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Success Stories

Vietnam Era Veteran Silvestre Aguilar Trevino, Jr. is the inventor of Ready Tee, an innovative, golf accessory! The pioneering tee carrying-clip is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket and is made of lightweight polypropylene, originally designed to hold three golf tees and, can double as a personalized, marketing product for companies.

It all began with a recurring problem faced by Trevino. Frustrated by the holes in his trouser pockets caused by carrying sharp, golf tees and the constant heckling about his torn pants from his golf friends, he decided to invent a solution to his problem. He soon created the Ready Tee! Not only did it solve his original issues, it also minimized the time lost looking for an extra tee in the tee box or running to the golf cart to grab another tee.

Silvestre Trevino, Jr. contacted the UTRGV Small Business Development Center (UTRGV SBDC) in 2014, to begin the process of commercializing his golf-tee accessory.  With guidance from UTRGV... Read More


Nine years after graduating from the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and earning her license to practice in the State of Texas, Sandra Cortes approached the Sul Ross State University-

Rio Grande College SBDC with one goal in mind. After working for a local law firm and gaining a vast amount of experience, the ambitious 33-year-old felt ready to open her own law firm in Eagle Pass, Texas.


Business Advisor Cynthia Gomez worked with Cortes to provide information on the appropriate legal structure, pre-venture licenses, and local permits associated with establishing an independent law firm. Gomez also guided Cortes in obtaining a commercial loan to support start up costs for her practice. In addition, Gomez assisted Cortes with human resources hiring policies and documents, including QuickBooks and Payroll services. To date, Gomez continues to assist in the areas of human resources, recordkeeping, and report... Read More

Samuel Maldonado left and Saul Maldonado right at Chase Tower in McAllen, Texas

Brothers Samuel and Saul Maldonado founded SAM Engineering & Surveying (SAMES) Inc. in June 2008 with only three employees and yearly sales of $400,000.  Today, the firm has grown to 55 employees with sales in excess of $4 million.  The brothers attribute part of their success with assistance provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Starting initially as engineering and surveying firm, SAMES added general construction management services in 2010.  

“Early on, from a growth and expansion perspective, we felt that construction would bring in higher revenues as well as an opportunity to compete and be involved in bigger projects,” Samuel (Sam) Maldonado said.

The Maldonados soon discovered another essential strategy for growth when they learned about SBA’s 8(a) Business Development and the Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) programs.

The SBA 8(a) Program helps socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs gain a... Read More

Picture of Owner, Marlen Saenz

When Marlen Saenz began selling picture frames at a local flea market 12 years ago, she never dreamed her little business would grow to where it is now especially after receiving a SBA 504 Real Estate & Equipment Loan for $1.3 million dollars.

Marlen explains how a divorced gentleman enjoyed her frames and needed to add a feminine touch to his house.   The gentleman enthusiastically asked her if she’d be willing to decorate his home, and the rest is history. Guests at his housewarming party for Thanksgiving soon asked for her services and from there she started decorating schools, hospitals, attorney’s offices and the courthouse in the small rural town of Rio Grande City. She does not charge her customers for this service as long as the furniture and accessories are purchased from her store.

After two years at the flea market, she leased a location in Rio Grande City, Texas for two years before finding her current location that she owner financed and has been at... Read More