Mission’s inaugural Foodpreneur Food Fest showcases entrepreneurs

MISSION — The Mission Economic Development Corporation, the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce and the city of Mission hosted the inaugural Foodpreneur Food Fest on Thursday evening.

The event featured some of the local restaurants and establishments while helping raise money for the Mission Food Pantry.

Venders are shown interacting with community members at the first annual Foodpreneur Food Fest on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019 in Mission. Photo by Francisco E. Jimenez/ The Monitor

“It’s inspired by one of our local entrepreneurs, Pilar Gonzalez with Dip It. She’s on the rise. She’s booming, and she’s really helping kind of bring entrepreneurship for the city of Mission to the forefront,” C.J. Sanchez, vice president for the chamber, said. “This festival is to highlight (entrepreneurship) and kind of see how we can continue to grow that and bring it to the forefront in our city and our region.”

Entrance to the event, held at the Mission Event Center, was $20 per ticket and featured approximately 31 venders from Mission.

“Today’s ticket sales benefit the Mission Food Pantry. We’re raising money for a good cause and we’re keeping it all here in Mission, so we’re really excited about that,” Sanchez said.

Mission EDC CEO Daniel Silva explained that the EDC have put an emphasis on local entrepreneurship over the last nine years by focusing on small businesses and trying to help them start developing.

Pilar Gonzalez’s company, Dip It, which specializes in dips, is one of those companies that has grown and is finding success. Her company was chosen to be honored at the food festival Thursday.

“(Gonzalez) applied and got invited to the Stacy’s Rise Project by Pepsi Co.,” Silva said. “We want to show community support. We said, ‘Let’s feature entrepreneurs from throughout the area, anyone is welcome to come, anyone who makes something and wants people to try it out.’ That’s how this came about.”

Silva explained that for small businesses, there is a need for recognition and spreading awareness of what their product is. Gonzalez is an example of rising exposure throughout the Rio Grande Valley and the state of Texas.

Gonzalez has been in business with Dip It for three-and-a-half years, and her product can be found in over 200 H-E-B stores throughout the state.

“I feel so excited because this is the first time they’re doing this event, and I feel so humbled to be recognized at this event,” Gonzalez said. “One of the things that I’ve always said is that it takes a whole community to push up businesses in the city, and Mission has been great. They support lots of businesses, and I just feel so proud to be part of this community.”