A Bit About Our Champions
The companies and individuals that make their way through our Innovation Programs, and who are chosen as recipients of our Innovation Grant, are always a special breed. Their passion for innovative products and their ability to turn an idea into a reality is not easily found. But once you have found a true trailblazer, you’ll know.
There’s a reason why Cappadona Ranch and Nuts & Cows have been chosen as Primo Picks finalist - their products and their passion.
Established in 2012 by Victoria Barrera Cappadona, Cappadona Ranch has developed from a simple family treat into the growing juggernaut that it is today. Developing a variety of healthy, home-made products from mesquite beans, including Mesquite Bean Jelly, flour, coffee, and more, Victoria has turned a food forgotten to history into a Texas favorite.
Essentially discovering the value and tastiness of mesquite beans by coincidence, Victoria worked diligently to create the perfect mesquite bean jelly recipe, and has been working double time ever since to bring new and amazing products to customers all over the state (and even across the nation).
Hitting social media with a bang, Cappadona Ranch has created a community of mesquite bean enthusiasts and foodies who utterly enjoy the gluten-free, organic treats the company offers.
The McAllen Chamber of Commerce - as well the USDA among other organizations - caught wind of her special product and she was encouraged to participate in the McAllen Innovation Program and apply for the Innovation Grant. Of course, the Cappadona Ranch products were too delicious to deny, and the company was awarded the $10,000 McAllen Chamber Innovation Grant; amazingly, Cappadona Ranch was the only company to be awarded the full amount for that year.
And the company has been on a roll ever since, gaining recognition from numerous publications and organizations such as GoTexan - of which Cappadona Ranch is a certified member. So it only makes sense that the company has been chosen as a Primo Pick finalist.
Suffice to say that Cappadona Ranch mesquite bean products are Texas gold!
Nuts & Cows
Elizabeth Davis, owner of Nuts & Cows, is a true visionary. She’s the perfect example of what happens when innovation, hard work, and dedication combine to create a one-of-a-kind product.
Offering health-conscious treats, sugar-free, vegan and all natural pecan butters, savory pecan-based snacks, and a variety of other products, Nuts & Cows is a special business unlike anything else found in McAllen.
Elizabeth knew she had something exceptional in her hands when she created her first product - pecan pralines. Family and friends gushed over the delectable, low-sugar treat, and so Elizabeth decided to take her show on the road, selling pralines and pecan pies at local farmers markets. The results were outstanding.
Soon she was experimenting; the signs of a true culinary genius.
Her products began to include roasted pecan butters, spicy pecans, coconut wrapped pecans, chocolate covered pecans, and much more tasty concoctions. Clients were just going nuts over the snacks.
But there were bigger things in store for Nuts & Cows.
Elizabeth knew that she needed to take the company to the next level. And that’s exactly what she did.
Submitting her application for the Innovation Grant, there was no denying Nuts & Cows was onto something fantastic. The promising Nuts & Cows won an Innovation Grant in 2015 and hasn’t stopped since.
Amazingly, Elizabeth started the business with just $89, a solid plan, and a passion for innovation. Good things definitely come to those who work hard.
McAllen Chamber’s Innovation & Entrepreneur Programs
We understand that we have an amazing community with many entrepreneurs who have unbelievable ideas but who need just a bit of guidance to turn their dreams into a reality. Because of this, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce has developed a number of programs intended to attract, retain, and encourage, dedicated local entrepreneurs to successfully launch their products.
The McAllen Chamber of Commerce and leaders from the city of McAllen are ecstatic to help those who are eager to contribute to our great community. It is because of this reason that a number of programs, services, and partnerships with numerous organizations, have been established to turn ideas into action.
Innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, and business owners can all benefit from our Innovation & Entrepreneur Programs that include:
- Inventors & Entrepreneurs Network (The I&E Network)
- The GoodPitch Competition
- 1 Million Cups (1MC)
- The McAllen Business Plan Competition
- The Crowdfunding Catapult
- The Latina Hope Network
And, of course, the Innovation Grant Competition.
Providing up to $10,000 to winners, the Innovation Grant has been instrumental in equipping local inventors, entrepreneurs, and innovators with the funding they need to help launch their product or grow their business.
A competition, candidates must apply for the grant and work their way through a rigorous process intended to simulate the real-world scenarios of soliciting funding from investors and venture capital firms. The grants - which are NOT loans and do NOT have to be repaid - can be used for a number of purposes including but not limited to:
- New product evaluation
- Assessment of commercial potential
- Product development
- Test marketing
- Patent research
- Intellectual property rights procurement
- Other activities as deemed appropriate by the review committee
Those interested in applying for the Innovation Grant should be aware of the following requirements:
- Individuals applying for this grant must live in McAllen or plan to open their business in McAllen
- All ideas must be original work of the entering contestant(s)
- All entrants must be 18 years or older
- All winners must participate in the IdeaPlace program before receiving funding
- A prototype of the product is required
- Winner(s) must attend an IE Network event to share their experiences
To learn more about the Chamber’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship Programs, contact us today at (956) 682-2871.