Nena Tacos is the Ponca City Pitch-Off Champion
Ponca City, OK - Ponca City Development Authority (PCDA) hosted the Sixth Annual Business Plan Pitch-off Friday, March 11th. Going pitch to pitch were Nena Tacos and Central Café with their business plan submissions the previous week. Nena Tacos and Central Café pitched to three judges for a chance at cash and local incentives in support of their business growth.
“We are excited to host this type of small business competition which supports start-ups and existing small businesses looking to grow a new product or service,” stated Kat Long, Small Business and Information Coordinator for PCDA. “The Pitch-off has been an effective way to pull start-ups out of the planning stages into the “doing” stage. We could not do this type of program without the direction of the PCDA Board of Trustees and support of our partner Pioneer Technology Center Business Services; especially Ben Evans, Entrepreneurial Services Coordinator.”
Nena Tacos received high score and praise from the judges for a good food truck concept and the family work ethic which will assist them going forward. The Nena in “Nena Tacos” is Mom Nena, and along with her son Abran Farias and his wife Kaitlin, are equal owners and will operate the truck in various locations in and around Ponca City. “This has always been Nena’s dream: to cook authentic Mexican food from her family to yours in an accessible way” said Abran during the Pitch-off. “We thank Jeff MacKinnon at Equity Bank for working with us over the last two years; Ben Evans at Pioneer Technology Center who showed us the value of writing a Business Plan and this Pitch-off, which I believed was scarier than anything we have accomplished so far.” Nena Tacos has agreements to set-up at Equity Bank locations, the University Center, Vortex Alley Brewing and other locations. They intend to be at festivals such as The Ponca City Art Festival, Charlie Adams Day, Herb Festival and many more. Like them on Facebook to see their schedule, menu and pricing.
During this year of kindness campaign by our Ponca City Chamber, the Farias familia added one more act to their acceptance speech. They announced to the judges and Kal Cloonan, pitching for Central Café, that Nena Tacos will split the cash incentive of $2000 with Central Café and give them the free office space for a year. Needless to say, there was not a dry eye in the house. Thank you local judges Jodi Cline, Edward Jones; Shane Blaes, RCB Bank and Kerri Bowman, Community National Bank for sharing your time and talent with this PCDA program.
The next Business Plan Pitch-off is scheduled for Friday, June 10th with business plans to be submitted by close of business Wednesday, June 1st. Businesses must be based in Ponca City whether store front, online, manufacturing or back office. For more information and to participate in the next Pitch-off, contact Kat Long at 580.761.3028 or email email@example.com for more information. Congratulations to Nena Tacos LLC and Central Cafe.
For more information on PCDA, community development programs and business incentives,
Pictured Lt to Rt: David Myers, PCDA Executive Director; Kal Cloonan, Central Cafe; Kaitlin, Natalie, Abron and Nena Farias, Nena Tacos LLC; Kat Long, PCDA and Ben Evans, Pioneer Technology Entrepreneurial Services Coordinator.
The Ponca City Development Authority (PCDA) and five local industrial companies travelled to Arlington, Texas recently to visit with hundreds of companies seeking industrial products many of which are made in Ponca City. Called the “Trade Show Brigade,” the trip was the tenth such mission sponsored by PCDA since the program began eight years ago.
PCDA and the companies participated in the two day “Design2Part” trade show, an event held each year for manufacturing companies in the region. The show brings together hundreds of companies primarily from the North Texas region to attend educational seminars and to meet with potential supply chain partners. PCDA sponsors a trade booth for each company to set up and meet with potential customers during the show.
Laurence Beliel, PCDA’s Director of Business Retention and Expansion Laurence said the Design2Part show offers a “target rich” opportunity for Ponca City companies to get in front of potential customers. “This show is made for companies that do contract manufacturing. Very few manufacturing companies make all of the parts that they need so they come to a trade show like this looking for someone who can make a product they need. It’s really a great business to business chance to introduce our companies to new potential customers.”
This is the tenth trade show that PCDA has sponsored for local industry. PCDA pays for the booth space, the companies themselves pay for their travel and their time. Beliel said that the Design2Part show in particular has been extremely successful for Ponca City companies. “It’s not at all unusual for our local companies to get orders during the trade show and several sign confidentiality agreements to talk about potential manufacturing opportunities that they can’t even tell me about.
Joining the “brigade” this year were Centerline, K&C Manufacturing, Moonlight Machine, Precision Metal Fab and Source Fabrication. “These companies are bright and really good at coming up with a solution to a need a company has. Even though they sometimes compete with each other, they left that at the door and worked really well together,” Beliel said. “They were great ambassadors for Ponca City.”
As the success of the program has grown, so too has participation. “There were five companies that went this year, that’s a new high for us,” said PCDA Executive Director David Myers. “A couple of years ago we had been looking at other trade shows for other local industry sectors but COVID set things back. We expect that to resume as things get back to normal.”
The PCDA program, according to Myers, is unique in the economic development world. “I’m not aware of any other area that is doing this right now.” He added that the program provides another way to grow an economy beyond a single focus on trying to recruit new companies. “When you don’t have a workforce or available industrial buildings you need to look at new ways to grow and diversify. This is harder for the public to see than a big announcement for a new company, but it is every bit as effective at growing jobs and wages in a way that can be managed in a labor constrained market like ours,” he said.
The program was recognized as an outstanding innovation in economic development in 2020 by the International Economic Development Council. Myers says he expects to see other areas try and copy the PCDA approach. “The only surprise for me is that other areas haven’t tried it so far,” he said. “There is a lot of opportunity out there but other areas don’t have our secret weapons. They don’t have the kind of agile, talented, supportive companies that you find in Ponca City. They also don’t have Laurence Beliel.”