Recap of the 2010 Women’s Business Summit
The 2010 Women’s Business Summit that took place on Friday, May 7, 2010 was a tremendous success despite the recent economic downturn, business opportunities still abound in the Rio Grande Valley. The event reached out to more than 250 entrepreneurs interested in either starting or expanding their small businesses. The areas of discussion included leadership, innovation, job creation, and access to capital. To kick-off the event a reception a VIP reception was organized the evening before with attendance of dignitaries such as State Representative Armando Martinez, State Representative Ryan Guillen and State Representative Aaron Pena.
The feedback that the Women’s Business Center received from the attendees was outstanding especially regarding the caliber of the speakers and sponsors that supported the event. Congressman Ruben Hinojosa, although not present, took the time to send his remarks via video and mentioned of the importance how perseverance, hard work, and collaborative efforts are the key to business success. Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia informed the audience of how our area’s accomplishments, such as being ranked by Forbes Magazine as the fourth fastest growing MSA in the nation. Ana Harvey, Assistant Administrator for Women’s Business Ownership, was the morning keynote speaker and was very inspirational and informative when it came to point out that women already have an impact on our national economy and that they serve as the “key” to our economic recovery. She also informed the focus the importance for women-owned business to start looking for opportunities on federal procurement. When it came to the leadership panel, two successful business women Representative Veronica Gonzales and Linda Resendez, chief executive officer for the Edinburg Regional Hospital, shared their personal stories and how from humble beginnings they grew to be leaders in their respective industries.
Representatives from three industry leaders (TXU Energy, Verizon, and ATT) spoke about the importance of innovation and what can be expected in terms of technological improvements over the coming years. Arcilia Acosta, president and CEO of CARCON Industries/STL Engineers, spoke about ‘empowering the entrepreneur.’ She related her personal story on how from humble beginnings, she managed to grow her father’s construction business to a multimillion dollar construction business. She also advised clients to stick to their core competencies, consider diversifying their sources of income, and to follow their passion. Representatives from both the private and public sector discussed the importance of being well-capitalized and what options are available to today’s small business owners. Areas covered included the different types of conventional loans, government-guaranteed programs, and grant funding. Keep a look out for news about the 2011 Women’s Business Summit.