Southside First is a non-profit organization that promotes economic development across south San Antonio and Bexar County by providing resources and support to encourage business development, foster growth and develop resilience.

We are the go-to economic development engine for the vitality and sustainability of the Southside.

• Integrity and Ethics
• Community Engagement
• Collaboration
• Innovation
• Continuous learning
• Diversity and Inclusion

Our mission is to stimulate economic development by providing leadership, strategic guidance, facilitating partnerships, and delivering targeted programs and resources that promote business growth, attract investment, and enhance the quality of life for residents and businesses within our region.

The Southside First Economic Development Council was established in 2017. Southside First evolved as an initiative of the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Foundation and is designed to promote economic development and community leadership on San Antonio’s South Side.

Today, Southside First focuses on creating an economic development strategy to improve the economic, educational, and social opportunities for businesses and residents in South San Antonio/Bexar County. This region is defined as the area south of U.S. Highway 90 and U.S. Highway 87.

In 2019, with support from the City of San Antonio, Southside First launched a pilot neighborhood program focusing on two Southside neighborhoods: Mission San Jose and the Quintana community.

The Southside First Economic Development Council successfully completed in-person surveys of the Quintana Community and of the Mission San Jose neighborhood residents and small business owners through a partnership with St. Mary’s Harvey Najim Center for Business Innovation and Social Responsibility. The surveys are the foundation for the Southside First Neighborhood Program and for the signature series ¡Echale Gas! Small Business Training Workshops which aims to provide Southside residents with options for creating their own small business or expanding their current business. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Southside First strategically shifted its focus to be responsive to the challenges of over 7,000 small businesses who operate in the Southside of San Antonio and Bexar County.

Joe Pena

Joe Peña


Market President, Frost Bank

Rob Rodriguez

Rob Rodriguez


Broker & Managing Partner, Verde Commercial Real Estate

Cindy Taylor

Cindy Taylor


Executive Director, Hot Wells Conservancy


Assistant Director, City of San Antonio Economic Development Department

Andy Castillo

Andy Castillo

Designer 3, Ford Powell & Carson Inc.; President, Quintana Community Neighborhood Association

Crystal Darby

Senior Business Advisor,
UTSA Small Business Development Center

Mark Tolley

Mark Tolley

Principal, Mission DG

Laurie Lerma

Branch Manager of Amegy Bank

Danielle Espinoza


Sara Briseño Gerrish

REALTOR® and Broker Associate, RE/MAX Unlimited. South Texas Business Partnership, Chair-Elect.

Brenda Anz

Founder of Women Unlimited! SA and Saving Our Way LLC

Linda Pearson



Outreach Manager


Systems / Administrative Manager

Elizabeth Nava




Listen to Rosanna's and Elizabeth's interview talking about who we are and what we do!

This Storycorps conversation is archived at the Library of Congress!

Watch the testimonials from our business community:

Elena Moreno
Angelic Monuments
Brenza Anz
Saving Our Way
Lydia Clemente
We 5 Maidens Handcrafted Soaps
Regina Navarro
Nick's Tacos