Mission business named finalist in national competition

A Rio Grande Valley business was named as a finalist in the Stacy’s Rise Project, an initiative by the PepsiCo company aimed at helping women grow their businesses “at the same pace as their male counterparts.”

The Mission business, “Dip it by Pilar,” was one among of among hundreds of applicants from around the country and is now one of five finalists competing for the grand prize of $100,000 and mentoring from PepsiCo advisors, according to a news release.

The company is owned by Pilar Gonzalez and, as one of the finalists, she has already received $20,000 from Stacy’s Snacks — the PepsiCo brand that established the project — which will provide her with mentorship and brand visibility over the next three months.

At the conclusion of those three months, she and the other finalists will make a final pitch before a panel of judges at the PepsiCo headquarters which includes Padma Lakshmi, an executive producer for Top Chef.

“I’m so humbled to be considered one of the finalists along with four other amazing women whose work is nothing short of inspiring,” Gonzalez stated and emphasized how important outside support is to success.

“In my case, I’m lucky to count with the support of an entire community that has seen me grow as an entrepreneur since the moment I started this company,” she stated. “I can’t wait to share this success with everyone n Mission.”

Dip it by Pilar is a food manufacturing company that focuses on yogurt-based dips with a healthy twist, according to the release.

As part of the initial competition, Gonzalez and the other applicants were asked to submit a one-minute video and background information on the company’s history, according to a news release from PepsiCo which stated they were looking for female-founded businesses that sell food or beverage products and have an annual revenue of at least $25,000.

Gonzalez launched the company in after she won first place in the Ruby Red Ventures competition — held by the Mission Economic Development Corporation — in February 2014.

Later that year, Gonzalez came in second place in H-E-B’s Primo Picks competition which placed her products on the shelved of 250 H-E-B stores around the state.

“When Mission EDC launched Ruby Red Ventures, our goal was to invest in tenacious local entrepreneurs like Pilar,” Daniel Silva, CEO of the Mission EDC, stated in a news release. “We have always had high expectation for her and she has exceeded every time.”

Silva added that her recognition from PepsiCo was proof that the city of Mission needed to continue to support entrepreneurship.

“The Stacy’s Rise Project marks the beginning of a new chapter for Dip it by Pilar,” Silva said. “We are well on our way to having a major national brand located right here in our own community.”