Pilar González, creator of Dip-It, Making Big Waves

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Mission small business finalist for a national award by Pepsico

Texas Border Business

What a great business story, and it gets more interesting by the day. Pilar Gonzalez created a dip product and started her own business, not knowing that things were going to get big. Later, she had the opportunity to participate in the Ruby Red Ventures program, a small business fund that aims to promote the creation of innovative businesses in the City of Mission. The program is managed by the Mission Economic Development Corporation, which has helped numerous small entrepreneurs to get their product into the market. 

Pilar competed twice in the program, both times taking home the first-place prize, receiving a total of $50,000 from the Mission EDC. Pilar’s intensive three-month mentorship process will culminate in a final pitch competition in front of the panel of judges at Frito Lay’s headquarters. The grand-prize winner will be granted an additional $100,000 and intensive mentoring by PepsiCo advisors to ensure their business scales to the next level.

Dip it by Pilar named a finalist in the prestigious Stacy’s Rise Project by PepsiCo, making this Mission-based business the first company in Texas to be awarded this recognition. A team of expert judges, including Top Chef executive producer Padma Lakshmi, selected Dip it by Pilar among hundreds of applicants as one of the five finalists in the Stacy’s Rise Project. The grand prize winner will be granted an additional $100,000 and intensive mentoring by top PepsiCo executives. 

Stacy’s Snacks, the PepsiCo brand that established this contest, has already awarded the Mission-based company $20,000 to help grow its business. It will also provide Pilar with mentorship and brand visibility over the next three months.

Aida Lerma
Aida Lerma

An announcement, during a recent ceremony that took place in the CEED building in Mission, stated that Pilar is among the finalists and competing for the grand prize. Mission Deputy City Manager Aida Lerma told Texas Border Business that Pilar Gonzalez is a small entrepreneur and certainly making significant strides.” She continued, “She’s a finalist in a competition called Stacy’s Rise Project. We hope that Pilar can do well, because it means that she will become a globally-known businesswoman, so we’re excited about that.” 

From left to right, Reynaldo Moreno, Gabriela Chapa, Blanca Visceral, and Luis Flores. This is the team working at Dip it by Pilar company. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez.
From left to right, Reynaldo Moreno, Gabriela Chapa, Blanca Visceral, and Luis Flores. This is the team working at Dip it by Pilar company. Photo by Roberto Hugo Gonzalez.

Pilar has worked hard to get where she is, fortunately, in this case, she has had great support, and among them is HEB. Ivonne Loflin, the HEB Public Affairs Specialist, was present, and she said, “Oh, my goodness. Well, we’re super honored to be here with Pilar. She was our first finalist when it comes to our quest for Texas Best Primo Picks contest. We are so honored to see how she’s climbed up that beautiful entrepreneur ladder and how she’s being recognized in a part of a bigger competition.” Also, she said, “We’re excited to support her in any which way we can.”

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Ivonne Loflin
Ivonne Loflin

HEB is a company that supports local small business people. They continue to do it without hesitation. She said that Dip It by Pilar started in 50 HEB stores;today it has grown to 275. Ivonne also noted that shortly after, they are opening Mexico by carrying Dip It by Pilar in 50 of their Mexico HEBstores, to start.

Ivonne left a message to any entrepreneur in the community to know that this reality for Pilar can be their reality too. She said, “All they have to do is apply. We start applications in early February into March, and we want to invite them to come out and apply.”

Daniel Silva
Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva, the Chief Executive Officer with the Mission Economic Development Corporation that runs Ruby Red Ventures was also excited. He was notified about Pilar being a finalist in this national competition by PepsiCo in combination with Stacy’s Rise Up program.

“Out of thousands that applied all across the United States, she was selected as one of the top five.” Daniel has been part of Ruby Red Ventures since its inception and witnessed the fabulous results when the local business community wins seed money to get a business started. “We’re excited to see Pilar grow. We’ve known her capacity, we’ve known what her ambition was, and what she was able to do. Pilar just had to get there, and this is going to open up possibilities for her, give her access to more capital so she can expand. But also get mentorship so that she can scale properly,” Daniel stated.

Randy Pérez
Randy Pérez

The City of Mission is excited; this is an excellent opportunity to see how work is done first by city fathers is culminating. Randy Perez, the City Manager from the City of Mission said that Pilar started as a Ruby Red Ventures participant but today has taken it to another level.

“We’re excited, and we’re supporting Pilar and her company because she’s been selected as one of the finalists for this bigger competition. It’s a great success story for a small business moving up and starting herein the City of Mission but also to being partnered up with HEB and other major corporations.”

David Ortiz
David Ortiz

David Ortiz, from the Texas Manufacturer Assistant Center (TMAC) and UTRGV, was also present. The entities that he represents provide training in manufacturing, supply chain management and even consulting. That was the service that they offered to Pilar.

“We helped Pilar with the layout and some technical assistance in selecting new equipment.” He remembers that at the time, Pilar’s company was producing 6 Dip it per minute. Today she is producing 40 to 42 per minute,” David said.

Pilar the owner and CEO of Dip it has worked long hours. That’s what it takes in business. She started doing business with her idea of Dip it by Pilar since 2006 on a low scale, however officially she opened in 2010. Her big break came in2016 when her product won the HEB PrimoPick, and this was after Ruby Red Ventures.

Pilar also pointed out that her grandmother Raquel Garza and her aunt Carmina Garza are directly responsible for teaching her how to make dips. Her first dip was Red Chile. She says it’snot hot, however, it’s delicious.

“Our biggest challenge up to today is cash flow. Because you have to cover many areas and keep the cash moving forward, and you have to pay for things. And so, cash flow is a big issue,” Pilar stated.

Aida also pointed out that Pilar will be in Plano, Texas in the headquarters of Frito Lay. After three months of training, she’s going to go before a panel and do a pitch. “It is like a pitch contest, and she’ll go in front of a panel of judges and hopefully bring it home for us.” 

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