Experienced entrepreneurs and business professionals to judge student finalists and select winners for cash prizes

  Thursday, April 25, 2024
  Events and Exhibits, Around Campus

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – APRIL 25, 2024 – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is hosting its annual UTRGV Business Plan Competition on Friday, April 26 in Weslaco, offering a platform for students to turn their innovative ideas into tangible business ventures.

Organized by the UTRGV Center for Innovation & Commercialization, in collaboration with the Blackstone LaunchPad program, the competition is designed to inspire and incentivize students to explore their entrepreneurial potential. Through this event, participants are empowered to develop their innovative concepts into successful businesses, with guidance and support from industry experts.

All full-time UTRGV students are encouraged to apply, with winners selected by a panel of judges comprised of Rio Grande Valley business leaders and entrepreneurs.

With support from Blackstone LaunchPad and additional donors – Sam’s Club, The Katusak Family Foundation and Dr. Russell Adams, associate professor and chair of the international business and entrepreneurship department, and V.F. (Doc) and Gertrude Neuhaus Chair for Entrepreneurship – this year’s contest will offer substantial cash prizes to the top three winners:

  • 1st Place Winner: $10,000
  • 2nd Place Winner: $5,000
  • 3rd Place Winner: $3,000

The competition will take place at the UTRGV Center for Innovation & Commercialization, located at 307 E. Railroad in Weslaco. The student pitches will begin at 12:45 p.m.

For more information, contact Alan Goss at alan@bonhampr.com or call 512-944-5684.

About Blackstone Charitable Foundation

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation deploys its financial and human capital in support of programs that bridge opportunity gaps and support more equitable and thriving communities. Special emphasis is given to regions where we live and work.

About Blackstone LaunchPad Program

A signature program of the Blackstone Foundation, Blackstone LaunchPad works with colleges across the United States to help students launch successful careers through entrepreneurial skills-building programs and opportunities to intern at organizations in the Blackstone network, including Blackstone, its portfolio companies and select startups. Since 2010, Blackstone LaunchPad has supported students on more than 75 college and university campuses. In Texas, Blackstone recently reaching a milestone of $10 million in funding for the LaunchPad program. LaunchPad has supported students at 12 schools across Texas, including Texas A&M University, University of Texas at Austin, UT Dallas, UT San Antonio, UT Rio Grande Valley, and UT El Paso. Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) is the latest campus to join the program. With continued migration of Fortune 500 companies to Texas, initiatives like LaunchPad will help prepare Texas students to compete and thrive in a dynamic job market.


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.