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The Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) officially announced the judging panel for the StartUp Texas Pitch Summit today. The seed fund program relies on hand-picked judges, qualified to determine the viability of a startup based on their demonstrated business and investment experience. The judging process will determine which of the finalists has the most innovative product or service with potential for social impact, profitability, and sustainability. 

“While we had hoped to host an in-person networking event alongside this program, we plan to follow the current social distancing recommendations and will be broadcasting the event online with judges and presenters as the only members present,” says Nathan Burkhart, Director of Marketing & Small Business Development for BCIC. “Although COVID-19 has affected our original set up, we feel strongly that through this format we can protect the health and safety of all participants.”

The inaugural event will consist of 10 interactive technology and manufacturing companies from different categories pitching their product or service for their chance to win a share of $100,000. These pitches will aim to win over the audience and the judges as well as showcase what the future economy of Brownsville could look like.

“We are part of a community of innovators and entrepreneurs, and this incredible panel of judges will face a difficult task in narrowing down the winners.”

Michael LimasChair of the Board, BCIC

“Given that small businesses drive our economy, it’s important that emerging entrepreneurs and early stage startups have a place to go that eliminates barriers to growth and helps turn their dreams into reality,” says Josh Mejia, Executive Director for BCIC. “Our goal with StartUp Texas is to foster scalable business and provide entrepreneurs the chance to access capital and commercialize their products or services, right here in Brownsville.”

The 5 judges are active leaders in the state and community with experience in investment, innovation, sustainability, business and economic development. The judging panel is also eligible to provide investment opportunities for the Pitch Finalists outside of what is being offered through StartUp Texas.

“Our goal at BCIC is to provide all the tools local entrepreneurs need to succeed,” says Michael Limas, Chair of the Board for BCIC. “We are part of a community of innovators and entrepreneurs, and this incredible panel of judges will face a difficult task in narrowing down the winners.”

The Pitch Summit 2020 judging panel consists of: 

Richard Deulofeut-Manzur, Venture and Regulatory Associate at Trust Ventures

Samuel Garcia, Senior Associate at Amplo Venture Capital & Private Equity 

Rafael Munguia, Founder and Chairman at Munguia Enterprises and Member of the Rio Grande Valley Angel Network

Dr. Tara Rios, DDS, Founder of Tara Rios Dental Group and former Texas State Representative for House District 43

Shubhra Sharma, Founder of Little Haven, the first licensed Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care Center in Texas

The StartUp Texas Pitch Summit 2020 will take place on Wednesday, July 8th 2020 at 5:30 PM at the Brownsville Performing Arts Academy as well as streaming online through various platforms. The event is part of BCIC’s ongoing efforts to cultivate a culture and ecosystem of entrepreneurship in Brownsville and the greater Rio Grande Valley. 

For more information on the event or to RSVP please visit StartUpTexas.com or email Nathan Burkhart at nburkhart@bcic.us or call 956-459-2123.