Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center Continues Growing Local Establishments

By Michelle Villarreal Leschper, Savannah Spears | Published: May 17, 2019

Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center Continues Growing Local Establishments

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is not only dedicated to the success of the Islander community, but also the economic advancement of business in the Coastal Bend. Through the Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center (CBBIC), the Island University serves as a catalyst for innovative ideas and fosters economic growth by providing advice for the entrepreneurial process and supporting the creation of sustainable, successful Coastal Bend businesses at every level of development.

“The CBBIC, College of Business, and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi have thoroughly enjoyed the strategic collaboration with local businesses and will continue to assist them in achieving more success in the future,” said Russell Franques, Director of CBBIC.

The Innovation Center has seen substantial growth since first launching in 2009. As of February 2019, the center has had 183 clients with a cumulative grossed revenue of about $22.2 million. The 26 companies currently engaged as clients have access to many services such as contract consultation, general legal advice, logo and graphics design, benchmarking and milestone development, as well as assistance in locating and negotiating use of specialized equipment. CBBIC also offers these businesses office space and many shared administrative services at rates that are below market cost.

CBBIC is a U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center and also provides entrepreneurial services and cross-disciplinary academic programs in professional education. Its Business Incubation Program supports and accelerates the process of successful development or growth of companies by providing entrepreneurs with many valuable resources. The Innovation Center also offers professional continuing education, seminars, workshops, and connection with Island University faculty for its clients.

Ensemble Group, a website and software development company founded in 2002, has been working with CBBIC since 2009. After becoming a client in the Business Incubation Program, Ensemble Group received mentoring, guidance, coaching, and educational sessions to help it reach its fullest potential. With the Innovation Center’s assistance, Ensemble Group has been able to improve and market its software solutions. This includes GangScope, a gang intelligence database developed for the Corpus Christi Police Department in 2007 and is now being used in six states. The Ensemble Group also received acknowledgement for its achievements in the EDA March 2019 Newsletter

I-Create Rohal

“As a small business, every day is an uphill climb – some days are better than others – but it’s a constant battle with very little recognition,” said Gracie Martin, Ensemble Group founder and CEO. “We are pleased and honored to be recognized for that hard work. We know we are providing services and software that make a difference in communities and we take pride in helping organizations and police departments all over the country.”

After graduating from the Business Incubation Program, Ensemble Group was offered a position as a CBBIC anchor tenant because its services are consistent with the mission of the Innovation Center. As an anchor tenant, the group helps mentor CBBIC clients and offer services at preferential rates.

“This is just the type of success envisioned by the many groups and individuals that played a part in the founding of the Innovation Center,” Franques said. “It speaks to a great successful future.”

3D Dragon

CBBIC also provides services to GROW Local South Texas, a nonprofit organization that is the leader of the local food movement in the Coastal Bend. According to Aislynn Campbell, Executive Director of GROW Local South Texas, CBBIC has aided GROW Local in gaining more validity, creating a long-term business plan, and appraising the cost of maintenance. This relationship has also given GROW Local access to Islander students – who have built a member database – as well as the ability to meet with professors and connect with courses, which assisted the organization’s outreach and education initiatives by giving it a new platform. GROW Local has now developed a strong farmer’s market, garden, and education programs.

“The idea behind CBBIC isn’t just to create an infrastructure, but to maintain a business,” said Campbell, Islander alumna `03. “It’s really important for the success of our community to have the support of the Island University.”
For more information

To learn more about the Innovation Center and the services it offers, visit the CBBIC website.