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20140220 Ruby-Red-Ventures AF IMG 6731 featureMISSION—The Mission Economic Development Corporation named three businesses as first-round winners of the Ruby Red Ventures at a meeting this week.

The Mission EDC and the Mission City Council created the program to assist small businesses through a $100,000 awards fund. The program seeks to encourage entrepreneurially oriented Rio Grande Valley residents to expand and/or launch new ventures in Mission.

Chief Operating Officer Daniel Silva said the program has been able to fund 12 businesses since it’s creation.

“Ruby Red Ventures has been a program that we’ve been able to reach the micro business, the small business population,” Silva said. “It has been very successful. The groups complete a business plan…they go through courses and give a presentation.”

Silva said the presentations are made in setting similar to the “Shark Tank” TV show, where a few judges analyze the businesses and their created plans. Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce CEO George Myers was one of the judges this year and said it’s really tough to start a business as well as a business plan.

Adriana Rincon is a business and trade advisor with the University of Texas-Pan American Small Business Development Center, and said she assisted each applicant with creating a business plan.

The participants also attend workshops provided by the university to educate them on the workings of small businesses, goals and planning.

Pilar Gonzalez was the winner of the $25,000 grant with the program, and she attributed her success in winning to Rincon as her friend and mentor. Gonzalez is the owner of Dip It, Gourmet Yogurt Dips.

For the last seven years, Gonzalez has been producing five chip dips out of her home that are sold at local stores like Zarah’s Meat Market.

“I would like to thank Ruby Red. It is a great program, and I’m so happy that these guys took the time and the effort to put together such a life changing experience,” Gonzalez said. “I’m going to bring more jobs to this great city that has opened its doors to me.”

Gonzalez added without the support of Rincon and her family, she wouldn’t be where she is at today.

The winner of the $10,000 grant was Create the Bridge, a business owned by Luis Treviño, Joacim Hernandez and twin brothers Nathan and Joshua Villarreal.

“This is a group of young individuals…they are extremely technologically advanced,” Silva said. “You can tell that they are self taught and the information they presented in such a short time was just phenomenal.”

The company was founded in 2010, and works on a variety of items to assist businesses. Their services include websites, mobile apps, branding and online marketing.

“To talk a little more about what we will be doing, Create the Bridge primarily focuses on three areas: design, development and marketing,” Nathan Villarreal said. “What we are building is a platform to allow businesses to have stronger technology products, specifically technology they could not afford at current price points.”

The third winner, Style Hub, owned by Yuliana Salinas earned a $2,500 grant. Silva said Salinas could not be present since she was out of state at a fashion show.

“Her company is Style Hub. You may have seen it on FM 495,” Silva said. “She is seven months young in business and she has something that not many start ups have been able to do in their first or second year, she has been profitable.”

The second round of Ruby Red Ventures’ application period opened on Feb. 3 and will close on March 31. For more information on the second round of the Ruby Red Ventures and guidelines visit the program’s website at www.rubyredventures.com.

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