Washington, DC — The Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation won a Gold Rank for its StartUp Texas Program, a project in the Entrepreneurship category of the 2021 Excellence in Economic Development Awards Program. The BCIC team was presented with the honor at the awards ceremony during the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Over the last year our team has worked vigorously to make sure we tackle one of the main issues affecting entrepreneurs in our region: access to capital. StartUp Texas offers entrepreneurs seed-stage funding to commercialize a product or process in Brownsville, as well as stimulate private investment in businesses with a high growth potential,” said Nathan Burkhart, Director of Small Business Development. “We have phenomenal, groundbreaking individuals and small businesses right here in our backyard, and it’s due time that our community receives international recognition from a program like StartUp Texas, ” Burkhart said.

IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development Awards recognize the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials, and the year’s most influential leaders. 25 award categories honor organizations and individuals for their efforts in creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Awards are judged by a diverse panel of economic and community developers, following a nomination process held earlier this year. IEDC received over 500 submissions from 4 countries but only 75 organizations were awarded.

Through the StartUp Texas Program: 10 Startups have been awarded $20,000 each, over $440,000 in grants were dispersed with an additional $9.6 million in federal assistance from the SBA through our program, over 900 businesses served, and 1,518 at risk-employees saved. What began as a seed fund program for entrepreneurs hoping to scale in Brownsville evolved almost overnight into an expansion of COVID-19 Relief Aid in the form of grants and forgivable loans. Today, the StartUp Texas Program encompasses the Pitch Summit, the Brownsville CARES Grant, the Emergency/Bridge Loan, and the (Re)Open for Business Forgivable Loan. All programs are administered and funded by the BCIC.

“We strive to ensure our entrepreneurs get access to the best resources we have available, and in working with the BCIC to develop the StartUp Texas program we provide the critical need for capital investment into our small businesses,” says Linda Ufland, Director of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Commercialization for the UTRGV ECC. “Through this collaborative partnership we’ve been able to successfully invest in scalable businesses right here in our community.”

Permittivity LLC, innovators of leak detection systems for industrial containment solutions and incubator members of Expanding Frontiers, were one of the inaugural 2020 StartUp Texas Pitch Summit Winners of $20,000 to scale their business in Brownsville, Texas. 

“The winners of IEDC’s Excellence in Economic Development awards represent the best of economic development and exemplify the leadership that our profession strives for every day,” said 2021 IEDC Board Chair and Invest Buffalo Niagara, President, and CEO Tom Kucharski. “We’re honored to recognize the more than 100 communities whose marketing submissions, projects, and partnerships have improved regional quality of life.”

About the International Economic Development Council

The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non- partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 5,000 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 are engaged in the full range of economic development experience. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in a wide variety of settings including local, state, provincial and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities and a variety of 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.

For more information related to this press release, please contact Michelle Lopez, BCIC Director of Development and Communications, at mlopez@bcic.us