McAllen Chamber Programs Help Entrepreneurs See the Big Picture

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce is more than just a partner for established businesses. Along with city leaders, your team at the McAllen Chamber work to help potential entrepreneurs thrive and develop businesses that can prosper in our beautiful community.

And that means paying attention to the bigger picture.

Your success as a businessperson means success for our local economy, which in turn allows for more growth and business development. We believe it is our job to ensure that there are enough opportunities for local McAllen and RGV entrepreneurs to make their dreams come true. Because of this, we have developed a number of programs designed to provide experience and financial support to those who would best benefit from it.

The following initiatives are designed for burgeoning entrepreneurs to find their brand voice and to provide them with seed money to turn ideas into reality.

TheGoodPitch Competition

Every business starts with an idea. And every good businessperson knows that they’ll need to effectively express that idea if they want to find success.

That’s where the McAllen Chamber’s “TheGoodPitch” Competition steps in. This initiative was designed to help entrepreneurs develop solid (and necessary) public speaking skills. Simulating a real-world scenario of promoting an idea, product, service, or request, participants deliver an “elevator pitch” for two minutes or less.

Chamber team leaders, members, and/or local business owners serve as judges, rating the speaker on a number of criteria that include: structure and organization, originality, body language, voice volume and tone, and is appropriate for the audience.

An open community event, the competition takes place on the third Thursday of November with the public encouraged to attend as well. There is an entree fee of $15 and a cap of 15 participants, so it’s best to fill out a registration form as early as possible.

Once participants have presented their “elevator pitch”, judges will provide valuable feedback to each participant. Moderators will then select a first, second, and third place winner for the competition. The best elevator speech will be awarded a grand prize of $250, second place will win $100, and third place $50.

Additionally, the McAllen Chamber will donate all the collected application fees to the first place winner’s chosen local non-profit or charity.

TheGoodPitch Competition is an excellent opportunity for McAllen entrepreneurs to sharpen their verbal skills,  while also serving as a wonderful platform to build an audience. Last year’s winners were Jessica and Gabriel Sanchez, owners of the Kairos Coffee Catering.

The McAllen Business Plan Competition

There’s nothing else like it in the Rio Grande Valley. The McAllen Business Plan Competition – sponsored by the McAllen Chamber and the McAllen EDC – is where truly dedicated entrepreneurs and visionaries challenge themselves to obtain $7,500 in seed money for their start-up.

Open to McAllen residents, McAllen businesses, or entrepreneurs seeking to establish their business in McAllen, this is the perfect initiative for those in need of funding to fully develop or execute their idea.

Replicating the real-world process and challenges of soliciting funds for a start-up, the competition is broken down into two phases. The initial stage consists of the submission of an Executive Summary. Points criteria can be found on the Chamber website.

Following the submission of the initial Executive Summary, a panel of 5 judges composed of Chamber board members and local business owners – acting as venture capital investors – will select qualifying contestants to proceed to round two.

During the second stage of the McAllen Business Plan Competition, teams will be required to create and submit a full business plan. Guidelines can be found on the Chamber website. Chosen participants will be notified and have approximately three weeks to develop and present their business plan. Judges will review the business plans while participants will have to deliver a 10-minute oral presentation regarding their product or service with an additional 10-minute portion for Q&A by the panel of judges.

The success of contestants is dependent on a number of factors including the quality of the idea, the strength of the management team, the clarity and persuasiveness of the written plan, as well as the quality of the oral presentation.

Competition is always fierce with only one winner emerging from a solid cohort of future entrepreneurs and business owners.

Seeing the Big Picture

Ultimately, these two McAllen Chamber initiatives help local entrepreneurs better understand their own goals and products. The efforts that participants put into competing in either the TheGoodPitch Competition or McAllen Business Plan Competition allows them to more thoroughly develop their ideas to ensure that the business they are looking to create has a solid foundation.

Additionally, they offer unparalleled opportunity to raise the profile of an emerging new business. The value of visibility cannot be overstated in the business world and these initiatives have the ability to not only provide competitors with some much need seed-money but also puts them in front of local business leaders.

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce believes that a key pillar of the economic development in the McAllen metro area is to promote and encourage start-ups and the expansion of local small businesses. To promote the spirit of entrepreneurship, we have implemented these various competitions to encourage and financially support prospective business owners who are working to give us a better community.