Wednesday, February 22, 2023
  Community, Around Campus

By News and Internal Communications

By Kanea MacDonald 

WESLACO, TEXAS – With a goal of turning great ideas into great businesses, the annual UTRGV Rafael Munguia Business Plan Competition is currently accepting applications through Friday, Feb. 24.  

The UTRGV Center for Innovation & Commercialization, a Blackstone LaunchPad and a division of the Robert C. Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship, is hosting the competition where local entrepreneurs and university students, faculty, staff and alumni can bring their best business plans and ideas to the table for a chance to win up to $5,000.  

Business Plan Competition 
UTRGV students and local entrepreneurs presented their business plans last year during the annual UTRGV Rafael Munguia Business Plan Competition. The competition continues this year with applications being accepted through Friday, Feb. 24. (UTRGV Photo by Kanea MacDonald)

Laurie Simmons, director of the Center for Innovation & Commercialization, said opportunities like the Rafael Munguia Business Plan Competition and the previously held Big Idea Competition are the perfect way to encourage and support new ideas from across the region.   

“Through our center and our competitions, we hope to help the next generation of entrepreneurs turn great ideas into great businesses,” Simmons said. “We believe that what students gain through experiences like this will benefit them long after the event.”   

One student who has benefitted from the competition is William Brown, a senior mechanical engineering major at UTRGV, who secured last year’s grand prize for the student division with his company Embedded Inc. The company focuses on developing comfortable, wireless and quiet elderly patient monitoring technology that allows for consistent monitoring while keeping the patient comfortable in their own bed. Brown has been recently recognized by the Texas Business Hall of Fame as a Future Texas Business Leader.  

“The Rafael Munguia Business Plan Competition was an excellent opportunity for me to share what Embedded is working on and connect with others who are also pursuing their entrepreneurial goals,” Brown said. “I was also able to receive important feedback from the judges, which helped move Embedded forward in its journey. The prize money from the competition has allowed us to begin working on the development and testing of our initial prototype.”  


The competition finalists will be split into two categories – UTRGV Students and General/Community, and the winners will be determined by a pool of judges comprised of experienced entrepreneurs and business professionals.   

Applications for the 2023 Rafael Munguia Business Plan Competition are being accepted through Friday, Feb. 24, by 5 p.m. For questions or more information, please contact the Center for Innovation & Commercialization at 



The Blackstone LaunchPad network makes entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills accessible and relevant for all college students to help them build thriving companies and careers. We work with higher-ed institutions to deliver proven startup resources, facilitate access to a global network of mentors and advisors, and offer unique virtual and physical convening opportunities so thousands of diverse college students can go further, faster. Students learn by doing, gaining knowledge and critical skills to help them succeed as a founder or contributor to the innovation economy. LaunchPad’s ever-expanding network encompasses campuses with predominantly underrepresented populations. 


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.