It is our pleasure to present to you our Fiscal Year 2021 Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation Annual Report; a brief collection of success stories, an economic impact overview, and financial information that represent the organizationʼs growth throughout the year as we focused on quality of life and business development.
As President and Chief Executive Officer for the communityʼs economic development organization, it is my responsibility to advocate for transparency and community engagement to derive equitable economic development projects that impact the lives of every stakeholder interested in the growth of Brownsville, Texas.
We are proud to showcase the highlights of fiscal year 2021, even though the year continued to be as challenging as 2020. The pandemic and its impact continues to be prevalent in our region; however, the financial information we report through this report will show immediately how resilient and dynamic our local economic can be during economic adversity.
Although our three border bridges remained closed and a drop in leisure tourists was recorded, our business community adapted quickly with the help of resources offered by the federal, state, and local government. In addition, our community renewed its interest changing their consumer behaviors by shopping local and promoting locally sourced goods and services. These side effects of economic instability proved that Brownsville has so much to offer. It is reflected in sales tax and hotel occupancy tax revenues for Brownsville, Texas. This effect has also resulted in amazing partnerships with private foundations, new investors, and entrepreneurs to continue driving our growth forward. Through the enhancements of programs such as the BCICʼs “Business Improvement & Growth Grant Program” and “StartUp Texas”, we had a year full of amazing success stories that we are proud to share in our annual report.
As you read through this report, I personally invite you to think about the following statement: Brownsville, Texas is experiencing growth at an unprecedented pace that could not have been predicted prior to the announcement of great companies such as SpaceX. The city is being validated of a growth potential that was always present but never capitalized on. What are we doing to take ownership of these opportunities, and, what are we doing to control the direction of this growth? This is not a responsibility exclusive for elected officials or government employees. It is a responsibility and an invitation for every Brownsville native out there.
The opportunity is now.
Josh Mejia, President & CEO
Brownsvilleʼs Primary Engine for Economic Development
The Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) initiatives, endeavors, programs, and incentives revolve around the human capital thatʼs within our community. These investments include business and retail development, entrepreneurship equity, ecosystem building, and job creation projects that define the economic development role we serve for our community.
*Operating expenditures include salaries, supplies, rent, marketing and strategic plan implementation services. The BCIC was created in 2002 as a nonprofit, Type B corporation under the TEDC Act. It is primarily financed by a half-cent sales tax collected In the City of Brownsville. The seven members of the BCIC’s board of directors are appointed by and serve at the discretion of the Brownsville City Commission. The BCIC’s annual budget is also approved by the Brownsville City Commission.
OVER $3.5 MILLION IN PRIVATE CAPITAL TOWARDS DOWNTOWN
The Business Improvement & Growth (BIG) Grant and Economic Impact Grant (EIG) provide opportunity for financial support towards projects that create an attractive environment for Brownsville to be a destination city to live, work, play and invest that will enhance the economic well-being of the community. From March 2019 to August 2021, with the assistance of the BIG Grant, over $3.5 million of private capital has been invested in the revitalization of Brownsvilleʼs Historic Downtown. BCIC has financially supported the restoration of 18 existing properties to a condition that facilitates economic activity and beautification. It has also provided rental assistance for up to 12 months for seven (7) new businesses that have moved into downtown.
In the summer of 2021, BCIC received a donation from the Musk Foundation for $2 million to enhance the BIG programs and help the downtown area by attracting and supporting more investment. With the donation, BCIC extended the funding corridor of the BIG grant to encompass more area to support property improvements and business expansion. It also created “BIG 2.0” for the heart of downtown by providing greater incentives in activating and expanding existing business operations, relocate, activate buildings (“site readiness”), or support the diversification of downtownʼs experience through quality-of-life improvements such as entertainment and cultural venues within the district.
1001 East Washington Street
1157 East Washington Street
1212 East Washington Street
INVESTING IN SEED STAGE STARTUPS, RIGHT IN OUR OWN BACKYARD
We Invest in Texas StartUps StartUp Texas is a BCIC sponsored seed fund that invests in seed and early stage companies, right here in our own backyard. Qualified candidates of the eBridge Center will have a chance to compete for a share of $100,000 through our program. Our goal is to foster scalable business in our region and provide entrepreneurs in our community the chance to access capital and commercialize their products or services. Brownsville was founded by entrepreneurs, and we wish to continue and foster the same spirit in our community.
STARTUP TEXAS PITCH SUMMIT 2021 WINNERS
Surface electromagnetic inspection technology. Procurement, Maintenance and Automation services for the energy sector. Secner.com
Veteran owned and family operated business, artisan roast, hand-sort, crack, winnow and conch each small batch. The first real ‘bean to barʼ chocolate factory in Brownsville, Texas. RawXocolatl.Etsy.com
Microbrewery using locally and ethically sourced ingredients to create a drinking experience unique to the Rio Grande Valley. PlutonBrewingCompany.com
Specializing in Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Gluten, Sugar & Grain-Free Baked Goods carefully crafted with high fiber, and a near-zero glycemic index. AmoryPan.co
Manufacturing delicious homemade cilantro sauce born from a secret family recipe. From Farmers markets to grocery store shelves and beyond. CilantroSauce.com
The Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) recognizes how entrepreneurship stimulates job growth, creates new opportunities in industries that need them, and makes communities better versions of themselves. There is no clear path to entrepreneurship, but at BCIC weʼre changing that. The eBridge Center for Business & Commercialization is mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs, access capital, and scale commercially.
The eBridge Center is focused not just on tapping into the human capital of our community or commercializing scalable businesses, but establishing entrepreneurial equity in developing and advancing an open and inclusive ecosystem for all entrepreneurs. In partnership with the City of Brownsville, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Small Business Administration, United States Economic Development Administration, Office of Congressman Filemon Vela, Senator John Cornyn, and Senator Ted Cruz.
OPENING SPRING 2022
FORGIVABLE LOAN PROGRAM FOR BROWNSVILLE BUSINESSES
The Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) and the City of Brownsville have partnered to offer small businesses located within the City of Brownsville low-interest forgivable financing in response to the economic hardships experienced by COVID-19.
This unique financing tool offers forgivable loans to small businesses to retain jobs and stabilize their businesses. Businesses must demonstrate hardship caused by the COVID-19 virus outbreak in order to qualify for financing.
This program is a short-term 0% interest forgivable loan program up to $10,000 to assist businesses with up to fifty (50) employees at the time of application, or up to five (5) employees (including the owner) with low to moderate income owner. The business must demonstrate a loss of gross revenue of 15% or more as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to be considered for funding.
Please feel free to view and download the following documents which include our annual reports, financial reports (as provided by the City of Brownsville Finance Department), and grant recipient lists. Please note that the following documents are unaudited and are subject to no liabilities. Please download Adobe Reader to view and download. Thank you.