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Featured, from left: Luis Martínez and Christopher Galicia with Bob’s Steak & Chop House in Edinburg join Juan Luis Mussenden, General Manager/Wine Director of Bob’s Steak & Chop House, as they perform some of their key administrative duties on Friday, May 19, 2017 at Grindstone Coworking, located at 506 W. University Drive. The multi-million dollar Bob’s Steak & Chop House is currently under construction at The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg.

Photograph By DANIEL RIVERA

Providing the resources needed by residents to successfully start and run a small business is one of the many services provided at no charge by the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. To that effect – both figuratively and literally – the Edinburg EDC and Grindstone Coworking of Edinburg have kicked off the second round of the Hive Effect, an entrepreneur development initiative aiming to help business from the Rio Grande Valley thrive. The Hive Effect is part of the Business Retention and Expansion Program of the Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. (http://edinburgedc.com/services-we-offer/) Applications are being accepted through June 1, 2017 that will offer 15 business owners the opportunity to grow their respective businesses through curriculum, coworking and mentorship. The application process is available online at: http://www.hiveeffect.com/apply. Coworking is generally defined as the use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge. Coworking, which is a cutting-edge approach for sole proprietors and small business owners, is one of the strategies being promoted by the Edinburg EDC to create more successful firms in the city. Even Harvard Business Review gives the concept two thumbs up in a September 2015 article titled “Why People Thrive in Coworking Spaces”.  (https://hbr.org/2015/05/why-people-thrive-in-coworking-spaces) “We’re proud of what we accomplished with Hive Effect since its launch last September 2106,” said Daniel Rivera, Director of Grindstone Coworking and Hive Effect. “Our coursework, mentorship and implementation of the coworking concept have helped 10 entrepreneurs achieve great things for their respective businesses and we’re looking forward to introducing a new set of members to our growing community.” Gus García, the Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC, is a leading champion for the Hive Effect. “Small businesses are a staple to helping our economy thrive and with Hive Effect we can help entrepreneurs not only be successful but also contribute to the local economy.” 

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Edinburg EDC, as part of its Business Retention and Expansion Program, and Grindstone Coworking launch application process, with deadline of June 1, 2017, for second round of innovative entrepreneurship development initiative known as the Hive Effect

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com 

Providing the resources needed by residents to successfully start and run a small business is one of the many services provided at no charge by the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

To that effect – both figuratively and literally – the Edinburg EDC and Grindstone Coworking of Edinburg have kicked off the second round of the Hive Effect, an entrepreneur development initiative aiming to help business from the Rio Grande Valley thrive.

The Hive Effect is part of the Business Retention and Expansion Program of the Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

(http://edinburgedc.com/services-we-offer/)

Applications are being accepted through June 1, 2017 that will offer 15 business owners the opportunity to grow their respective businesses through curriculum, coworking and mentorship.

The application process is available online at: http://www.hiveeffect.com/apply.

The Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, is led by a five-member Board of Directors which features Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.

Mayor Richard García and Gus García, who is the Executive Director of the Edinburg EDC, are not related.

Coworking is generally defined as the use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers, typically so as to share equipment, ideas, and knowledge.

Coworking, which is a cutting-edge approach for sole proprietors and small business owners, is one of the strategies being promoted by the Edinburg EDC to create more successful firms in the city. Harvard Business Review gives the concept two thumbs up in a September 2015 article titled “Why People Thrive in Coworking Spaces”.  (https://hbr.org/2015/05/why-people-thrive-in-coworking-spaces)

“We’re proud of what we accomplished with Hive Effect since its launch last September 2106,” said Daniel Rivera, Director of Grindstone Coworking and Hive Effect. “Our coursework, mentorship and implementation of the coworking concept have helped 10 entrepreneurs achieve great things for their respective businesses and we’re looking forward to introducing a new set of members to our growing community.”

Gus García, the Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC, is a leading champion for the Hive Effect.

“Small businesses are a staple to helping our economy thrive and with Hive Effect we can help entrepreneurs not only be successful but also contribute to the local economy,” Gus García said.

More information about Grindstone Coworking is available online at: http://thegrindstone.co

In just its first year as an Edinburg EDC project, the Hive Effect drew continued support on Tuesday, April 25, 2o17 from the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors, which unanimously voted to provide additional funding to Grindstone Coworking to help administer this second round of the Hive Effect.

During the late-April 2017 Edinburg EDC Board of Directors public  meeting, which was held at the Edinburg EDC administrative complex located at 101 N. 10th Avenue, Rivera and Gus García provided their updates and shared vision for the Hive Effect.

Highlights of their comments follow:

Daniel Rivera

When we first set out on this idea, which we now call the Hive Effect, Gus and I spoke about a concept known as “economic gardening”, and so it was not only to plant new plans, but to water the existing ones.

Over this past six to eight month span with Hive Effect, from just an idea and an office to implementing it, there have been a lot of positives coming out of it.

The first time we took 10 people to our first cohort, accepting applications through an online form. In conjunction with the Edinburg EDC and with Dr. John Sargent, a professor with the International Business and Entrepreneurship Department at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, we interviewed people, accepted 10, went through a cohort, and brought them in.

(A cohort is generally defined as any group of individuals with something in common.)

What they received was six months of coworking, mentorship aspects with different leaders within the city, who were available with office-hours scenario where they could speak to them about different things.

We also used these and other experts in their respective fields to teach classes as part of entrepreneurship development. The outcomes have been beyond my expectations. We have one company which is a start-up which transferred from Austin, and he has added two employees, and they have become members of Grindstone.

For my business alone, three people became members. For him, he has hired two part-time employees in Edinburg. He does business here, a lot of cool stuff with ed tech.

(Educational technology, often referred to as “EdTech” is the study and practice of designing effective instruction using technology, media, and learning theory.)

(https://www.marlboro.edu/academics/graduate/mat/what_is_teaching_with_technology)

Gus and I had the chance to see him at Capitol Factory in Austin (https://capitalfactory.com), and he participated in a big event over there. Other people who were freelancing online or little things here and there are now connected to a community of other entrepreneurs. There are different teams, companies forming, they are getting more local business and providing services to everyone in the community.

This just didn’t affect those 10 businesses within the cohort. When we have a class, we have it open to the public, so if you own a restaurant down the street, and we are teaching a social media class, the owner can come down, learn some new information, and implement it with their business.

(Among the presentations that have been held that features expertise advice for the community include the following topics: BBVA Compass Small Business Interactive Lunch & Learn; TechTuesday: Preparing the Community’s Workforce for the Future; Lunch & Learn | BBVA Compass Personal Finance Workshop; Real World Retirement Planning; Code RGV Academy & Social; Tech Tuesday- Webcast Like A Pro On An Amateur Budget; R. Armour Forse & Gregory E. Turley Book Signing; DIY Graphic Design for Small Businesses; and Better Photos 101.)

Gus García

Which was really the purpose that we wanted with this program when we teamed up with Grindstone for Hive Effect.

Daniel Rivera

So the impact is spreading beyond the walls of Grindstone.

In the short time span we have been operating, getting out our brand, I see a lot of people who know what we are doing. We have developed partnerships with the UTRGV Small Business Development Center.

(SBDC is a collaboration with the U.S. Small Business Administration, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and public and private partners throughout deep South Texas. SBDC provides a wide array of management and technical assistance to business owners and entrepreneurs to strengthen business performance and sustainability. Business advisement is conducted by professional advisors, who evaluate an existing business’s operations, or a startup company’s business plan with fresh, yet experienced eyes. UTRGV SBDC works closely with clients to develop business plans and loan proposals. Advisors guide start-up and existing business owners through the business plan process and assist them in compiling the necessary information and documents. Small Business Development Centers do not charge for consulting services and can meet with clients at the center or at the business site.)

Last week (Wednesday, April 20, 2017), we had a Plains Capital Bank  function where they donated 35 iPads for a classroom. Now, when we have classes, we can have surveys, we can implement classes on apps and different things like that.

(The word app is a noun, and it’s short for “application.”  Application in this case refers to a software application — in other words, an app is a software program. But an app is not just any old software program — it’s a special type of software program. An app typically refers to software used on a smartphone or mobile device such as the Android, iPhone, BlackBerry or iPad, as in “mobile app” or “iphone app.” – https://smallbiztrends.com/2011/03/what-is-an-app.html)

Now we have technology that is coming in. We also partnered with BBVA Compass. As the word spreads, we are gaining a lot of momentum. I feel if we expanded our cohorts to about 15 people, we can have a bigger impact than we created in the past eight months.

Gus García

Daniel, me and the Edinburg EDC staff sat down together to formulate a plan on how we can impact the entrepreneurial community in Edinburg. Many of you are aware of the different initiatives that other cities have taken – Mission is a good example.

Brownsville, McAllen, Pharr are all good examples.

But while those cities have spent significant amounts of money on their programs, Edinburg has spent, through Edinburg EDC, the first cohort of participants of $25,000 in their Business Retention and Expansion Program, which is a minimal sum considering other cities are spending $500,000 up to $5 million.

In speaking with some our counterparts within the Valley, I believe Grindstone and the Hive Effect have had the most impact in the area we wanted to do. We have had the opportunity to meet with the university. Dr. John Sargent has been a great conduit, he heads the entrepreneurship program at UTRGV.

We also met with the associate deans of all of the departments, went through the project, met with Dr. Mark Kroll, who is responsible for developing the UTRGV Center for Innovation and Commercialization in Weslaco, for which the university recently signed a 16,225-square-foot lease with the City of Weslaco and the Weslaco Economic Development Center. They are putting in, basically, a Hive Effect in Weslaco.

The Hive Effect in Edinburg is doing exactly that.

It is putting in an eco-system for entrepreneurs to go, learn, mentor, how to help create and develop their business. It has been a phenomenal success from the Edinburg EDC’s perspectives.

We have had the opportunity to meet some of our local entrepreneurs as in our community.

In fact, we have had entrepreneurs from other cities come to the Hive Effect, and we get to meet with them. Some of them are opening businesses in Edinburg, which is really what economic gardening is all about, and what the Edinburg EDC, as far as jobs-creation, is about.

(In general, economic gardening is an entrepreneurial approach to economic development that seeks to grow the local economy from within. Its premise is that local entrepreneurs create the companies that bring new wealth and economic growth to a region in the form of jobs, increased revenues, and a vibrant local business sector – http://icma.org/en/Article/100633/Seven_Steps_to_Developing_an_Economic_Gardening_Implementation_Strategy)

For $25,000, which was our first entry into this type of initiative, it was highly successful. So, as economic development director, I am recommending that we do an additional round of funding for The Hive Effect.

We had anticipated having the first cohort, we did $25,000, although we had budgeted $50,000. But first we wanted to see how well it did after the first round.  Since he (Rivera) wants to do 15, I recommend that we do $25,0000 plus an additional $12,500 to go for the second cohort of 15. The second cohort will be for six months.

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Sara Cantú contributed to this story. For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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