Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: El Paso, TX

El Paso

El Paso aka “The Crossing” is quickly becoming one of the country’s new urban centers. Situated right on the United States-Mexico border, the city is over 75% Latino heritage. The petroleum, mining and defense industries boost the city’s economy and startup ecosystem.

El Paso, TX, located right on the Mexico-United States border, is the sixth-biggest city in the state. The city ranked 58th in WalletHub’s 2018 list of the best large cities to start a business and 19th in their 2018 list of the best cities for Hispanic entrepreneurs. Additionally, the El Paso metro area was ranked as the 74th-best for STEM professionals by WalletHub.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that makeup El Paso’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

This meetup group hosts events discussing investment as well as cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

The El Paso Texas Investors Network is a way for investors and real estate investors to meet one another and make valuable connections.

EPIC is a resource for real estate investors that holds regular networking and educational meetups.

The Hustle Show, a major business podcast and YouTube channel, hosts live recording sessions that double as networking events in El Paso.


Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

1 Million Cups hosts regular events in which entrepreneurs come and present their startups as well as meet one another and make connections.

Held annually by the University of Texas at El Paso, 3 Day Startup is a 72-hour workshop in which student and non-student teams learn to create and pitch startups.

The El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce holds a number of regular events, including the Annual Fiesta Celebration and awards ceremony.

Held in El Paso, TX, and Juarez, Mexico, RESET is a large binational event celebrating and supporting innovation and entrepreneurship.

Organized and hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, the Women in Business Conference is an annual celebration of women business owners and entrepreneurs.


Startup Competitions:

Hosted just across the state line at New Mexico State University, Aggie Shark Tank is a student entrepreneur competition based off the hit television show.

Another Shark Tank-style competition, Biz Tank is held annually at the Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Conference.

Held annually at the University of Texas El-Paso, the Pasa Del Norte Venture Competition gives out up too $10,000 in prizes.

During the RESET conference, investors will hear and consider pitches from entrepreneurs.


Co-working Spaces:

CoWork Oasis is a 4,500-square foot co-working space specifically designed to house and support technology entrepreneurs.

El Paso is home to three of Intelligent Office’s many nationwide locations, all of which offer flexible membership plans and a number of amenities.

With several membership plans, One : One is a co-working space that aims to support entrepreneurship and innovation in the area.

The Station offers a wide variety of membership plans, including traditional co-working as well as office space for teams of one or more.


Maker spaces:

In addition to offering access to tools and equipment, Fab Lab El Paso also offers workshops and other educational services.

The El Paso Public Library contains a small maker space open to everyone and hosts special programs to support and educate young people interested in STEM.

Housed at the UTEP College of Education, the UTEP Makerspace is a place for university students as well as both children and adults from the community at large to tinker and create.

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The Small Business Development Center works with people to help them launch and grow their small businesses and startups.

The Hub of Human Innovation is an organization dedicated to supporting small business and entrepreneurship through events, workshops, education, and incubation programs.

The Medical Center of the Americas is a biomedical incubator with the aim of developing and supporting an innovative life sciences ecosystem in the El Paso area.



Just across the New Mexico border is the International Business Accelerator, which supports startups from around the state looking to break into the global market.

In nearby Las Cruces, NM, New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center runs several accelerator programs to help support their students’ startups.

The Oasis Pre-Accelerator, hosted at the CoWork Oasis co-working space, is an accelerator program for early-stage startups that helps prepare them for later-stage accelerators.

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In addition to some classes and a program in Small Business Management, EPCC hosts a Small Business Development Center to support students and the community at large.

Across the state line in Las Cruces, NM, NMSU’s Arrowhead Center organizes a wide variety of resources supporting student entrepreneurship.

Between the Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce and the Center for Hispanic Entrepreneurship, UTEP provides its students with a number of entrepreneurial resources.


Angel Groups/VCs:

Located in Las Cruces, NM, the Arrowhead Innovation Fund is a venture capital firm that invests in technologies developed by innovators and entrepreneurs with connections to NMSU.

While neither an angel group or venture capital firm, LiftFund does offer loans to small businesses and startups in the El Paso area.

In 2016, the San Antonio-based venture firm Fountainhead Investment Partners opened an exploratory office in El Paso to search for investment opportunities in the area.

Saba Investments provides early-stage venture capital to tech startups in the region stretching from Albuquerque, NM down to El Paso and Ciudad-Juarez, Mexico.

While it is headquartered in Austin, TX, the UT Horizon Fund provides capital to startups affiliated with UT system schools, including the University of Texas at El Paso.


Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

El Paso Inc., which covers news in the El Paso area, offers a weekly newsletter with its biggest headlines, but not one solely focused on business or entrepreneurship.

The Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce offers a newsletter keeping subscribers up-to-date on events and other information regarding the chamber.

The Texas Squared Startup Newsletter covers startup and technology news from around the state of Texas.


Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in El Paso not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment, and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

Oklahoma City, OK, Phoenix, AZ, San Jose, CA

Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at FundingSage where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.