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Press Releases

Harlingen EDC and UTRGV launch RISE Up Harlingen Pitch Competition with $65K in grants for startups


HARLINGEN, TEXAS (June, 21 2024) — In collaboration with the Harlingen Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the UTRGV Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Center (ECC) is announcing the launch of the RISE Up Harlingen Pitch Competition, powered by Advance Up Accelerator. This competitive initiative aims to support early-stage startups and growing businesses by providing a platform to receive crucial assistance and showcase innovative ideas.

The Advance Up Accelerator, which powers the RISE UP program, launches on Monday, July 22, ending with the highly anticipated RISE Up Harlingen Pitch Competition scheduled for Thursday, October 3. Entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity to compete for significant grant awards through this competition. 

The prize amounts for the winners are $30,000 for first place, $20,000 for second place and $15,000 for third place. Participants must agree to establish or continue operating a business in Harlingen for the award. 

Linda Ufland, Director of Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Commercialization, expresses her enthusiasm for the initiative.

"We are incredibly excited to launch the RISE Up Harlingen Pitch Competition,” Ufland said. “This competition represents a significant step in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship within our community. We look forward to seeing the transformative ideas that our participants will bring to the table." 

Harlingen Mayor Norma Sepulveda echoed these sentiments.

"RISE Up Harlingen Pitch Competition: Revolutionizing Innovation, Startups, and Entrepreneurs, in partnership with UTRGV Entrepreneurial and Commercialization Center and Harlingen EDC,” Sepulveda said through the official City of Harlingen social media page. “Think of it as Harlingen's very own 'Shark Tank'!"

The RISE Up Harlingen Pitch Competition is not only an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs but also for potential sponsors.

We invite the community to join the center in support of this initiative and help make Harlingen a hub of innovation and prosperity.

Sponsorships will directly contribute to the growth and success of local startups and businesses, fostering a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The application deadline for the RISE Up Harlingen Pitch Competition is July 16. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to ensure they don't miss out on this opportunity.

Application is now open:

For more information about the RISE Up Harlingen Pitch Competition, and application inquiries, please reach out to the UTRGV ECC at or (956) 882-4119.