Friday, October 13, 2023

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – OCT. 13, 2023 – The UTRGV Center for Innovation and Commercialization (CIC) Market Lab program will bring together 30 local entrepreneurs and community members to support startups in the region Saturday, Oct. 14.

The event, MarketMix, will be held in Weslaco at the CIC facility, located at 307 E. Railroad. MarketMix, in its second year, is an opportunity for startups in the region to meet with their potential customers and get immediate feedback on their products or services.  

Community members and students interested in entrepreneurship are encouraged to participate in this focus-group event and be the first to try an RGV-grown product or service.

MarketMix plays a pivotal role in empowering entrepreneurs within the Market Lab program – a dynamic cohort comprised of UTRGV students and local community members – with the crucial market research insight necessary for their success. Market research stands at the heart of the Market Lab, conceived as a flagship initiative of the CIC.

“This program is truly a win/win situation for our talented students and ambitious entrepreneurs. Our students can take advantage of experiential learning at its best, gaining invaluable knowledge and skills,” said Laurie Simmons, CIC director. 

Meanwhile, our entrepreneurs receive invaluable market research, marketing plans, financial strategies, and business plans to help them successfully start, run, or scale their businesses to their maximum potential.” 

The focus groups are designed to be a welcoming space where entrepreneurs can give participants their pitch and then leave the room to allow for honest dialogue between the focus group facilitators and participants, with the goal of obtaining the most honest and helpful feedback possible.  

Luis Acosta, founder and CEO of V-Line who participated in the Spring 2023 MarketMix as an entrepreneur, said he learned a lot about what the customer wants versus what he thought they wanted.

"This experience was not only eye-opening for me, but it allowed me to see more into the perspective of my audience. I would really recommend this to other entrepreneurs," Acosta said.    

To RSVP for the Fall 2023 MarketMix, visit


The Center for Innovation & Commercialization is the UTRGV’s own Blackstone LaunchPad. This center seeks to promote economic growth in the Rio Grande Valley by assisting regional entrepreneurs in the ideation, development, and acceleration of new business ventures and by developing the next generation of RGV entrepreneurs through experiential learning opportunities in new venture creation for students. Upcoming opportunities for students and local entrepreneurs include the Big Idea Competition Finale on Oct. 18, the Lunch & Learn Entrepreneur Speaker Series beginning Oct. 19 and continuing through the following three Thursdays, and the Business Plan Competition coming Spring 2024.  


Participants of the Market Lab within the UTRGV CIC engage in deep dives into market research, rigorous competitor analysis, and the crafting of robust business plans and financial strategies. The program also forges strategic partnerships with university professors, fostering immersive learning experiences that seamlessly integrate local businesses into the classroom setting. These collaborative efforts stimulate reciprocal learning and the practical application of business acumen as both entrepreneurs and students collaborate on the creation of marketing strategies, business plans, and the exploration of untapped market potentials.  


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.