PHARR - The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo School District and U.S. Small Business Administration recently signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM), creating an official partnership between the entities for the purpose of connecting students to the area of entrepreneurship and the important role it plays within the business community.

The signing was held last Wednesday, Feb. 14 at the PSJA Southwest Early College High School Library. Representing the U.S. Small Business Administration Lower Rio Grande Valley District Director Angela Burton, who has served as mentor for PSJA ISD students interested in pursuing business degrees.

"I believe this memorandum offers an essential piece in cultivating an entrepreneurial ecosystem in our region," Burton said. "We have been working together, but today solidifies our partnership."

Joined by a common mission, the partners will help start, maintain and expand small businesses with an emphasis on young entrepreneurs.

Students representing various career and technology organizations on campus attended the event, as well as PSJA Alumna Maria Fernanda Garcia-Ortiz from PSJA Southwest Class of 2017 who is in her first year as a UTRGV Marketing student.

"When you give students the opportunity to improve themselves, to are creating the leaders of tomorrow," Garcia-Ortiz said.

As part of the partnership, April will be designated Entrepreneurship Month with the entities preparing various activities for the students to learn more about the field, which will include a "Shark Tank" like competition and the 2nd Annual Young Entrepreneurship Conference.