The McAllen Chamber of Commerce offers the following programs to attract, retain and encourage inventors and entrepreneurs to move their ideas to market launch:
The I&E Network Meeting. Every session participants discuss individual project accomplishments and road blocks on moving their projects to market. Fellow colleagues are asked about suggestions or lead to overcome the obstacles presented. Then, the group gets a break to connect with others inventors, entrepreneurs or representatives of local resources. The last part of the meeting is devoted to a presentation by an expert on a topic relevant to the road map of getting your idea or business off the ground.
TheGoodPitch Competition. The Competition is a great occasion to polish and/or prepare your elevator speech to a potentially business opportunity. A grand prize of $ 250 will be awarded to the best elevator speech, a $ 150 to the second place and $ 100 to the third. As part of the grand price, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce will donate all the collected entry fees ($15) to the winner’s chosen local non-profit or charity.
Innovation Grant Awards. The McAllen Innovation Grant Awards is a visionary grant program designed to encourage product innovation and business creation in the McAllen trade area. An applicant may request up to $10,000 to establish, expand, develop or advance a Basic Business product idea. The McAllen Innovation Grant Awards is a competition, and awards will be made on the basis of the strongest and most potentially viable ideas, as well as the best presentation.
The McAllen Business Plan Competition. The McAllen Business Plan Competition is an initiative sponsored by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and the McAllen Economic Development Corporation to foster new business development in the McAllen Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). A prize of $5,000 will be awarded to the applicant that presents the best and more feasible business plan. The competition is for new, independent, for-profit ventures in the seed or start-up stages in the McAllen area.
The LatinaHope Network. LatinaHope Network is a component designed to facilitate the learning, networking and acting of Spanish speaking micro-entrepreneurs that have a new business idea or a small business and want to move their venture to a more tangible point. Participants are required to participate in three training session and present a business plan as part of the application process to grants and competitions. The program is conducted in Spanish.
The Winners’ Roundtable. The Winners’ Roundtable is an initiative of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce to offer a peer-learning opportunity for recipients of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce Innovation Grant Awards and the McAllen Business Plan Competition. During the meeting, recipients will present their project progress and challenges. After project updates, participants can share their experiences to help others move their projects forward.
The Crowdfunding Catapult. The Crowdfunding Catapult will help innovators develop their crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding is asking a crowd of people to donate an amount of money for a specific cause, or project in exchange for various rewards. In most of the projects, backers (people who support a project) donate to a project in exchange for tangible, non-monetary, rewards such as the finished product, a t-shirt or a “thank you note.” The campaign should include: a scope, rewards, timeline, video, and a project page. There is no charge for the assistance, but the entrepreneur needs to participate in a venture/product assessment to define the maturity of the idea.