Buckner Announces Winners for Inaugural Entrepreneurship Incubator Pitch Event

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Rio Grande Valley entrepreneurs competed to earn a $1,000 business asset upon completion of a 10-week course on business plans by Buckner International.

Texas Border Business

PENITAS, Texas – On Saturday, May 4, nine local entrepreneurs presented their business plans to a panel of expert judges during the inaugural Buckner Entrepreneurship Incubator Pitch Event, produced by nonprofit Buckner International. After much deliberation, the judges bestowed first place on Anjali and Adan Santiago, owners of Adan’s Automotive. The couple will receive up to $1,000 to go towards a business asset of their choice needed to take their small business to the next level.

Also receiving prizes were Osvaldo Rodriguez, owner of Valdo’s Auto, whose second-place prize is a business asset up to $1,000, and Maria Luisa Morales, owner of Taqueria MC, who earned third place and a business asset worth up to $500.

Other competing entrepreneurs included Maria M. Peña (Nena’s Empanadas), Jaime Charles (J. Charles Cabinets & General Construction), Maria and Jesus Salazar (Summer Snacks), Elizabeth Hernandez (Clinica del Celular).

The pitch event’s judges included Fred del Barrio, owner of several RGV McDonald’s franchises, Ruby De La Garza with the US Department of Agriculture, and Martha Vera with Buckner International Missions.

While pitching their business plans, each entrepreneur listed the assets needed to further advance the development of their businesses. Some of the items mentioned included a tow trailer for Adan’s Automotive, a second ice cream truck for Summer Snacks and an oven for Nena’s Empanadas.

Prior to the pitch event, each of the entrepreneurs was involved in a new 10-week course developed by Buckner International for economically challenged families served by the Buckner Family Hope Center at Peñitas. The Buckner Entrepreneurship Incubator consisted of classes and coaching around business plan components including product/service descriptions, finances, marketing, sales, and operations. The goal of the program was to elevate local businesses to generate greater profits and better prepare for the future.

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“Many of the entrepreneurs are the sole providers for their families, therefore a successful business means their families will become more secure,” explained Charlotte Navarro, Manager of Economic Strengthening for Buckner International. “This aligns with the mission of Buckner Family Hope Centers, which is to strengthen families.

“We are so proud of everyone who took this course, and while I wish we could help each of them purchase their dream business assets, I know they will be able to soon enough if they continue to show the same drive and passion demonstrated throughout the Buckner Entrepreneurship Incubator.”

More than 20 entrepreneurs took the course and developed their own detailed business plans, though not all opted to compete in the pitch event. Orientation for a second Buckner Entrepreneurship Incubator will be held on May 21 at 6 pm, while the course will begin May 28. To register or to learn more, call/text 956-250-0900 or email mailto:[email protected].

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