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Momentum Updated: 19 May 2017

Judges from BBVA Compass, UT-Austin McCombs School of Business gather to select inaugural class for BBVA Momentum

Ambitious social entrepreneurs from Texas are gathering today at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin to make their case for joining the inaugural class of BBVA Momentum, an intensive seven-month training program for entrepreneurs who want to change the world through their work.

BBVA Momentum has been operating since 2011 in several countries throughout the global footprint for BBVA, the Madrid-based bank, but this marks its first foray into the U.S. BBVA Compass, BBVA’s U.S. franchise, put out the call in March for social entrepreneurs in Texas to apply to the program. On Thursday, judges from BBVA Compass and the McCombs School of Business, where the in-person training portion of BBVA Momentum will take place, will conduct 6-minute speed interviews with the candidates to determine which ones will be invited to join the program.

“We’re excited to meet these social entrepreneurs today because they all clearly have a drive to create big opportunities for the people they serve,” said BBVA Compass Director of Corporate Responsibility & Reputation Reymundo Ocañas, who will serve as one of the judges. “Our goal today is to identify those with the most sustainable businesses and with the highest social impact, and determine which ones we can help scale up so they can change even more lives for the better.”

We’re excited to meet these social entrepreneurs today because they all clearly have a drive to create big opportunities for the people they serve

The candidates will be presenting their businesses on Thursday, May 18, to four judges. In addition to Ocañas, the judges are: Jim Nolen, a distinguished senior lecturer in the McCombs School’s Department of Finance; Chris McGillis, BBVA Compass Director of CRA Program Administration; and Mike Prehn, a BBVA Compass Commercial Relationship Manager based in Austin. The candidates who are unable to attend Thursday’s speed-interview session in person will conduct interviews with judges by videoconference on Friday. The winners will be announced next week.

What’s in store for the winners

The social entrepreneurs selected to participate in the program will be given seven months of online and in-person training. The online training will be provided by the Corporate Learning Alliance, a joint initiative between the Financial Times and Spain's IE Business School, while the in-person training will be conducted at the McCombs School of Business. Several networking opportunities are also built into the program, giving entrepreneurs the chance to learn from previous BBVA Momentum participants and investors. And finally, BBVA Compass will select those businesses considered most sustainable and with the highest social impact for further investment opportunities.

BBVA Momentum already has driven the expansion of 92 companies with high social impact in Spain, Mexico and Peru. The companies selected to participate have focused on a variety of social problems, whether it's the treatment of cognitive impairment in the elderly or helping the neediest citizens build their own homes out of sustainable materials. Jointly, they employ 3,200 people and their activities have benefited more than a million people.