Thursday, October 29, 2020

By Letty Fernandez

WESLACO, TEXAS – The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on businesses, with many struggling and, at best, hoping to survive.

But help is available through the UTRGV Center for Innovation and Commercialization (CIC), thanks to a $300,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA).

Laurie Simmons, director of the CIC, said conducting business today has added challenges.

“Through EDA grant funding, we are offering three programs to help entrepreneurs and small businesses, she said. “And we are hoping that this support can make a difference during this challenging time.”

The UTRGV CIC will be offering and coordinating a student internship program to help businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 and, as a result, have had to reduce their staff.  

The internships will be in person, virtual or hybrid, based on the company's need.  

Students in the UTRGV Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship will be encouraged to apply. Each intern will be expected to complete 100 hours during the internship and will be awarded a one-time stipend of $1,000.  

Applications will be accepted through Jan. 31, 2021 at

The CIC also will offer pro-bono marketing and social media professional services, to help businesses transition their services to online, where appropriate, and shift their marketing to post-pandemic market requirements.

The UTRGV CIC will make co-working space and team rooms available for up to 20 companies who have lost their workspace or are not in a position to afford to pay office rent and utilities. Selected businesses can use the facility for up to 20 hours per week through August 2022. They will have access to Wi-Fi, printer, copier, and meeting rooms upon request for up to four times per month.

Simmons said they expect to launch the program and begin accepting applications in the next few weeks.

For more information, or to apply, visit



Centrally located in the City of Weslaco, the Center for Innovation and Commercialization (CIC) is transforming the Rio Grande Valley by serving as the regional entrepreneurial hub for both the Lower and Upper Valley. By providing necessary resources and support systems to the community, the CIC is committed to helping regional entrepreneurs create successful “scalable enterprises” that have the potential to reach national and international markets.

For more information, visit


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.