Island University Experts Assist Rockport-Fulton in Exploring Economic Development Opportunities

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Researchers from the College of Business at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi joined other experts last month in assessing economic development possibilities for the community of Rockport-Fulton.

Rockport-Fulton has a rich history of supporting local businesses, a thriving arts community, and diverse marine-based economy. With the recent creation of the Economic Development Corporation, Rockport-Fulton is taking steps to provide a future vision for the economy.

To better serve the goals and aspirations of the small business community, Rockport-Fulton participated in the Communities as Startups program. The Feb. 17-19 program identified economic development strategies based on the community’s assets, values, and identity.

Participating from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi were Dr. Kent Byus, Professor and Director of Entrepreneurship Education in the College of Business, and Russell Franques, director of A&M-Corpus Christi’s Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center (CBBIC).

“The Center is very pleased with the outcome of the program and feels it will add considerable depth to the ongoing work and collaboration with Rockport-Fulton for years to come,” Franques said. “Assisting the community in thinking about all facets of its future in an entrepreneurial fashion will help the community to be more agile, opportunity obsessed, and more able to drive economic development particularly in the small business arena.”

Communities as Startups is a three-way partnership being spearheaded by Diane Probst, CEO of the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, CBBIC, and the IC2 Institute at the University of Texas. The partnership, which explores economic resilience in the Coastal Bend region, is made possible in part by the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“We are grateful for the talents and assistance from the IC2 Institute and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center,” said Diane Probst, President/CEO of the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce. “The information gathered will be helpful as we identify our next steps in economic recovery. It doesn’t happen overnight but it is best to study, plan and set goals to get you there. We are extremely privileged to have their help and support in this process.”

Over the three days, Byus and Franques were joined by researchers Dr. Greg Pogue, Dr. James Jarret, and Jonathan Alba from the IC2 Institute. They explored the community, conducted interviews, and hosted workshops.

This marks Pogue’s third visit to Aransas County.

“The IC2 Institute is excited to return to this wonderful community in order to contribute to the region’s future through our research endeavors,” Pogue said. “We have a long history of supporting the development of regional economic development strategies.”

CBBIC, in the College of Business at TAMU-CC, provides small businesses in the 11 counties of the Coastal Bend region with a range of business incubation, acceleration, consultation, and networking resources that enable and enhance the sustainability of a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The IC2 Institute was established at The University of Texas at Austin in 1977, as a think-and-do tank to explore the broad economic, technological, and human factors that drive economic development in regions. The IC2 Institute focuses on innovation and entrepreneurship in rural areas and small cities and creates programs to have a positive impact on the world.