Urban Farming Initiative Launches Kickstarter Campaign

At the Innovation Underground, we are always working on projects to support communities as they seek to grow vibrant economies. The Distributed Urban Farming initiative, better know around here as DUFi, is one of those projects. DUFi uses local, urban farming to encourage healthy communities. Over the last several months our project team has been researching best practices, building test planting beds and building the relationships that will be critical to sustaining DUFi over the long term.

After a great deal of work by our interns and volunteers, the DUFi pilot garden is open and the team launched a campaign on Kickstarter to generate the financial support we need to take DUFi to the next level. We plan to:

– build additional food plots around downtown Bryan

– share best practices and demonstration projects with the community

– grow food and provide it to local restaurants so we can eat healthy food grown right here in Bryan

– share our enthusiasm for great, fresh food with kids and adults

– bring other communities to Bryan to learn how they can start their own DUFi

To learn more and support DUFi, visit our Kickstarter page and be part of the movement for good food, good health and good growth!

Visit our DUFi project website to see more project pictures and learn more.

Imani M.O.V.E. Comes to First Friday in Historic Downtown Bryan

Imani Tumani Upendo, Inc. will hold its second annual M.O.V.E. event in coordination with First Friday in Historic Downtown Bryan this Friday October 5th. The M.O.V.E. event will feature Jimmy Needham and offer a motivating message encouraging all to use their voice for the Lord.

The M.O.V.E. message encourages participants to MOTIVATE others, seek OPPORTUNITY for change, use your VOICE for the Lord and EXPERIENCE God’s grace. The show will also feature inspiring stories of Imani’s mission work in Africa.

The event will take place at the Palace Theater with doors opening at 7PM. Event tickets are available for purchase online at Eventbright. Tickets are $8 online and $10 at the door.

Imani-Tumani-Upendo is a start-up non-profit  that serves mission organizations in Africa. By complimenting existing organizations, Imani helps families develop a better future and defeat poverty. Imani is located at the Innovation Underground, a private business incubator owned by Advent GX and located in historic downtown Bryan, TX. Imani-Tumani-Upendo means Faith-Hope-Love.


The Innovation Underground Welcomes TripleSTAT

The next generation medical alert bracelet is now under development at the Innovation Underground. TripleSTAT, the newest member of the Innovation Underground network, is working to develop a consumer product that is more usable for EMS personnel, nurses, and doctors.
TripleSTAT is designing data sharing systems that will ease access to lifesaving information in the event the wearer of the bracelet is unable to communicate to medical providers.Founders Anthony Cumbie and Rebecca Gerren are paramedics and are developing the product based on insights gained through years of service in emergency medicine. Product development and testing is underway so be on the lookout for prototype bracelets coming soon.
Visit www.triplestat.com to learn more or email contact@triplestat.com.

Innovation Underground Featured at Texas Travel Summit

Advent GX Managing Partner Joan Quintana is presenting the Innovation Underground story to Texas tourism professionals this week.  In her presentation titled “Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Support of Heritage Preservation” Joan will talk about how Advent GX is combining small business development with heritage preservation and cultural and performing arts to spur economic and tourism development in historic downtown Bryan. The IU is being featured during TTIA’s Innovation Showcase along with SeaWorld’s water conservation programs and USDM’s leadership innovation.

Joan will share the approach and outcomes of the IU’s first year and provide a written case study for those interested in learning more.

Recital Launches Arts & Innovation Series at the IU

Advent GX launched its Arts and Innovation series of gatherings with a house recital by Concert Pianist Roberto Hidalgo. More than 50 friends of Advent GX, the Innovation Underground (IU) and Downtown Bryan enjoyed an afternoon of piano and networking followed by a reception with wine and refreshments.

The intimate event was held in the IU Parlor on the main floor of the Federal Building in Historic Downtown Bryan. Roberto Hidalgo introduce each selection, providing insight into the connections between the featured composers. Roberto Hidalgo is known for programs that combine Latin American works with those from traditional western repertoire. During the IU event, he performed a selection of works by Leo Smit, Manuel M. Ponce, Leonard Bernstein,Carlos Chavez, Mario Lavista and Aaron Copland.

Roberto has participated at festivals such as Foro de Compositores del Caribe in Medellín, Colombia; Festival Cervantino in Guanajuato; Foro Internacional de Música Nueva “Manuel Enríquez”, in Mexico City; Festival Internacional de Interpretación, in Gerona, Spain, the Chappaquiddick Summer Music Festival and the Festival-Institute at Round Top,Texas.

His appearances include the Bing Auditorium at the LA County Museum Los Angeles; Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, Bruno Walter Auditorium and Merkin Hall in New York City; Palacio de Bellas Artes, Sala Blas Galindo, Sala Nezahualcoyotl, Sala Carlos Chávez in Mexico City.

He holds degrees from Mannes (BM and MM) and The Manhattan School of Music (DMA) where he studied with Nina Svetlanova.

He has participated at festivals such as Foro de Compositores del Caribe in Medellín, Colombia; Festival Cervantino in Guanajuato; Foro Internacional de Música Nueva “Manuel Enríquez”, in Mexico City; Festival Internacional de Interpretación, in Gerona, Spain, the Chappaquiddick Summer Music Festival and the Festival-Institute at Round Top,Texas.

His appearances include the Bing Auditorium at the LA County Museum Los Angeles; Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, Bruno Walter Auditorium and Merkin Hall in New York City; Palacio de Bellas Artes, Sala Blas Galindo, Sala Nezahualcoyotl, Sala Carlos Chávez in Mexico City.

With pianist Marc Peloquin, he has given succesful two-piano concerts hailed for their innovative programs. A First Prize winner of the Artist International Competition, he has received support from The Magowan Family Foundation and the Faculty Resource Grant from the Bloomingdale School of Music where he is a member of the faculty.

He holds degrees from Mannes (BM and MM) and The Manhattan School of Music (DMA) where he studied with Nina Svetlanova.

New Home and Community Services Provider Ready to Meet Regional Needs

Beautiful Abilities recently received Texas Home and Community Services (HCS), and Texas Home Living contracts for Central Texas. That means founder Phil Haas is now able to realize his dream of providing services and meaningful opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Phil is not new to HCS. He has been serving individuals with intellectual disabilities for more than 25 years. Phil helped major providers develop innovative programs and operations that enhanced the quality of care while maximizing the bottom line. He has served as the President of the Private Provider Association of Texas and as a State Representative for ANCOR, the national provider association. In short, Phil understands the business and he’s passionate about serving.

That’s why we’re so pleased to have Beautiful Abilities as a member of the Innovation Underground. Phil is working to develop innovative approaches to community based care. He’s developing partnerships and programs that will provide for meaningful day programming and unique home living services. And he’s doing all of it with a focus on financial sustainability.

As the name implies, Beautiful Abilities is focused on celebrating and maximizing the abilities of each individual served. The company will actively seek employment opportunities for those who want to work in their communities. They are also building entrepreneurial enterprises that will both focus on work best suited to their clients and add sustainability to the services.

In some senses, Beautiful Abilities is a start-up of start-up micro enterprises. Agriculture production, food services, hospitality and other businesses can offer ideal settings and meaningful work for adults with intellectual disabilities. So, in addition to providing quality home services, Beautiful Abilities is working to create community opportunities right here in central Texas. To learn more, visit Beautiful Abilities online.

Downtown Bryan Joins Growing List of Film Festivals in Texas

Film makers and fans gathered at the Innovation Underground this weekend to celebrate the newest addition to the growing list of film festivals in Texas. The inaugural Downtown Bryan Film Festival was produced by recent A&M Consolidated High School (AMCHS) alumni. The event featured the work of recent high school and university graduates.

Class of 2012 alumni Kent Juliff and Madeline Packard created the Downtown Bryan Film Festival, a new annual summer film event. They hope to showcase short-films by AMCHS audio video production alumni as they continue to advance in their careers. While film festivals in Texas are not uncommon, the students believe focusing on hometown filmmakers and those early in their careers will add to the growing film and arts activity in downtown Bryan.

Mustachio by Stephen Gamache was among the films featured at the festival.

This year the festival showcased 10 short films by alumni who have studied, or plan to study, film production at universities across the country. Founders hope to expand on the program next year and engage even more local film makers.

Downtown Bryan Film Festival is not the first film festival in the area. Red Wasp will celebrate its 10th year this October, making it among the longer standing events on the Governor’s list of more than 50 film festivals in Texas. Festivals and events are powerful tools for community and economic development. Film festivals in particular represent a great opportunity as they serve to bolster the states growing film industry, generating high quality jobs and economic activity associated with film production as well as subsequent tourism opportunities.

To learn more about film making in Texas, visit the Texas Film Commission web site.

The festival was sponsored by Advent GX, Buffalo Wild Wings, Copy Corner and Downtown Bryan Association. To learn more, visit the festival web site.

New Imani Video Gets to the Heart of the Mission

Faith-Hope-Love. That’s the meaning of the name Imani-Tumani-Upendo, the only non-profit member of the Innovation Underground here in Bryan, Texas. This is only the second summer Imani has coordinated mission teams serving organizations working on the ground in Africa, but the company has already expanded from one team in 2011 to four teams this year. Next year, Imani expects to send nine teams to Africa.

Jenny Jenkins (r) and Rachel Driskell (l) are the founders of Imani-Tumani-Upendo

Imani founders Jenny Jenkins and Rachel Driskell are especially proud that they are able to offer internships for credit to Texas A&M University students serving on the mission teams.

Imani trains team leaders and prepares participants for the summer in training sessions in downtown Bryan before they set out to Africa. Imani’s new video produced while on the ground in Jinja, Uganda provides insight into the impact these teams are having, and just as important, the impact the mission is having on each team member.

So far, Imani supports three mission organizations, including:

Real4Christ operating in Mombasa, Kenya

Healing Faith, Jinja, Uganda

The Cries of a Child, Burundi, Africa

Jenny and Rachel hope to expand by reaching out to additional mission organizations operating in Africa and enhancing their operations to provide support to more individuals and even organization seeking mission opportunities abroad.

Rachel in the mission field.

Watch the Imani video to learn more, and visit their website to get the full story about this rapidly growing start-up.

Meetings Uncover Programs to Support Entrepreneurs and Communities

This week, Advent GX leadership traveled to Austin to meet with government agencies and hosted distinguished guests here at the Innovation Underground, all with the aim of learning about programs available to support entrepreneurs and rural communities. We’re learning a lot. In meetings with the Economic Development Administration, Texas Department of Agriculture and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) we were met with overwhelming enthusiasm. All three agencies were eager to learn more about the Innovation Underground and the businesses our members are getting started in Bryan.

We learned about a wide variety of low interest loan programs for rural entrepreneurs through the USDA. State Director Paco Valentin toured the IU along with Daniel Torres, USDA business and cooperative programs director. The two provided insight into the wide ranging programs aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship and healthy communities.

Similarly, during meetings with Texas Department of Agriculture, we learned about a number of programs targeting communities and young farmers, all with the goal of economic development and job creation.

The insight gained will help us continue to serve our member companies and client communities as they do the hard work to grow and prosper.

Advent GX Launches Donna, TX Economic Development Initiative

Today marks the official start of a new Advent GX project with Donna, TX Economic Development Corporation (EDC). Donna (cityofdonna.org) is a community of nearly 16,000 located in Southeast Hidalgo County and home to a new international port of entry. The community is eager to increase bridge crossings and expand economic activity.

We will use our Advent GX Strategy Deployment (ASD) process to engage community stakeholders and form an economic development strategy that takes advantage of the community’s assets. Among these are a rich heritage, abundant agricultural operations and location along a primary North American trade corridor. In addition, Advent GX will begin immediately to evaluate best developmental opportunities for Donna and begin pursuing those.

The AdventGX team for the Donna project includes former Hidalgo County Judge and new Advent GX Managing Partner JD Salinas III, AdventGX President Jose Quintana and Joan Quintana, AdventGX Managing Partner. In addition, subject matter experts in the fields of development, international trade, manufacturing, nature tourism and heritage tourism will serve the project.