New Riverboat Tour coming to Waco

SBDC client Ryan Helm has been working with the SBDC since Fall of 2015 to fulfill his dream of bringing a Tour Boat to Waco.  He worked with the SBDC to navigate the process of owning and operating his own business. He was able to secure local financing thru American Bank to bring his custom made tour boat to the Brazos.   


Nestor Montoya: A first of its kind river boat tour will become Waco's newest attraction.(Photo by Nestor Montoya)

For more than a year and a half Ryan Helm has worked to bring the Waco River Safari to life.

"With all the tourism and everyone coming to Waco, there's really no access to the Brazos. So having a tour boat, and having other things to do in Waco just gives more potential to the city," said Helm.

Boat tours will depart from the Baylor Marina seven days a week giving residents and visitors to Waco a unique view of the city.

"We're going to go down the Brazos, and look at the Suspension Bridge, the Alico building, Lover's Leap and you're going to see it in a different way," said Helm.

Up to 24 passengers can board the 30 foot long, 10 foot wide pontoon boat.

The BYOB two and a half hour expedition also tours part of the Bosque River.

"It's really beautiful. I think most people don't get to see it. If you don't have a boat you can't see the river," said Helm.

Helm said he hopes to officially open to the public in early May.

Pricing information and tour times have not been released.

For More information see the link here:

State of Texas Recognizes America's SBDC Day at Capital

The Texas Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network is comprised of 44 Centers throughout the state, which served over 63,000 businesses in 2016.  You can read the article in it's entirity here:

(Austin, March 22, 2017) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation observing the first national America’s SBDC Day at the Texas Capitol in Austin on Wednesday. America’s Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) include locations across every state in the country that provide local businesses and entrepreneurs with resources to start and grow small businesses. The Texas Senate and House of Representatives also read resolutions to recognize the Texas SBDC Network, which has been strengthening Texas economy for over 30 years. On March 22, 1977, the Small Business Development Center Act was introduced in the United State Senate. This led to the creation of an educational infrastructure of approximately 1,000 service centers and over 5,000 professional business advisors who provide personalized confidential management and technical assistance to over one million Americans nationally each year. SBDC Day is a national, collective proclamation of the success and impact America’s SBDCs have across the country in economic development and the small business community. America’s SBDCs create a new job every five minutes, start a new business every 30 minutes, and generate $100,000 in new sales every 7.5 minutes. Representatives from the Texas SBDC Network and UTSA’s Small Business Development Centers were present for the reading of the proclamation and resolutions. This national recognition is part of a continued effort from America’s SBDCs to raise awareness about the presence and significance of its services to growing communities across the U.S. In 2016, the Texas SBDC Network served more than 63,000 businesses, created 14,692 jobs and generated $152 million in incremental state and federal tax revenue due to growth. The San Antonio SBDC served more than 8,000 business in the city alone. “Texas SBDCs grow the Texas economy one business at a time. The South-West Texas Border SBDC Network and its affiliate SBDC host institutions thank our business and community clients, economic development allies and team members who enrich the Texas economy through their work. We also thank Governor Abbott and the State of Texas for recognizing statewide SBDC impact,” said SWTXB SBDC Network executive director, Al Salgado.

Find local SBDCs in Texas at:

About the UTSA Institute for Economic Development The UTSA Institute for Economic Development is dedicated to growing businesses, creating jobs and fostering economic development. Focused on building the economy one business at a time, the Institute consists of 10 centers and programs that provide professional business advising, technical training, research and strategic planning for entrepreneurs, business owners and community leaders. These programs serve Greater San Antonio, the Texas-Mexico border area as well as regional, national and international stakeholders. Together with the federal, state and local governments, and private businesses, the UTSA Institute for Economic Development fosters economic and community development in support of UTSA’s community engagement mission. In 2016, the Institute generated direct regional economic impact of 7,517 jobs, started 591 new businesses, $447 million in new financing, $78 million in new tax revenue and exceeded $1.4 billion in new sales, exports and contracts. For more information, visit 

About the UTSA South-West Texas Border (SWTXB) SBDC Network The South-West Texas Border SBDC Network stretches for 79 counties across south, central, west and Gulf Coast Texas. This vast and diverse territory encompasses 108,000 square miles including our state’s capitol. To meet the challenge of providing services to aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs, the Network operates 10 professional staffed SBDC centers. The SBDC is funded in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), The University of Texas at San Antonio, as well as colleges and universities throughout the Network’s territory. The 29,751 advising and training clients served in 2016 represent almost 20 percent of the 148,784 employer businesses in the service area. SWTXB SBDC Network clients continue to outperform the average Texas business in sales and employment. Those clients, who represent the Network’s long-term impact, also generated more than $62 million in state tax revenues for Texas.

For more information, contact Jennilee Garza, Senior Communications Coordinator Institute for Economic Development Phone: 210-458-2958

SBDC Client opens new business on Brazos River

Pura Vida Paddle has been a client of the SBDC since September of 2016, choosing to locate their business to take advantage of the growing tourism market of Waco.  They were featured on local news this week to spotlight their opening.  You can see more about Pura Vida Paddle on their website at: as well in the article below.


A new local business aims to make it easier to get out on the Brazos River.

Pura Vida Paddle in Waco said they’re offering Central Texans and tourists an experience on the water. Owners Blake and Erin Ward said they hope to add to Waco’s rising tourism scene.

“There's been a lot of new developments in the city and a lot of developments around the Brazos River,” Blake Ward said. “I think this helps bring people out to enjoy the beauty of Waco.”

In order to help people see the beauty of Waco, Pura Vida said they’ll be offering daily paddle boarding services, as well as kayak rentals. In addition, patrons can take yoga classes on their paddle boards. Erin Ward said that paddle boarding is not only a good time, but efficient for exercise.

“It's a growing popular sport because not only can you sit and stand, you can do yoga on it,” Ward said. “You kind of do whatever you want.”

And the people who attended their soft opening event on Sunday did whatever they wanted on their paddle boards. McLennan Community College student Lawrence Scott visited the free event and said he enjoyed his paddle boarding moment.

“I actually have never been on the river before. This is my first time actually falling into the water and it was a wonderful experience,” Scott said in reference to his first time in the Brazos River. “It’s an integral part of Waco that I got really close to.”

Scott also said he will be returning to the Pura Vida dock in the future for more fun in the sun. The Wards want to offer visitors an opportunity to get away from their busy lives and relax.

“Forget the worries of your day…of your world,” Blake Ward said. “When you get out on the water nothing matters. Just get out there and live life. Pura Vida. Pure life.”  

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