The South Padre Island Economic Development Corporation now has an ally in the U.S. Small Business Administration Rio Grande Valley District Office.
The two groups earlier this month signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum to encourage entrepreneurship and “economic empowerment” on the Island by collaborating on entrepreneurial and financial education for local residents and small-business owners. Affixing their names to the document during the SPI EDC’s Jan. 17 board meeting were SBA District Director Angela Burton and EDC Executive Director Darla Lapeyre.
SBA’s Valley District Office is based in Harlingen and serves 14 South Texas counties including Cameron.
Burton described the memorandum as a working document that solidifies the relationship between the two entities. She acknowledged that the Island’s economy is cyclical, and that businesses sometimes don’t survive the off season. At the same time, things appear to be improving, Burton said.
“I’ve seen the Island just really pick up just in recent years,” she said. “Even during the slow period it seems more busy.”
SBA can still help in a number of ways, Burton said. One possibility is to host “lender panels” to teach business owners about opportunities for financing, she said. Business owners also need to have a handle on day-to-day financial assets versus liabilities — defined as “working capital” — in order to do well in business and, especially, make it through the lean months, Burton said.