EDC celebrates first anniversary of Economic Development Center

Special to the NEWS

Pictured in back row are (L-R): City of San Benito Mayor Benjamin “Ben” Gomez, Julian Rios, EDC Board President, Rene Garcia, EDC Board Vice President, Alex Meade, Senior VP of Economic Development with Texas Regional Bank, & Fred Bell, City of San Benito Assistant City Manager. Pictured in front row: Encarnacion Lopez, EDC Board Member, Kat Guerra, EDC Intern, City of San Benito Mayor Pro Tem Carol Sanchez, City of San Benito, Rebeca Castillo, EDC Executive Director, Julian Alvarez, Commissioner of Labor with Texas Workforce Commission, Manuel De La Rosa, City of San Benito City Manager, Mario Silva, EDC Board Member, Victoria Padron, Economic Development Specialist, Pat Hobbs, Director of Cameron Workforce Board, & Jeremy Maya, EDC Board Secretary/Treasurer. (Courtesy photo)

The San Benito Business & Economic Development Center recently celebrated its first year anniversary of operation. The center had been under consideration for over six years and had an original estimated cost of $800,000. In 2019 it was finally implemented by EDC staff with a total cost of $120,000.

On March 25, 2019 the EDC Board of Directors took action to reactivate this project and the San Benito City Commission supported it after undergoing a 60-day comment period. The EDC staff underwent the process of activating this space and made it as operational as possible with a smaller budget. The renovations started by June 1, 2019, and the EDC staff moved into this facility by August 1, 2019.

This 3,000 square feet facility now houses the San Benito EDC offices. It serves as an ecosystem that will provide incubation space for up to four start-ups, that will be housed for a period of 18 to 24 months and provided with low-cost rent and resources that will lead them to graduate into their own storefront successfully.

A celebration during COVID-19 is not easy, but the EDC Board of Directors felt that it was important to celebrate this milestone since this facility has been integral in elevating economic development in and for the San Benito community.

The celebratory event hosted the EDC Board of Directors, the San Benito City Commission, and dignitaries joining the facility.

“We thank them for being true economic development champions and continuously being strong supporters of our city,” read EDC Executive Director Rebecca Castillo in a press release.

Special guests included Mr. Julian Alvarez, Commissioner of Labor with Texas Workforce Commission, Mr. Alex Meade, Senior Vice President of Economic Development with Texas Regional Bank, Senator Eddie Lucio Jr, Texas Senate, and Pat Hobbs, Executive Director of Cameron Workforce Board.

The general public was able to join the celebration virtually via a Facebook live stream. Five door prizes, which consisted of a snack basket, a tote with EDC goodies, and a $50 gift certificate from local restaurants such as Longhorn Cattle Company, Blanquita’s #2, and Sweet Deli and More were raffled among those participating via the Facebook live stream. “We reactivated a vacant funeral home into the San Benito Business & Economic Development Center that now houses the San Benito EDC offices and is also a resource center for the business community,” said Castillo. “We are very proud to have created an entrepreneurial and starter-up ecosystem that leads our businesses to success.”

Julian Rios, EDC Board President, said, “This working space has been integral on strategically fomenting economic growth in our community. We are building around the concept of customer service and being hands-on. We assist business prospects by finding the ideal property/location, by helping them prepare a business plan, by programming trainings and workshops that are of most demand and so much more.”

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.sbnewspaper.com/2020/10/23/edc-celebrates-first-anniversary-of-economic-development-center/

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