused on [helping] elevate the economy through different partnerships,” Ufland said. “A thriving economy wants to give back to higher education and provide opportunities for our student community with jobs, internships, and special projects,” she added.
The Workforce & Economic Development Division for Governmental and Community Relations is an Economic Support Organization (ESO), supporting Economic Development Corporations (EDO).
The eBridge Center for Business & Commercialization is the newest project for the division. The purpose of the eBridge is to be the “entrepreneurial bridge” for businesses to grow and commercialize their products and services on a larger scale. The center will function on two floors in downtown Brownsville, the first floor housing the UTRGV’s Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center, and the second a prototyping space with private offices available for ventures looking to grow and expand.
The Workforce & Economic Development Division for Governmental and Community Relations at UTRGV is helping the RGV grow, and businesses prosper. Many of the programs within the Workforce & Economic Development Division for Governmental and Community Relations are little to no charge
Our business community has a tremendous economic impact on the region, so part of our goal as an academic institution is ensuring there are good-paying jobs for our graduates in the valley,” Garza shared.
With top-quality resources readily available, the team that makes up the Workforce & Economic Development Division of UTRGV is committed to seeing the economic status of the RGV prosper, and to creating a better community for all.