Texas Border Business
By Roberto Hugo González
In the Rio Grande Valley, a series of initiatives led by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) are making significant strides in fostering community development and entrepreneurial spirit.
Veronica Gonzales, the Senior Vice President for Government and Community Relations at UTRGV, told Texas Border Business about the intricate network of services her division offers, focusing mainly on the APEX Accelerator Center.
Veronica’s role at UTRGV is extensive. She oversees a division integral in liaising with external partners throughout the region, including local, state, and federal elected officials, non-profits, and businesses of varying sizes.
This division has been a cornerstone in providing advisory, training, and developmental services for several decades, yet it remains somewhat of a hidden gem within the community, according to Veronica. The many mostly free services are designed to support budding and established entrepreneurs in realizing their business aspirations.
APEX Accelerator Center, previously known as PTAC (Procurement Technical Assistance Center), is one of the six departments under Veronica’s supervision. This center is a pivotal resource for businesses securing federal, state, and local government contracts. It specializes in training, procurement technical assistance, and consultative services, ensuring that companies, whether historically underutilized or not, are well-equipped to navigate the complex terrain of governmental contracts. Hector Landez, a long-standing member of the university, adeptly manages this center under the guidance of Ron Garza, Associate Vice President of Workforce and Economic Development.
The center’s reach extends across the vast expanse of the Rio Grande Valley. Through a blend of in-person and virtual engagements, the APEX Center ensures accessibility to its services. Located at the Community Engagement Student Success (CESS) building in Edinburg, the center welcomes businesses to approach them directly or via their contact number and website.
Reflecting on the center’s impact, Veronica shared its success stories and its collaborative networks, including its partnership with the University of Texas, San Antonio (UTSA). This collaboration enables a wealth of resources and funding, allowing the center to maintain its free offerings to the community.
Veronica enthusiastically invites businesses interested in exploring government contracts to reach out to the APEX Center. The center acts as a guiding light, simplifying the otherwise daunting process of securing contracts. She believes that once businesses understand the intricacies of this process, securing subsequent contracts becomes progressively easier. The center’s support extends beyond federal contracts to encompass state and local levels, ensuring a comprehensive approach to fostering business growth.
The conversation with Veronica unveiled the depth of commitment and support that UTRGV has towards the Rio Grande Valley community. The APEX Accelerator Center and the other departments under Veronica’s watch play a crucial role in nurturing businesses and economic development in the region. The blend of advisory, training, and developmental services offered promotes the entrepreneurial spirit, ensuring that the community’s potential is fully realized.