BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – The Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation has announced the official Grand Opening of the eBridge Center for Business & Commercialization, scheduled for Thursday, March 9th beginning at 3:00 PM, sponsored by PNC Bank.  

The Center is the culmination of over 3 years of design and construction efforts in partnership between the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC), the City of Brownsville, the Lower Rio Grande Valley Economic Development Council, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and UTRGV Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center (UTRGV ECC).

The best way to stimulate job growth and create new opportunities in industries is to find the people who are already doing amazing things in our community and support them,” says Cori Pena, President and CEO of BCIC. “We are committed to strengthening our entrepreneurial ecosystem by supporting local talent our community already has, and helping them grow through meaningful collaboration.” 

The 36,000 square foot facility aspires to be the “entrepreneurial bridge” for startups and legacy businesses to grow and commercialize their service or product on a larger scale. The center consolidates all the foundational resources necessary for entrepreneurs to start their ventures, obtain capital, scale their businesses, and reach new markets. The eBridge Center will be having an open house for the community, potential members and collaborators to tour the space as well as register for membership for the UTRGV ECC Incubator on Tuesday & Wednesday, March 7th & 8th from 10 AM to 4:00 PM. 

“With the eBridge Center, we are focusing on creating conditions where women and minority owned small businesses can scale their operations and increase their access to capital,” says Nathan Burkhart, Director of Business Development at BCIC. “When city leaders and entrepreneurs work together, they can create communities with vibrant local economies where startups and small businesses thrive – that’s what we are doing in Brownsville.” 

The center exists in the former ‘Casa de Nylon’ building in Historic Downtown Brownsville, along the same block as the Charles Stillman House, the living quarters for the founder of Brownsville. “We like to say that Brownsville’s past started there (Stillman House), and its future is in this building, all along the same block,” says Burkhart.

This project will foster the next stage of entrepreneurs and prepare them with the skills and resources they need to gain visibility, access capital, create jobs, and commercial growth. The center has already started training up and coming entrepreneurs in both English and Spanish with the most recent edition of their Kauffman FastTrac Programs, administered by the UTRGV ECC and sponsored by BCIC. 

“Our goal is to provide all the tools that burgeoning, local entrepreneurs need to succeed,” says Linda Ufland Romo, Director of Entrepreneurship, Commercialization and Innovation for the UTRGV ECC. “This facility will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the existing entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout Brownsville and the surrounding region by supporting entrepreneurs of all types across our community. We want to see more businesses and people starting businesses in Brownsville and the Rio Grande Valley”

The UTRGV ECC’s soft landing designation has also allowed the eBridge Center to obtain foreign direct investment into the City, bringing 9 businesses from Mexico to expand their operations into the U.S. market through Brownsville. 

In addition to the soft landing designation, the eBridge Center includes business incubation programming by UTRGV ECC, a U.S. Patent Trade Resource Center, the Small Business Development Center, the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center, Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Veterans Business Outreach Center, Nonprofit Resource Center, the Blueprint Lab Prototyping Space for research and development of emerging industries, training space for up to 120 individuals, dedicated desks and private offices, as well be home to the StartUp Texas Accelerator Program – of which applications will be opening on Wednesday, February 15th. 

The center is currently home to the BCIC and UTRGV ECC, with a full calendar of events and programming set in motion just three weeks ago with the first of three bilingual Kauffman FastTrac cohorts scheduled throughout the year.

For more information regarding this press release, please contact Nathan Burkhart, Director of Business Development for the BCIC at nburkhart@bcic.us.