The following article was originally published by myrgv.com

The inaugural Rio Grande Valley Startup Week, kicking off Friday in Brownsville, will feature sponsors and speakers from Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin and all across the Valley, plus a schedule cram-packed with presentations, bilingual business workshops and other events targeting budding and/or established entrepreneurs on both sides of the border.

The whole thing is free and open to the public, with breakfast and lunch provided to all attendees.

On Friday, a start-up business “boot camp” gets underway at the eBridge Center for Business & Commercialization from 6 to 9 p.m., and Registration Pack Pickup takes place at Market Square from 7 to 10:30 p.m., coinciding with the First Friday downtown celebration.

The boot camp and a related pitch showcase, a Wellness Day and other events continue through the weekend (for a complete schedule of all activities through May 10 go to rgvstartup.com). A number of anchor events are scheduled for next week, May 6-10, at the eBridge Center. The week’s opening event, on May 6 from 9:30 to 11:45 a.m., will feature keynote speaker David Fonseca, CEO of Jockey Ventures and former CEO of Velocity.TX.

A “fireside chat” is scheduled for May 7 from 9 to 11 a.m. featuring RGV Partnership President and CEO Daniel Silva and Adam Gonzalez, CEO of the Center for South Texas Economic Progress.

Also on May 7, from 2 to 3 p.m., a special announcement will take place regarding a new partnership between eBridge and San Antonio-based investment group Alamo Angels, which is establishing a branch in the Valley. The Startup Texas Quality of Life Ventures Competition takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. on May 7.

Among the highlights on May 8 is “Empowerment Across Borders: A Binational Women’s Panel,” scheduled for 11 to 11:45 a.m., at eBridge, and Mayor John Cowen’s “State of the City” presentation from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Texas Southmost Performing Arts Center.

May 9 will include “This is Texas: Strategies I’ve Learned Building Community in Texas,” from 3 to 4 p.m., featuring speakers Jasmin Brand, CEO of HER Texas; Natalie Garza, owner of Con Ganas Mija LLC; Connie Leon, founder of the Houston Latina Collaborative; and TK Tunchez, CEO and creative director of Frida Friday.

An eBridge open house will be ongoing each day of RGV Startup Week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. All in all, the week will feature more than 60 different sessions and activities and at least 80 hours of “valuable content,” according to Nathan Burkhart, vice president for Entrepreneurship and Innovation for the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation/eBridge Center.

He described the event as a festival meant to empower “aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners with educational events, interactive experiences and actionable resources.” Activities during the week lean heavily on eBridge’s “startup-focused programs and resources,” Burkhart said, adding that the inaugural event is a “milestone for our region, inviting participation across the Rio Grande Valley and beyond.”

“It’s an opportunity to witness and be part of an unprecedented wave of innovation and collaboration,” he said. “This is exactly what we envisioned when partnering up to turn the eBridge Center into a reality.”