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The Rio Grande Valley was founded by entrepreneurs.
In the early 20th century, an influx of immigrating and migrating farmers from Mexico and the Midwest spurred dramatic population growth and the eventual birth of the produce and citrus industry across the area. It wasn’t long before new irrigation systems created an agricultural boom. Soon after, families and local economies flourished everywhere – fueled by farms, stores, processing plants, and marketing agencies.
These were the Valley’s first entrepreneurs. They saw opportunity, they chased it, and communities flourished.
In recent decades, border communities have experienced disinvestment and now lack critical physical infrastructure that enables economic mobility. The Valley is geographically isolated from innovation hubs and persistent, generational poverty is pervasive. Nevertheless, the Rio Grande Valley, home to a population of more than 1.3 million, has undergone unprecedented economic growth and development over the last few years.
Entrepreneurship and innovation is certainly on the rise again. 3 Day Startup witnessed the strong sense of community and ambitious leadership working to create opportunity and ignite entrepreneurial spirits among people of all ages and backgrounds.
Thanks to a collaboration with CIC, ECC, and UTRGV – 3DS facilitated a weekend intensive for skill building and to accelerate entrepreneurial journeys. Participants applied core principles of entrepreneurship and innovation to new ideas and early stage ventures. By the end, participants’ business concepts included sustainable fashion brands, after school chess enrichment, and data systems for continuous improvement and quality control in manufacturing (among others). Teams and individuals were mentored by angel investors, entrepreneurship educators, and economic developers while also building meaningful connections with staff members at the CIC and ECC.
We were inspired by everyone we met and already looking forward to our next trip to the Valley.