MERIT PROJECT TO STRENGTHEN LOCAL BUSINESSES
The City of Mission and Mission Prosperity Ventures were recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration under the agency’s Economic Adjustment Assistance projects that help communities design and implement strategies to bring about change to their economy in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The EDA grant is matched by $25,000 in local investment from the City of Mission to fund the Mission Economic Resiliency, Innovation and Training (MERIT) Project, which is geared towards assisting existing businesses with recovery from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and improve resiliency to face future similar crises.
City of Mission Mayor, Dr. Armando O’Cana, said the grant award comes at an important time for Mission, because the pandemic has brought greater awareness about the need to build resiliency across all sectors of the community.
“We are grateful to the Economic Development Administration for selecting the MERIT Project for funding,” O’Cana said. “Our local businesses are the backbone of our economy. I have great hope this project will help them be better prepared for future similar crises that impact our community, continue growing, and become even more successful.”
The MERIT Project will provide technical support services that include a series of online or in-person seminars led by qualified consultants, and coaching services that will assist businesses in implementing changes to aid their recovery and build resiliency for future crises or emergency situations.
“EDA is proud to support the City of Mission with the MERIT program,” said Jorge Ayala, Director of EDA’s Austin Regional Office. “Once completed, this program will promote economic sustainability, expand job opportunities, and promote growth throughout the region. I congratulate you on your award and look forward to seeing the impact of the MERIT program.”
Project activities will be managed by the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) on behalf of co-applicant Mission Prosperity Ventures, the non-profit arm of the Chamber.
GMCC CEO and President Brenda Enriquez said that they are eager to bring this much-needed project to the community, including both Chamber and non-Chamber members.
“We are especially excited that it includes a partnership with the UTRGV Vackar College of Business and Entrepreneurship,” said Enriquez. “The MERIT Project will allow us to place students as interns with businesses and help them improve marketing, accounting, technology, or other aspects of their operations. It’s a win-win for our students and our businesses.”
The MERIT Project will kick off with recruitment of businesses from throughout Hidalgo County to participate in the first round of workshops focused on developing business recovery plans, innovating for alternate modes of service delivery, and use of social media for marketing. Participating businesses will then be eligible to receive coaching from qualified consultants and student interns to carry out defined projects. Three rounds of these services will be carried out over a 15-month period.
For more information about the MERIT Project, please contact Brenda Enriquez at firstname.lastname@example.org.