Hidalgo County will be launching a program aiming to assist entrepreneurs looking to start or strengthen their businesses in underserved communities. Mirroring the Mission Economic Development Corporation’s Ruby Red Venture programs, the Enterprise Fund will aim to function similarly.
About Ruby Red Ventures
In 2013, the Mission EDC and City Council developed Ruby Ventures, a $100,000 small business fund aimed at nurturing entrepreneurial spirit and promoting the creation of innovative businesses in Mission.
Ruby Red Ventures allows participants to gain a better understanding of how to develop and follow a realistic business plan and provide participants with forums where they develop skills in presenting their ventures. Ruby Red Ventures consists of two rounds of funding per year at $50,000 per round and a maximum of $25,000 per company involved. Participants will be required to attend small business workshops to help them prepare sound business plans.
“A total of 39 different entrepreneurs have been awarded an average of $10,000 each during the past four or five years,” Bobby Villarreal told The Monitor. Numerous entrepreneurs have gone on to be featured as part of H-E-B’s “Primo Picks” and have landed interviews on Good Morning America.
What this Means for Your Business
Hidalgo County is looking to target budding entrepreneurs located in a community with a population of less than 20,000. Applicants will go through a rigorous process that includes strict requirements and, if successful, they will be awarded $20,000. Hidalgo County has $494,000 allocated to interested parties from the Unclaimed Property Capital Credits Division.
More Help for Your Business in Alamo
The Alamo EDC also serves to assist entrepreneurs and small business owners through various grants and incentives. Programs are created and managed with the sole purpose of fostering economic development through new jobs and drawing both private and public investments to our community. Some available incentives include:
- USDA-Rural Development: Intermediary Relending Program (IRP)
- USDA-Rural Development: Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG)
- The Local Business Retention Program
- Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ)
Businesses We’ve Helped
Through Alamo’s Revolving Loan Program, several businesses have grown and expanded.
I Kids Academy
I Kids Academy is an early care and education center located at 823 S. Alamo Rd. It received a loan from the EDC in March 2012.
“With the loan, I was able to completely remodel an old warehouse to create classrooms and hire staff to initiate educational services,” owner Kimberly Hess said.
I Kids Academy provides afterschool care, meals, snacks and transportation. It is equipped with five large classrooms totaling 3,060 square feet, eight regular bathrooms, a unisex bathroom, a handicap bathroom, a fully-stocked kitchen, a dining area with small, child-sized tables for meals, an 850 square foot fenced outdoor play area and a front office.
The classrooms all have closet space, built-in cubbies and are equipped with age-appropriate toys and curriculums. The building is also air-conditioned. The front has a circular driveway that provides a convenient drop-off and pick-up area for parents.
Soleil Rehab Services
Soleil Rehab Services is a speech, physical and occupational therapy service provider that received a loan from the Alamo EDC in December 2010.
What began as a husband running transportation, billing, answering phones and marketing, and a wife performing speech therapy on a few patients, has grown into an office staff that serves patients with poor feeding/swallowing skills, Down Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), dyslexia, speech delays, stuttering, Parkinson’s disease, visual motor deficits, Cerebral Palsy, Bell’s Palsy, muscle weakness, lack of coordination, traumatic brain injury and birth injuries.
The Original Willie’s Bar-B-Q
The Original Willie’s Bar-B-Q is a restaurant offering delicious, southern meat and fixings. It received a loan from the Alamo EDC in August 2016.
It first opened its doors in 1992 and has since grown into a South Texas staple that has Winter Texans, locals and people from across the world coming to get a taste of some delicious barbeque. With a large addition to the restaurant having been undertaken recently, residents and visitors alike can enjoy what Texas Monthly has raved about.
Assisting Your Business
With so many different programs to help your business, entrepreneurs can find resources and assistance through Hidalgo County, Ruby Ventures and the Alamo EDC! For more information on how you can help your business succeed, contact us today!