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Where entrepreneur and employment meet

photo of Maria Gonzalez

Maria D. Gonzalez understands the importance of entrepreneurs to economic development and creating jobs in rural communities. This led her to create and coordinate an entrepreneurs’ summit held in Lampasas.


Gonzalez, pictured, is a TVC Rural Veteran Career Advisor and Army veteran. As such, her goals include working with, and creating success for both employers and veterans seeking employment. To produce the entrepreneur summit, she worked with Anna Barge, Special Projects Coordinator with the Central Texas Council of Governments. “We saw a need to assist the rural community with entrepreneurial services as a way to create more jobs and to help build the economic future of the Lampasas community,” said Gonzalez.

Their efforts resulted in the first Central Texas Entrepreneurial Summit in Lampasas on January 30, 2024.

“This is really a cool deal,” said Lampasas Mayor Herb Pearce who is also president of BHR Timber Products in Lampasas. Pearce opened the summit with that welcome and relating his start  of going into business for himself in college with a campus laundry and an auto battery business. “Nobody told me what I needed to be doing. That’s what is so cool about this. If I were to be in a forum like this, I might still be in the battery business and the laundry business, and it would have been good.”

photo of audience at summit

The event featured multiple panels on topics including Best Practices for a Business Plan and Financing, Tax, and Legal Resources. Panels consisted of high-level community members such as bankers and local business owners. Among panel moderators was Gonzalez. Take in the full event, watch Entrepreneurial Summit.

A featured presentation at the event was from TVC Entrepreneur Program Business Consultant and veteran Greg Shigemasa. He gave an overview of how TVC assists veterans with starting and developing their own businesses. Afterwards he answered questions from the attendees and spoke with them further about TVC’s Entrepreneur Program.

A community resources fair was available after the panel discussions. It connected area services available to attendees.

photo of booths and people at resource fair

The Central Texas Entrepreneurial Summit attracted 40 community members consisting of veterans, military spouses, active-duty service members and civilians. Gonzalez said several attendees noted they “wished they had the information provided at the summit before they started their own businesses,” were very thankful for the event and left with valuable information and resources.

Veterans around Texas who own business or want to start one can connect with the TVC Entrepreneur team to help develop their businesses.

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