Category Archives: Chamber News

TRUE STORIES OF SUCCESS: The McAllen Innovation Grant Awards

In 2010 Fernando Ramirez and Jorge Garcia embarked on a great journey, the journey of innovation. The journey began when Jorge, an inventor, recognized the need for a new product to help parents with the cleaning and sanitizing of baby products. That vision was enough for Jorge to start sketching solutions to the problem. Fernando, an entrepreneur, learned about the idea and recognized the potential to develop a new product that could solve some unmet needs. At that point, the inventor and the entrepreneur decided to formalize the partnership in a new venture: G Innovations. The next step was to move their idea off the ground. The team began attending the I&E (Inventors & Entrepreneurs) Network at the McAllen Chamber. At every meeting, they learned essential steps in the process of innovation.  The first topic they began to work on was intellectual property. Confidentiality agreements and provisional patents became part…

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TRUE STORIES OF SUCCESS: The LatinaHope Program

Emma decided to take action and make her dream a reality, becoming a micro-entrepreneur. She had plenty of experience in sewing from past employment and family responsibilities but was lacking funding and business knowledge. To overcome that obstacle, in 2010 she decided to participate in LatinaHope to learn about business and obtain micro-funding. Her enthusiasm, participation and motivation while in the program made the idea a reality: Emma’s Alterations. For Sara, LatinaHope was an opportunity to expand her commercialization strategy and personal-growth. Sara designs and handmakes necklaces, rings, and earrings from her home. During the training, she identified and recognized that her jewelry could be sold by sales representatives for a commission using her personal network. Her next step was to start branding her products and create a commission scale. To grow faster, she applied for a micro-grant offered by LatinaHope to acquire additional inventory to offer to current customers…

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ACCE presents McAllen Chamber of Commerce National Award for Communications Excellence

Alexandria, Virginia – August 9, 2011 – The McAllen Chamber of Commerce is a recipient of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives' (ACCE) Award for Communications Excellence (ACE).  The Chamber’s newsletter “McNews” received a Bronze Award.    The ACE Bronze Award meets and exceeds the fundamental standards and criteria for communications excellence.   Winners were recognized at the annual ACCE convention on Thursday evening, August 4, in Los Angeles, Ca.   “There is truly exceptional communications work being done in the chamber profession, and ACCE is proud to recognize these achievements,” said ACCE President Mick Fleming.   This year's ACE competition drew 83 entries from chambers throughout the U.S.   The Awards for Communication Excellence (ACE) is an annual competition that recognizes excellence in all areas of communications. Celebrating its 28th year, ACE continues to be the vehicle for the chamber community to promote effective chamber communications, as well as…

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McAllen Chamber Announces 2011 McAllen Innovation Grant Awards Winners

The 2011 McAllen Innovation Grant Awards is a competition to recognize with funding, great ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. The program pursues two objectives. First, to generate entrepreneurial opportunities with funding to move ideas off the ground. The second is to expose entrepreneurs to the experience of requesting capital from potential investors. During the application process, participants need to solidify the objective (what), strategies (how), and tactics (when, where, who) of their project. The awards are grants, not loans, and do not have to be repaid. The applicants are required to state the amount of money they are requesting (up to $10,000) and how they anticipate to use the funding if awarded. The most common funding categories are the following: New product evaluation Assessment of commercial potential Primary or secondary research Product development Performance proofing or testing Test marketing Patent research Intellectual property rights procurement Concept development   In June, a…

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Heart of the Valley Health Fair 2011

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce Health Fair Committee invites everyone to participate in the 28th Annual “Heart of the Valley” Health, Fitness and Wellness Fair on Sunday, November 20, 2011 from 8 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at the McAllen Convention Center.   The Chamber sponsors this event to promote health awareness and education to the community and to give medical & wellness businesses the opportunity to give back to the community.  Also, through the fair we are able to educate the community about the latest treatments, procedures, services and technology available in the Rio Grande Valley.    Exhibitors at the health fair will offer free health screenings in cholesterol, diabetes, blood pressure, vision/glaucoma, dental, chiropractic, bone density, live fitness routines among others.  Over 6,000 Rio Grande Valley residents and Winter Texans take advantage of all the services offered at the health fair.   The health fair also features a children’s section…

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Inventing a Reality: The McAllen Innovation Grant Awards

For the past year, Jorge Garcia and Fernando Ramirez of G Innovations have been working on a great project, their invention the EZ Baby bottle washing machine.  G Innovations was awarded an innovation grant of $10,000 for its invention of the baby bottle washing machine last June by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce.  The grant provided them additional funding to pursue two major steps in the inventing process: the patent and the prototype. “The McAllen Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in the progress of our endeavor,” commented Ramirez.  “They provided the much needed funding for us to proceed to the next level.  And the best part of it – this was not a loan; we don’t have to repay these funds.”   The first step for G Innovations was to conduct a patent search and apply for a U.S. patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).…

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Work Underway on Landmark History Book: McAllen’s First 100 Years – Leading the Way

Almost 100 years ago – on the day before Valentine's Day – a few dozen men on February 13, 1911 voted to officially create (incorporate) the City of McAllen.    “For most of its history, McAllen was a dusty little farm town at the southern tip of Texas, long on cactus and short on jobs,” Ana Campoy with the Wall Street Journal recounted in her May 4, 2010 article on the City of Palms.   But a lot happens to a community in 100 years, and during that period, McAllen has been literally transformed from a South Texas border village into what McAllen Mayor Richard Cortéz today proudly portrays as “an international American city.” For many local residents, they still have wonderful memories of McAllen celebrating its “centennial” back in 2004, when a reported 7,000 visitors celebrated at Archer Park, according to the Online History of McAllen, Texas and the Surrounding Areas.…

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