December 6, 2023


Supportive Business Potential

MileOne event celebrates economic Development Week, small businesses

MileOne event celebrates economic Development Week, small businesses

Economic Development Week was held in the Gateway City this past week as one of the business hubs of the community celebrated the occasion with a series of panels on the importance of how local resources can be used for people to start their own business.

MileOne celebrated the Women’s Entrepreneurs Rock Series 2022 event “Acess to Capital” on Wednesday and hosted other panels and even an awards show for those in attendance.

During the event, MileOne hosted various panels from the University of Texas San Antonio, the Minority Business Development Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration and PeopleFund, and sponsorship by PNC Bank in efforts to inform attendees about the different ways in which potential entrepreneurs can get funds for their projects and business ideas. 

“This week we are celebrating Economic Development Week with a series of events with the Laredo Economic Development Corporation, MileOne and economic development leaders from the community who have gotten together and teamed up to host several events,” said Cesar G. Hernandez, program director for MileOne IBAC. 

“(Wednesday’s) event in particular was the Small Business and Entrepreneur Forum, Women Entrepreneurs Rock and access to capital seminar. They provided different information on to the access to capital, such as the different types of loans available for small businesses and entrepreneurs, and the process, and they opened (it up) to ask questions to the panel so that people can better understand what type of loans are out there in the community for small businesses.”

Hernandez states that turnout was great, as about 50 people attended Wednesday’s events. Many of these individuals asked important questions to financial experts available at the various panels who provided important insight. 

“It was a very great event, well attended. LEDC members were very supportive,” Hernandez said. 

During the event, several local small business owners were also awarded recognitions for their work in the field of entrepreneurship by MileOne. 

The Small Business of the Year award went to Gabriela de Hoyos, who is the owner of the De Hoyos Signs. The Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Edgar Escamilla, the owner of YouFirst Advisors STX. The Motivator of the Year award went to Amber Davis-Hinojosa, the owner of Admissions Management. 

“Their commitment, their passion and the drive they have for the business — they have all been members of MileOne for years now and have shown exemplary efforts in trying to drive their business and sustain their business,” Hernandez said. “Ms. Hoyos from De Hoyos Signs recently graduated from the launchpad program. Mr. Escamilla went from a one-man team to now having 17 members under him and also satellite officers in The Valley. And Ms. Amber Davis has started her business at MileOne. She opened her doors at MileOne and is now doing great on her own. All have shown resiliency, efforts and just really drive.”

Hernandez also touched a bit on the topic of the upcoming departure of Laredo’s first-ever economic development director in Teclo Garcia. He will be leaving to work for a nonprofit organization. 

“He is a very important piece of the puzzle,” Hernandez said. “Obviously the City of Laredo provides a lot of incentives to small businesses and investors coming into Laredo and the community to open up a business or start a business here in Laredo. We took a blow with Mr. Garcia leaving his position, but I will tell you that the rest of the economic development leaders such as LEDC, TAMIU, LC, MileOne and everybody else that we work with in Webb County are definitely going to pick up the slack until the city fills that position. It is sad to see him leave, but we wish him all the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

Hernandez states that people should go and visit MileOne to see what local resources are there for people to start a business and how they can find the resources to make it successful. 

“MileOne has really changed the landscape of how to start a business here in the Laredo community,” Hernandez said. “There is still the traditional way, which is the way most people will take the route. However, MileOne gives the opportunity for entrepreneurs at the idea level to open up a business.

“So if anybody is interested in becoming an entrepreneur and opening a small business, reach out to MileOne and to give us an opportunity to be able to help them and guide them through the process, as we have several resources and partnerships throughout the community and South Texas that will help us in guiding these individuals to a successful launch and hopefully a longstanding business.”