Each year the McAllen Chamber’s Innovation Grant program attracts participants who put their creativity and dreams in the hands of the judges.

“The program was created by the Chamber to develop a stronger entrepreneurial ecosystem and to stimulate innovation in the McAllen area,” Director of Business Development Jorge Sanchez, said.

Here are the six 2017 Innovation Grant winners.

Ranvu Grocery Delivery App makes life easier for the busy families of the Valley. By downloading this app to a smart phone, people can select their grocery store of choice and create and order their list of food and supplies. The items will be delivered to them within two hours.

Gloria Ordaz and her husband Dorance Cuba were in France working on a master’s program in International Business Management. For six months they researched the idea and future of e-commerce. When she read about the grocery delivery business, Gloria felt the time for that had come for the Rio Grande Valley.

Reaching out to businesses and restaurants, Ranvu is fast becoming a diversified delivery system for the Valley See more at

Another technology innovation grant was awarded to Tag U, created by Carlos Mandujano. Utilizing the grant to build Tag U Inc., this app will ultimately make the business world’s life more convenient.

“Since I have a variety of businesses, along with their necessary business cards, I started to think there has to be a simpler way to distribute them rather than carry a pocket full of cards,” Carlos said. “The app I’m developing will be a mobile digital business card which utilizes near field communication and swipe and share technology.”

Swipe and share technology allows a person to swipe his or her business card into a phone, then easily swipe to share on others’ phones, eliminating the need for paper.

The WiFi Stand was developed by Drew Lentz and his partner, Eric Slosberg, after Drew noticed at a Las Vegas conference that there was no wifi infrastructure.

“Someone had produced a weird looking frame and was trying to hang access points on it,” Drew Lentz explained.

The two men developed a simple stand for commercial use to place wireless equipment anywhere, such as banquets, sporting events, convention centers or special event facilities.

“Think of it like a lamp that uses a lightbulb, only it’s wifi.” Drew said.

Using the grant to continue marketing the product, they have already sold over 1,000 units in 15 countries on four continents. See more at

Eco Teck Block, by Obed Roque, is a revolutionary construction block similar in shape to a Lego, made of recycled plastic. The blocks can be used to build commercial and residential structures easy, faster and more affordably with no need for such things as drywall or plywood.

Obed plans to use the grant towards a patent, and the next step is to build 100 units for testing. Referring to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, with a similar area of plastic debris found in the Atlantic, Obed suggested this product line might be one method to start cleaning up the Earth’s oceans, while using the plastic to benefit the construction industry.

With characteristics such as being more flame retardant and water resistant, and being its own insulation material, the Eco Teck Block could rock the construction industry to its core.

On the stylish side, Mirthala Quintanilla, has designed the new go-to accessory for sports event attendees. With increased security now in place at sports events, and with fans still wanting team decorations, the Mirta will be a small purse to accommodate the normal necessities like lipstick, money, cards and even an asthma pump.

“Our goal is to fit all requirements for the various schools, colleges, sports arenas and stadiums,” Mirthala said. “It would coordinate nicely alongside the jewelry, hats and apparel all fans love to own.”

The purses would be in the colors of the different sports clubs with detachable pom pons to use during the games.

Mirthala is working with a local company to produce her prototype, and is excited about the future of her chic purse.

During the two years and nine months Vivian Villarreal was caretaker for her husband, what she found most frustrating was the waste of adult diapers and the moisture that the diaper area retained.

“After two and a half months of protecting my husband’s skin integrity, and to alleviate bedsores in the future, I knew I had to do something to ease this problem for him,” Vivian said.

Vivian designed an extra pocket to sit within the diaper, she experimented until she found one that worked the best. It collected urine without leaking, and left his skin in excellent condition.

After he passed, Vivian decided her invention could benefit men around the world – race drivers, truck drivers, men in hospitals and nursing homes, for instance. The grant will help with the patent process for the Trusty Gentlemen’s Assistant.

Awarding grants to a wide variety of products, the Chamber continues to boost local inventors as they follow their asperations, and to support the entrepreneurial spirit which is so strong in McAllen.