Small Businesses Benefit from ‘Giant’ Partnership Between Island University and Cheniere Energy

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Thanks to a continued partnership between Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) and Cheniere Energy (Cheniere), five local small businesses were awarded grant funding to further support their growth, increased productivity, and/or improved access to markets. The funding was awarded this spring as a result of the “Doing Business with Giants” program, a partnership between Cheniere and the TAMU-CC Coastal Bend Business Innovation Center (CBBIC). Following this year’s success, Cheniere announced a $75,000 contribution to fund the next series of the Doing Business with Giants program starting in fall 2023.

In fall 2022, each of the small business owners successfully participated in the program designed to assist innovative, local entrepreneurs in developing business models that align with and fulfill industry supply-chain needs through a series of six free workshops. Topics ranged from risk management, crafting the perfect pitch, and legal structures of business entities. The program targeted small business owners in the industries of catering services, events organization and rentals, printing/advertisement services, consultancy/training, janitorial services, safety services, pest control services, landscaping, and small-scale fabrication.

At the end of the series, each business then had the opportunity to earn a grant of up to $20,000 through a competitive grant application process sponsored by Cheniere. To qualify to compete for grant funding, participants had to attend all six workshop sessions, as well as complete a business plan demonstrating capacity to be able to engage with industry.

Of the 34 grant applicants that successfully completed the program, five applicants were awarded grant funds. Those companies included:

  • Alpha & Omega Cleaning – $7,500 grant
  • Beauty & the Bistro – $20,000 grant
  • Clean and Bright Cleaning – $20,000 grant
  • G & G Pest Control – $20,000 grant
  • Tri-County Medical Emergency Services – $20,000 grant

“The small business owners and operators who spent their time and committed to participating in the workshops are tremendous examples of the entrepreneurial spirit that makes the Coastal Bend region of Texas resilient, resolute, and prosperous,” said Dr. Kent Byus, TAMU-CC Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship. “The money that will be granted to some will change lives and indeed will help them to achieve good things. They deserve every bit of our admiration. I am proud to have helped in that endeavor.”

Married couple Cedric and Alisha Sanders, owners of Clean and Bright Cleaning, said the grant will not only help them grow their family business but will also assist in networking and supporting other businesses throughout the community.

“This program has created a lot of opportunities; we came to every meeting and we were consistent. We made sure that even if we weren’t selected for the grant we still took something away that would help us in the long run,” Cedric Sanders said. “This program gave us an opportunity to network with other companies that we could possibly take on as contractors and partners. Utilizing this local network of businesses truly helped us grow.”

Michelle Roddel, owner and operator of Beauty and the Bistro Catering, said she will use the grant funding to expand her catering business through a kitchen-sharing program. Roddel, who has been in business for more than 20 years, said the kitchen-sharing program will help her support aspiring bakers and chefs in the Coastal Bend community.

“There are so many bakers and chefs who’ve begun their own businesses but have already outgrown their current workspace,” Roddel said. “This presents a challenge for them to grow and be profitable. Through the use of these new funds, we will offer the rental of our commercial kitchen to those who aren’t quite ready for a brick-and-mortar situation while also making a profit for our business.”

Colette Walls, Public Affairs Manager at Cheniere Energy, said the biggest reward for the “business giant” is to see their support turned into business dreams come true.

“We want to congratulate the grant recipients and look forward to seeing their businesses grow,” Wall said. “They’ve all invested time and work into growing their knowledge and improving their business for the road ahead. We’re happy to support those efforts and look forward to doing it again.”

For more information about Doing Business with Giants, visit