BCIC Honored with International Economic Development Excellence Awards for Three Consecutive Years

PRESS RELEASE – Brownsville, TX - Wednesday, September 27 – The Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) has won two excellence awards at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Annual Conference held in Dallas, Texas, from September 17 to 20, 2023, once again demonstrating its commitment to innovation and economic growth for the third consecutive year. This year, BCIC received the Gold Award for Partnerships with Educational Institutions and the Bronze Award for Best Use of Federal Economic Development Resources, highlighting the organization's commitment to improving the economic landscape and overall quality of life in the Brownsville community.

Breaking Down the Accolades

The prestigious Gold Award acknowledges the dynamic collaboration between BCIC and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) in establishing the eBridge Center. This center is a dynamic hub for startups and small businesses, bridging academic knowledge with practical business applications and creating a collaborative economic ecosystem in Brownsville and the surrounding regions.

“We’ve always known how unique the eBridge Center is in bringing the exclusive programming, resources, and incentives found in larger cities to Brownsville and the Rio Grande Valley. The ability to mimic what is possible in the private sector with two public institutions working together is what makes the eBridge Center so special. We are proud to see the IEDC recognize the BCIC and UTRGV ECC on our endeavors towards creating an open and inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem in our community,” says Nathan Burkhart, Director of Business Development at BCIC.

The Bronze Award applauds the eBridge Fund initiative, a revolving loan fund conceived to facilitate financial support for new and existing businesses that cannot access traditional bank financing, ensuring their growth and success in the competitive market. It’s important to highlight that 13 ventures in the Cameron County area have been funded by this program, adding up to $2.2M disbursed and 519 jobs created/retained so far.

CEO Cori Peña congratulated the team, especially highlighting the efforts of Victoria Padron, Director of Economic Development Finance. “Victoria's hard work and dedication have been a cornerstone in the eBridge Fund. Her commitment to facilitating business growth in our community inspires and deserves this recognition. I am immensely proud to have Victoria as leader of this program,” said Peña.

Academic and Industry Leaders Weigh In

Adding to the celebratory notes, Linda Ufland Romo, Director of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Commercialization for the UTRGV Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center, remarked, "Through our dynamic partnership with the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation, UTRGV ECC is pioneering a new era of entrepreneurship in Brownsville and the Rio Grande Valley. Our eBridge Center is leading the way by fostering innovation, empowering local entrepreneurs, and driving economic growth. This partnership represents a remarkable synergy between academia and the business community, providing invaluable resources and opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to thrive in our vibrant region."

"The Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation has raised the bar for excellence in economic development with its programs and partnerships. These awards are a testament to BCIC’s dedication to its residents and serve as a great example of how economic development can help transform a community for the better," said Nathan Ohle, IEDC President and CEO. “It is IEDC’s honor and privilege to present BCIC with these awards and recognize its leadership and innovation in the field of economic development!”

A word from BCIC Board Chair

Jill Dominguez, Chair of the BCIC Board, echoed the sentiment, stating, "I couldn't be prouder of our milestones, especially in winning these important IEDC awards for the third consecutive year. These accolades don't just honor BCIC; they move the needle in favor of the entire Brownsville community. These accomplishments remind us that our mission is achievable only if we work shoulder to shoulder with people and institutions who care.”

A Larger Context

This iteration of the IEDC awards received more than 580 entries. It was decided among 76 award judges, resulting in 7 countries and 38 states with winning entries. Among those, a pair of excellence awards went to the collective efforts of BCIC and the local community.

Looking ahead, BCIC is fully committed to leading initiatives that promote economic growth while significantly enhancing the quality of life for all residents, visitors, and investors. Our commitment to championing a prosperous and vibrant future is grounded in the understanding that business excellence and collaboration are integral to community well-being.

For further details or press inquiries, please contact Nelson Amaro, BCIC Director of Marketing and Communications, at namaro@bcic.us.

About Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation
The Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) is a “Type B” economic development organization with a mission to enhance quality of life through innovative and equitable economic development initiatives. For more information, visit www.brownsvilleedc.org.

About  International Economic Development Council
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,300 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth, and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members engage in the full range of economic development practices. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in various settings, including local, state, provincial, and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities, and various other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more at iedconline.org.

About eBridge Center for Business and Commercialization
The eBridge Center for Business and Commercialization is the largest startup incubator and entrepreneurial resource center of its kind in the Rio Grande Valley. It provides incubation and acceleration services to entrepreneurs and businesses in collaboration with UTRGV Entrepreneurship & Commercialization Center, the City of Brownsville, the United States Economic Development Administration, and the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council. The center is home to the StartUp Texas Accelerator Program, a U.S. Patent Trade Resource Center, the Small Business Development Center, the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center, the Procurement Technical Assistance Center, the Veterans Business Outreach Center, the Nonprofit Resource Center, prototyping space, training space, dedicated desks, and private offices.