Statewide conference focuses on economic development in rural Te - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Statewide conference focuses on economic development in rural Texas

Source: KXXV Source: KXXV
WACO, TX (KXXV) -

An annual statewide conference focused on economic development in rural Texas drew nearly 350 attendees to Waco this week.

The Texas Rural Challenge, which lasted two days, was hosted by the University of Texas at San Antonio and the Office of the Governor. It aims to give business owners tools to grow their businesses and connect them with financial resources. Those include from the government and the private sector.

"Connecting with each other, I think that's the biggest value and connecting the dots, not only with communities doing something in terms of a best practice, but connecting with financial resources that could help them bridge the gaps that they are experiencing," Director of the Rural Business Program at UTSA Gilbert Gonzalez said.

He said some of the sessions allow them to address some of the challenges small communities are facing, including educational attainment, broadband connectivity and healthcare access.

"We want for them to walk away being empowered through those sessions. I think that is the biggest thing, applying what they learn to their small communities and addressing those challenges," UTSA Director of the Rural Business Program Gilbert Gonzalez said.

Elizabeth Davis, an entrepreneur from McAllen who manufactures pecan products low in sugar, gluten free and vegan, was  a panelist at the conference. She credits her success of her business in part to the help of the Small Business Development Center. The organization helps small business owners like Davis to put together business plans and find funding sources.

"I'm from Mexico. I was new to developing a business here in USA," Davis said. "You bring the business idea and they make it possible."

This is the second year the Nuts and Cow owner has attended the conference, which helped her network with other business owners.

"You can find all the resources you can use to grow your business and make networking with people who are in the business," Davis said. "It gave me a different perspective. It opened my eyes to how much I can do and how much support we can get from the state."

Last year, Davis who also owns a commercial rental kitchen business called Mi Cocina participated in the Small Business Development Center fast-pitch competition called Texas Strong.

The contest gives cash award prizes to a few SBC's client finalists who have developed innovative products or services that could benefit rural communities.

Brent Jameson who owns HR Onboarding Solutions from San Angelo won third place this year and received $1,000.

His business gives companies who use paper forms to streamline the process to hire their employees through a web based onboarding system.

"I would be exciting win for our our company that the systems and our services that we provide to Texas company and more importantly Texas schools here is validated and that we are doing a good thing," Jameson said.

He added he would use the funds to invest in training, hiring additional employees and enhancing his facilities.

In addition, undergraduate and graduate students competed in a fast-pitch business plan competition called Texas Student Texas Challenge.

This is the 8th year the conference has been held.

Copyright 2017 KXXV. All rights reserved.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

    Accused serial rapist and killer undetected working as cop

    Thursday, April 26 2018 2:39 AM EDT2018-04-26 06:39:08 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 9:42 AM EDT2018-04-26 13:42:41 GMT
    (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli). Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, left, talks to reporters about the arrest Joesph James DeAngelo, seen in photo, on suspicion of committing a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's after a news conference. ...

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

    More >>

    The suspected Golden State Killer became less prolific but deadlier after losing his job as a police officer.

    More >>
  • Senate committee poised for vote on bill to protect Mueller

    Senate committee poised for vote on bill to protect Mueller

    Thursday, April 26 2018 12:28 AM EDT2018-04-26 04:28:40 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 9:41 AM EDT2018-04-26 13:41:44 GMT
    (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File). FILE - In this June 21, 2017, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a closed door meeting in Washington. Rep...(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File). FILE - In this June 21, 2017, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 election, departs Capitol Hill following a closed door meeting in Washington. Rep...

    Senate panel expected to vote on legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's job, a bill that has split Republicans.

    More >>

    Senate panel expected to vote on legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's job, a bill that has split Republicans.

    More >>
  • EPA chief faces Capitol Hill grilling over ethical missteps

    EPA chief faces Capitol Hill grilling over ethical missteps

    Thursday, April 26 2018 12:53 AM EDT2018-04-26 04:53:54 GMT
    Thursday, April 26 2018 9:40 AM EDT2018-04-26 13:40:46 GMT
    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon). Protesters listen to speakers talk about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the state of the EPA during a protest by the American Federation of Government Employees union, Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon). Protesters listen to speakers talk about EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and the state of the EPA during a protest by the American Federation of Government Employees union, Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Washington.

    Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt faces potentially make-or-break hearings on Capitol Hill, where he is expected to face questions about spending and ethics scandals that have triggered bipartisan...

    More >>

    Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt faces potentially make-or-break hearings on Capitol Hill, where he is expected to face questions about spending and ethics scandals that have triggered bipartisan calls for his ouster.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly