Blog

Home / Archive by category "Blog" (Page 2)
Arrowhead Center at NMSU launches new accelerator for NM startups

Arrowhead Center at NMSU launches new accelerator for NM startups

Do you have an idea for a business that will be based in New Mexico and plans to sell products or services outside the state?

New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center has a new accelerator program open to all types of export-based businesses that are located in New Mexico. BizSprint is the latest in a series of Arrowhead Accelerator programs being provided by Arrowhead Center, NMSU’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub, through funding from New Mexico Gas Company, an Emera Company.

“Export-based businesses are critical for developing New Mexico’s economy,” said Kramer Winingham, director of Aggie I-Corps, NMSU’s National Science Foundation Innovation Corps Site at Arrowhead Center. “They promote local economic growth by bringing jobs and income into the local economy, and experts estimate that each job created by an export-based business in New Mexico supports the creation of another three to four jobs in the local service industry.”

BizSprint is a four-week, cohort-based accelerator program designed to support growth-driven companies through education, mentorship and financing, modeled on the Aggie I-Corps program. Teams do not need a prior NMSU affiliation to be considered, and selected businesses can participate in the program’s curriculum and its weekly workshops virtually or in-person.

Each team will include an entrepreneurial lead based in New Mexico, a technical lead and a business mentor. Teams will conduct market research and those that successfully complete the curriculum will receive $2,000 to further advance the business. Each team will also receive access to additional follow-on funding through Arrowhead Innovation Fund and mentorship through Arrowhead Innovation Network Ventures.

Any businesses that are based in a science, technology, engineering or technology field may also be granted eligibility to apply for NSF’s National I-Corps program, which includes a $50,000 award.

Applications for the summer cohort of BizSprint are open through May 31 at arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/bizsprint. The cohort will meet Friday mornings July 14 to Aug. 4. For additional information, contact Studio G at studiog@nmsu.edu.

By Amanda Bradford

Source: https://newscenter.nmsu.edu/Articles/view/12523/arrowhead-center-at-nmsu-launches-new-accelerator-for-nm-startups

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center receives $2.5 million gift from Hunt Family Foundation

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center receives $2.5 million gift from Hunt Family Foundation

The New Mexico State University system launched the public phase of its $125 million comprehensive campaign, “Ignite Aggie Discovery,” by announcing a transformative gift from the Hunt Family Foundation to benefit Arrowhead Center, NMSU’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub.

From left: Andrea Tawney, president of the New Mexico State University Foundation; Woody Hunt, Chairman of the Hunt Family Foundation; and Josh Hunt, President of the Hunt Family Foundation; and NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers announce a $2.5 million gift from the Hunt Family Foundation for NMSU’s Arrowhead Center, NMSU’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub. The announcement came during a special kickoff event for public phase of the $125 million Ignite Aggie Discovery comprehensive campaign on Friday, April 28. (NMSU photo by Andres Leighton)

The El Paso-based Hunt Family Foundation has committed $2.5 million over six years to support Arrowhead Center’s work in commercializing discoveries and innovations, encouraging entrepreneurship, launching and developing new businesses, and creating lasting partnerships in the Borderplex region, which includes New Mexico, west Texas and Ciudad Juarez. With the funds, Arrowhead Center has created new programming through the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship, with the purpose of promoting economic development in the region.

“We’re pleased to help get the Ignite Aggie Discovery campaign off to a strong start,” said Josh Hunt, president of the Hunt Family Foundation. “We believe Arrowhead Center has the potential to do great work and accomplish much in the areas of entrepreneurship and student startup innovation. The goal of the Hunt Family Foundation is to assist in initiatives that can help build a better quality of life for all residents of the Borderplex, and New Mexico State and Arrowhead Center can play a significant role in those efforts.”

The Hunt Family Foundation has long been committed to supporting sustainable programs that can make a widespread and prolonged impact in the Borderplex region. Started in 1987 by Woody and Gayle Hunt, the foundation focuses support for non-profit initiatives in six categories, including education and regional economic development.

The Hunt Student Startup Sponsorship program is one new initiative already underway with the funding through Arrowhead Center’s Studio G, the first student business incubator in New Mexico. Designed to accelerate student ventures, the semester-long sponsorships fund a portion of a student entrepreneur’s time to significantly advance their enterprise. In addition to being paid to focus part-time on their businesses, students receive training and mentorship through Studio G, as well as access to follow-on funding.

Kathy Hansen, CEO and director of Arrowhead Center, said the Hunt Family Foundation gift will allow Arrowhead to greatly expand its collaboration with like-purposed organizations in the region. She said the funds will be significant to future building plans as the need for collaborative space grows at Arrowhead Center.

“The impact of this funding will be felt throughout the Borderplex, as Arrowhead Center works to build long-term relationships in the region and beyond,” Hansen said. “We’ll be able to provide greater opportunities for partnerships to support our researchers as they explore ways to apply their work and make an impact in the marketplace. We’ll also help drive improvements in the regional economy by continuing to foster a culture of entrepreneurship that addresses the need for business and job creation in innovative ways.

“It’s an exciting time, and we’re poised for tremendous growth,” she continued. “We’re extremely grateful for the opportunity that the Hunt Family Foundation has provided to build on the work we’re doing.”

The announcement came during a special kickoff event for the Ignite Aggie Discovery comprehensive campaign at the Associated Students of NMSU Center for the Arts on Friday, April 28. During the campaign’s silent phase, which began in May 2013, the NMSU Foundation raised more than half the campaign’s goal – over $72.5 million. While NMSU is a public university system, funding from private donors, alumni, corporations, foundations and other sources supports vital community programs, research and student scholarship opportunities.

One of the most important goals of the campaign, which extends through 2019, is the creation of $50 million in new scholarship endowments. This would provide $2 million each year in perpetuity for new, game-changing scholarships.

“Our Ignite Aggie Discovery comprehensive campaign is about focusing our energy, our innovation and our momentum on making the NMSU system stronger and better for the future of our students and the future of New Mexico and the region,” said Andrea Tawney, president of the NMSU Foundation. “This gift from the Hunt Family Foundation gets the public phase of our campaign off to an explosive start, and truly demonstrates that we are a Borderplex community that can advance our region if we collaborate and maximize our resources.”

For more information on the Ignite Aggie Discovery campaign, visit ignite.nmsu.edu.

About the Woody and Gayle Hunt Family Foundation
The Hunt Family Foundation, a private family foundation founded in 1987 by Woody Hunt and his wife, Gayle, supports not-for-profit organizations and initiatives that focus on the Paso del Norte region, which includes El Paso County, Texas; Doña Ana County, New Mexico; Otero County, New Mexico; and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México. The Foundation also supports organizations whose programs impact the state of Texas, and the nation as a whole. Charitable giving is focused on healthcare, education, arts, local heritage, quality-of-life initiatives, and regional economic development.

 

By Amanda Bradford

Source: https://newscenter.nmsu.edu/Articles/view/12490/nmsu-s-arrowhead-center-receives-2-5-million-gift-from-hunt-family-foundation

NMSU Arrowhead Center TechMatch program matches entrepreneurs with technology

Have you ever had an interest in becoming an entrepreneur, but didn’t have an invention or business idea already formulated? Through its TechMatch program, an initiative funded by a U.S. Economic Development Administration i6 grant, Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University is working to match aspiring entrepreneurs with technologies and creative works that are available to take to market. There are close to 500 technologies available, waiting for the right person to build businesses around or commercialize these innovations.

The industry-defined technology categories include Agriculture, Biotechnology, Health/Devices, Information Technology, Engineering, Energy and Water Technology. Innovations developed from NMSU intellectual property, as well as technologies from partners such as national labs, can be found on the Technologies Available for Licensing page. Arrowhead is also working with the NMSU Learning Games Lab and Creative Media Institute to bring creative works into TechMatch for licensing and sales. Though creative works are not yet available, look for developments on the project in the coming months. Anyone can browse available technologies, located at arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/technologies with no obligation or commitment.

“This opportunity allows entrepreneurs and teams to explore these technologies with a research-only license or with an option and/or licensing of NMSU developed and IP-protected innovation,” said Terry Lombard, director of the Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer office at Arrowhead. “If they find success, Arrowhead Center offers support through a number of acceleration programs for individuals and teams, NMSU-affiliated and not, to bring the innovations to market.”

Arrowhead programs are designed to assist New Mexico entrepreneurs in every facet of business development and acceleration through mentorship, curriculum, connections in a statewide network of experts, and the potential for additional leveraging for funding sources.

Leonard Casaus has experience with adopting an available TechMatch technology through the Aggie I-Corps program at Arrowhead Center. Though he didn’t reach a “go” decision to move forward to market, it was a low-risk venture and he gained experience with the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps process for evaluating technologies.

“I picked up the Pulse Tube Refrigeration technology, which was from the Air Force Research Lab,” Casaus said. “My team and I learned so much through the process. The fact-paced accelerator also skyrocketed my learning curve with regard to value proposition, customer discovery and the interview process. I learned skills that will be applicable to future projects as well. I highly recommend the TechMatch program to entrepreneurs who are interested in building a team around one of these technologies.”
Kramer Winingham, program director at Arrowhead Center, said TechMatch provides access to inventions and technologies developed in New Mexico.

“If you are interested in starting a business, check out the available technologies. There are some great opportunities and substantial resources to help you start a technology business,” Winingham said.

To join Arrowhead’s monthly TechMatch newsletter, visit bit.ly/tech-match

 

By Lauren Goldstein

Source: https://newscenter.nmsu.edu/Articles/view/12457/nmsu-arrowhead-center-techmatch-program-matches-entrepreneurs-with-technology

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center launches TechSprint accelerator for NM startups

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center launches TechSprint accelerator for NM startups

Arrowhead Center, the economic development engine at New Mexico State University, has launched a new Arrowhead StartupSprint aimed at all New Mexico tech startups, regardless of their affiliation with the university. StartupSprints support growth-driven companies through education, mentorship, and financing in a short period, cohort-based setting.

Funded by a gift from NM Gas Company, TechSprint is now accepting applications for its spring 2017 cohort, which will begin in late March. TechSprint is designed to test the feasibility of a business idea, with a goal to accelerate New Mexico technology startups to drive economic growth. Through TechSprint, teams will receive mentorship, coaching and $2,000 in participant support.

The three-week sprint program will follow curriculum from Aggie I-Corps, Arrowhead Center’s National Science Foundation Innovation Corps site, to support tech startup teams as they work to reach a “go” or “no-go” decision about their business. Nationally, I-Corps is an NSF initiative designed to leverage university research to create new innovative businesses and increase the economic impact of inventions created at research institutions around the country. If the decision is “go,” a TechSprint project may receive eligibility for the national I-Corps program, which includes a $50,000 award.

While other Aggie I-Corps teams require an NMSU connection – a team member who is a student, for example – TechSprint offers New Mexico tech startups without an NMSU affiliation access to I-Corps. The topical focus of projects must be in an area of science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) normally supported by the NSF.

NMSU is one of only 51 academic institutions nationwide to be selected as an I-Corps Site. Other I-Corps Sites include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, Carnegie-Mellon University, Purdue University, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania and other top research institutions.

“We are very excited to be opening up our I-Corps Site and providing access to technology startups in New Mexico,” said Kramer Winingham, who oversees the Aggie I-Corps program at Arrowhead Center. “I-Corps is a tremendous program that provides great value through coaching, mentorship and entrepreneurial training – in addition to great follow-on funding opportunities, including the $50,000 NSF I-Corps program and SBIR/STTR programs.”

Teams must include an entrepreneurial lead, a technical lead, and a business mentor. The entrepreneurial lead must be based in New Mexico. Though a full team is not needed to apply, preference is given to complete team applications. The three-week program will meet on Friday mornings from March 31 to April 28. Teams may attend meetings in-person or virtually, for those located across the state.

The spring 2017 application deadline is March 12. For more information, or to apply for TechSprint, visit arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/techsprint.

Funding for TechSpring is provided by New Mexico Gas Co. through Arrowhead’s University Center for Regional Commercialization.

 

By Lauren Goldstein

Source: https://newscenter.nmsu.edu/Articles/view/12365/nmsu-s-arrowhead-center-launches-techsprint-accelerator-for-nm-startups

NMSU expands startup program to branch campuses

NMSU expands startup program to branch campuses

Michael Webb, a third-year game design major at New Mexico State University’s Grants campus, will spend half of this spring semester preparing for commercial launch of his first mobile gaming app.

The Grants native won a $4,200 sponsorship from Studio G, NMSU’s student and alumni startup assistance center in Las Cruces, that will allow him to work 20 hours a week on his new mobile gaming venture, Two Birds Enterprises. Studio G will also provide online training and mentoring.

The grant and services are part of NMSU efforts to extend its startup assistance program from the main campus to Doña Ana Community College, and to NMSU branches in Carlsbad, Alamogordo and Grants.

Webb expects to start selling his first app, a unique connect-the-dots puzzle game, by next summer. Without Studio G, however, that would be hard to achieve.

“They’re paying me 20 hours a week to run my business with lots of advisers to help me on legal issues and on developing a network of industry contacts,” Webb said. “It makes me a lot more confident. Without Studio G, it would take much longer.”

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center in Las Cruces, which manages the university’s technology commercialization programs, received a $369,000 U.S. Commerce Department grant last year to expand Studio G. Arrowhead used the money to build an online program for training, mentoring and coaching. It also contracted local student “champions” to provide individual support for aspiring student and alumni entrepreneurs at each branch campus.

Arrowhead directors hope to replicate the success achieved by Studio G in Las Cruces. The program has helped about 250 student startups since launching in 2011.

Bringing those services to rural areas where economic opportunities are more limited can have a big impact, said Studio G director Kramer Winningham.

“There are a lot of students out there who want to start ventures,” Winningham said. “It’s a way to create opportunities to keep more of those young people in New Mexico.”

Fourteen student ventures from the branch campuses have already joined the Studio G program, said Arrowhead director Kathryn Hansen.

Apart from Webb’s gaming app, new branch ventures include a hand-sanitizing device developed by a student team in Alamogordo, and new task-management software for nonprofit organizations built by aspiring entrepreneurs at Doña Ana Community College.

Grants computer science instructor Zac Smith, who is serving as the local Studio G program champion, said three more students have signed up for Studio G.

Grants branch president Harry Sheski said the program could create new local career pathways.

“There’s a lot of creativity and energy among our folks on campus,” Sheski said. “This can make a difference in people’s lives.”

Webb expects to start selling his first app, a unique connect-the-dots puzzle game, by next summer. Without Studio G, however, that would be hard to achieve.

“They’re paying me 20 hours a week to run my business with lots of advisers to help me on legal issues and on developing a network of industry contacts,” Webb said. “It makes me a lot more confident. Without Studio G, it would take much longer.”

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center in Las Cruces, which manages the university’s technology commercialization programs, received a $369,000 U.S. Commerce Department grant last year to expand Studio G. Arrowhead used the money to build an online program for training, mentoring and coaching. It also contracted local student “champions” to provide individual support for aspiring student and alumni entrepreneurs at each branch campus.

Arrowhead directors hope to replicate the success achieved by Studio G in Las Cruces. The program has helped about 250 student startups since launching in 2011.

Bringing those services to rural areas where economic opportunities are more limited can have a big impact, said Studio G director Kramer Winingham.

“There are a lot of students out there who want to start ventures,” Winingham said. “It’s a way to create opportunities to keep more of those young people in New Mexico.”

Fourteen student ventures from the branch campuses have already joined the Studio G program, said Arrowhead director Kathryn Hansen.

Apart from Webb’s gaming app, new branch ventures include a hand-sanitizing device developed by a student team in Alamogordo, and new task-management software for nonprofit organizations built by aspiring entrepreneurs at Doña Ana Community College.

Grants computer science instructor Zac Smith, who is serving as the local Studio G program champion, said three more students have signed up for Studio G.

Grants branch president Harry Sheski said the program could create new local career pathways.

“There’s a lot of creativity and energy among our folks on campus,” Sheski said. “This can make a difference in people’s lives.”

By Kevin Robinson-Avila / Journal Staff Writer
Friday, February 3rd, 2017 at 2:44pm

Source: www.abqjournal.com/942629/nmsu-expands-startup-program-to-branch-campuses.html

NMSU’s Studio G expansion will aid student entrepreneurs

NMSU’s Studio G expansion will aid student entrepreneurs

LAS CRUCES – Students across the New Mexico State University system with an idea for a business now have access to an online entrepreneurship curriculum and network of expert advisers, thanks to Arrowhead Center’s Next Generation Entrepreneurship program. Known as Next Gen, the program brings Studio G, Arrowhead’s student and alumni business incubator, to NMSU’s community college campuses throughout the state.

East Mesa Campus of Doña Ana Community College in Las Cruces, N.M.
(Photo: Courtesy)

Arrowhead Center, NMSU’s economic development engine and technology commercialization hub, received a $368,760 grant in 2016 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to expand Studio G to students at campuses in Alamogordo, Carlsbad and Grants, as well as students at Dona Ana Community College in Las Cruces.

DACC President Renay Scott said she welcomes the chance for her students to build on their entrepreneurial thinking.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to offer our students access to Arrowhead Center’s Studio G and other programs to support their entrepreneurial opportunities,” Scott said. “Our students have many experiences at DACC that lead to new ideas, scholarship and items that they wish to market. Next Gen allows students to have access to programs and experiences that will help them develop their intellectual property, develop business plans and work with others who also seek to start their own businesses.”

Studio G, which was founded in 2011, has seen tremendous growth in recent years. Since its inception, Studio G has helped more than 250 ventures involving more than 450 student entrepreneurs. An economic impact study in 2015 found that Studio G clients had an impact of $2.4 million during that fiscal year, and Studio G members have raised more than $2.5 million in investments, grants and contracts since 2013. In fiscal year 2016, Studio G ventures hired 93 paid employees.

With Next Gen funding, Arrowhead Center has already converted the effective Studio G curriculum, modeled on MIT’s Disciplined Entrepreneurship and Lean Launchpad methodologies, into an online format that uses “gamification” to engage student and alumni entrepreneurs in learning tracks that are tailored to different types of businesses and situations.

“Students at our community college campuses now have access to the very same learning system, advising opportunities and mentorship meetings as our clients at the Las Cruces campus,” said Kramer Winingham, director of Studio G and a principal investigator on the Next Gen project. “The online curriculum allows us to scale up what we can offer to students here in Las Cruces, as well as those in communities around the state.”

Three of NMSU’s four community college campuses are located in rural communities with less than 50,000 population, and those areas are also economically dependent on single industries like government enterprises and mining, so developing support systems for the next generation of entrepreneurs in those areas will be crucial for providing employment and workforce development, said Arrowhead Center Director and CEO Kathryn Hansen. It’s also the key to enhancing the commercialization of research, regional connectivity and innovation in New Mexico.

NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers said the Next Gen program is one of several important ways that Arrowhead Center supports NMSU’s land-grant mission of serving the educational needs of New Mexico’s diverse population through comprehensive programs of education, research, extension education and public service.

In addition to scaling the Studio G curriculum for use at the community colleges, Next Gen funding has been used to address the challenge of matching entrepreneurs with funding and technology licensing opportunities on a broader scale. Two new web-based portals, TechMatch and FundMatch, provide a user-friendly online system to steer students toward opportunities and facilitate connections for entrepreneurs who are ready to seek funding for their projects.

With all of these systems in place, the next step is to start funneling community college students into the entrepreneurial pipeline. Each of the college campuses has selected a leader with strong connections to both the students and the local business community to champion the effort to recruit students to Studio G and build engagement with those local business networks. At DACC, that’s Joan Keeney, a college assistant professor in the Business Department.

For more information about Studio G, or to apply from any of NMSU’s system-wide campuses, visit http://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/studiog. For more information about the Next Gen Entrepreneurship program at DACC, contact Joan Keeney at jkeeney@nmsu.edu.

By Amanda Bradford, For the Sun-News

Source: http://www.lcsun-news.com/story/money/2017/01/27/nmsus-studio-g-expansion-aid-student-entrepreneurs/97158736/

Into the Shark Tank: Aggies pitch ideas to area investors

Into the Shark Tank: Aggies pitch ideas to area investors

LAS CRUCES – Carlos Murguia, pitching his business idea to a room of possible investors, cut to the chase.

“What are we here for today? To make money, so let’s get started!” the New Mexico State University student and entrepreneur said before his five-minute presentation to a panel of Las Cruces “shark” investors in hopes of gaining funding and other business support. The exchange came during the Aggie Shark Tank event, held Oct. 19 before a large and enthusiastic crowd at the Las Cruces Convention Center.

Murguia was one of five NMSU students who pitched their business dreams to the sharks — agribusiness leader Dino Cervantes, real estate developer Mickey Clute, Mesilla Valley Trucking owner Royal Jones, and Sisbarro Dealerships owner Lou Sisbarro.

After the pitch, the sharks ask the entrepreneurs a range of hard-hitting questions touching on financial forecasts, product development, customer base, competition and market opportunities. In addition to the opportunity to gain investment from shark panelists, the entrepreneurs also had a chance to win $1,000 prize based on audience vote for the best pitch.

Contestants included:
  • Murguia, pitching KoolKat, a mineral-based roof coating that can reduce temperatures inside a building to produce substantial energy savings
  • Jason Koenig, seeking funding and mentorship for Pixanthropy, a software platform that facilitates philanthropic giving by connecting to a new generation of social donors
  • Jonah Brown, seeking funding for his business Dynitikos, a rapid turn-around replication-technology service for high-precision, high-quality metal pieces for jewelers
  • Roberto Acosta, seeking funding for equipment to open Float Spa, a new business offering therapeutic sensory deprivation therapy to help people relax and recharge
  • Avinash Kuna and his business SOLAS, a startup developing new, more advanced proprietary technology to the security surveillance industry.

Kramer Winingham, director of Studio G, said the five entrepreneurs were chosen out of 25 applicants.

“Aggie Shark Tank is open to all NMSU students,” he said. “Once we receive the applications, we review them to identify business plans that have advanced to an appropriate stage to request funding and are also a match to the investors’ interests.”

Once they’re chosen, the entrepreneurs go through four or five practice sessions to refine their pitch with the Studio G team and also receive feedback from mentors in the Arrowhead Innovation Network. “We want to give them the best chance to raise the money they need to advance their business,” Winingham said.

Murguia won the $1,000 Audience Favorite prize and an offer from Jones to test his roof coating product on one of his properties. The investors did not commit funds to any of the entrepreneurs in this event, but they did offer to mentor them as they continued to shape their business plans.

“We strive to be good mentors,” Cervantes said, “but part of that is addressing any deficiencies in their plans.” Most of the participants take the constructive feedback well, he added.

“I think there were around 10 people at the first event,” Cervantes said. This time, an audience of 200 onlookers was on hand to cheer on the entrepreneurs.

The Aggie Shark Tank was born out of an idea by Sisbarro, a fan of the popular “Shark Tank” TV show series. Sisbarro approached Kathy Hansen, Arrowhead Center CEO, with the idea to create a similar program to help NMSU students. Sisbarro asked other investors to participate and worked with Hansen’s team at the Arrowhead Center to shape the event.

Cervantes said he and the other panelists have worked with several of the entrepreneurs since the first Aggie Shark Tank took place. In last spring’s event, investors committed $80,000 with some portion going to all five businesses.

“We’ve seen some interesting projects and we’ve stayed in touch with several of the entrepreneurs,” he said. “Many of them typically take a year or more to go to market so we’re just starting to see some results.”

Entrepreneurs said they were appreciative of the opportunity to participate in the Aggie Shark Tank.

“It was great to be around the other contestants,” Brown said. “They’re the shakers and movers of the community, and their energy is exciting.”

Brown is a freshman at NMSU, a young entrepreneur with prior experience including a bike shop in Elephant Butte, graphic design, and some experience in jewelry making.

Murguia said he spent five to six hours a day in preparation for three weeks before the event. He felt the coaching he received from Studio G was invaluable.

“I liked the learning process. I can tell you that the presentation I did today is nothing like the presentation I started with,” he said. “Now that I’ve done this, I know I can get up and present my company to anyone.”

All Aggie Shark Tank events are free and open to the public. More information about past Shark Tanks and contestants can be found at sharktank.nmsu.edu. The next event is tentatively scheduled to take place in March 2017. Anyone interested in learning more should contact Kristin Morehead 575-646-5575 or email kmorehea@nmsu.edu.

Paula Heikell is a freelance writer and can be reached atpaula@heikellcommunications.com.

NMSU Arrowhead Center’s Aggie Shark Tank event continues to grow

NMSU Arrowhead Center’s Aggie Shark Tank event continues to grow

Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University hosted its third Aggie Shark Tank event Wednesday at the Las Cruces Convention Center, and while the “shark” investors may have chosen not to bite on any of the business opportunities that were offered up by student and alumni entrepreneurs, they did share an ocean of advice on how they might take their ideas to the next level, along with an offer to try out one product, which may prove more valuable than an investment.

Aggie Shark Tank is based on the popular “Shark Tank” television show, and offers entrepreneurs working with Arrowhead Center’s student business incubator, Studio G, a chance to pitch their ideas for businesses or technology commercialization opportunities to local business leaders for possible investment.

Carlos Murguia describes the benefits of KoolKat roof coating technology to the panel of local “sharks” during the Aggie Shark Tank event Wednesday at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Murguia received the “Audience Favorite” award, with a cash prize of $1,000. (NMSU photo) OCT16
Carlos Murguia describes the benefits of KoolKat roof coating technology to the panel of local “sharks” during the Aggie Shark Tank event Wednesday at the Las Cruces Convention Center. Murguia received the “Audience Favorite” award, with a cash prize of $1,000. (NMSU photo)

The school of Las Cruces “Sharks” includes chile farmer and agribusiness leader Dino Cervantes, real estate developer Mickey Clute, Mesilla Valley Transportation owner Royal Jones, and Sisbarro Dealerships owner Lou Sisbarro.

Jones said after Wednesday’s round of business pitches that he saw a lot of passion in the entrepreneurs’ presentation, but wasn’t hooked by any of their proposals.

“They really had that fire that you need to be successful,” Jones said. “I think some of these ideas have potential in the right market, and while we didn’t choose to invest funds, we’re always ready to share some additional suggestions and guidance.”

Student entrepreneurs included Jason Koenig, one of the creators of Pixanthropy, a company that goes beyond existing crowdfunding platforms to help organizations raise money and connect to a new generation of social donors; Carlos Murguia, who is looking to bring KoolKat roof coating technology to the U.S. market; Jonah Brown of Dynitikos who wants to build a business using a new replication technology that blends 3D printing and conventional metal casting to replicate high-precision, high-quality metal pieces, such as custom jewelry and tools, with rapid turnaround times; Roberto Acosta, who hopes to open Float Spa, a therapeutic center that offers sensory deprivation therapy, which has become popular throughout the country as a way to help people relax and recharge; and Avinash Kuna, whose proprietary technology, SOLAS, brings new capabilities to the security surveillance industry to address today’s challenges and threats.

Murguia’s KoolKat roof coating technology won the $1,000 Audience Favorite prize, voted on immediately following the presentations by a crowd of 200 guests. Murguia said the prize will help him obtain an important certification for his product that will help him move to the next stage in his plan to bring the mineral roof coating product and business, based in Mexico, to the U.S. He also received an offer from Jones to try out the product at his facilities in Las Cruces.

“I’ll keep this moving, and I think the sharks offered some useful suggestions,” he said after the presentations had concluded. “I know from the questions they asked that I need to do more research here in the U.S. I’ve got to be prepared to overcome some skepticism and show that I understand the international market.”

He said one of the most valuable things he gained was the experience of preparing and delivering a pitch. “Look, my hands are still shaking,” he said, holding them up. “But now I know what to expect, and that’s important.”

Studio G Director Kramer Winingham said the process of getting a business ready for a pitch event like Shark Tank can be as important as the outcome, forcing entrepreneurs to really evaluate and fine-tune their plans.

“Studio G really serves as an extension of their team as they develop their business,” Winingham said. “We connect them with a network of mentors and a curriculum to guide their planning, but the entrepreneurs are the drivers here.”

Arrowhead Center CEO Kathy Hansen said the growth of Shark Tank shows that the community is taking a greater interest in how initiatives like Studio G and the Launch proof-of-concept program are creating a pipeline of students and alums who can apply the entrepreneurial thinking they’re cultivating at NMSU.

“This third Shark Tank event had our biggest audience yet, and it’s helping us make additional connections with people who can add value to our programs,” she said. “We’re really grateful to all of our sharks for giving their time and expertise to our student entrepreneurs.”

Information from NMSU

OCT 21, 2016

SOURCE: krwg.org/post/nmsu-arrowhead-center-s-aggie-shark-tank-event-continues-grow

Aggie Innovation Space merges engineers, entrepreneurs

Aggie Innovation Space merges engineers, entrepreneurs

LAS CRUCES – A team of engineering students at New Mexico State University, working as Aggie Innovators, are actively engaged in promoting technology acceleration across campus. And it’s paying off, with projects receiving more than $367,000 in funding over the past five years.

A man working on electronic equipment.
Industrial engineering graduate student and Aggie Innovator Luis Martinez, along with other Aggie Innovators, helps students with classroom projects as well as projects that may have commercialization value at the NMSU College of Engineering Aggie Innovation Space. (NMSU photo)

This accomplishment is, in large part, due to a partnership comprising the College of Engineering Aggie Innovation Space Presented by Intel, NMSU’s Arrowhead Center and the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

The Aggie Innovation Space was launched in 2014 by the College of Engineering and led by Patricia A. Sullivan, associate dean for outreach, along with a team of faculty members from engineering, marketing and art. As a maker-space facility, the AIS was designed to foster innovation and entrepreneurship by offering students access to state-of-the-art engineering design software and tools, and provide a physical gathering point where students can connect to work on multidisciplinary projects.

Last year, the AIS adopted a unique peer-management model that incorporates a team of on-campus cooperative-education students serving as Aggie Innovators.
“The AIS is a great resource for students to learn about innovation, design tools and how to make functional prototypes,” said Kramer Winingham, director of Arrowhead’s Studio G incubator. “The resources and workshops offered by the AIS are really exciting. Innovation is a key skill for students to learn to position themselves for success in the future – having a space like the AIS to help students develop skills in innovation is outstanding.”

In spring 2016, the AIS expanded their partnership with Arrowhead Center to include NM MEP, with a specific focus on accelerating technology among engineering student capstone projects.

“The AIS technology acceleration process focuses on integrating traditional engineering capstone projects within a college maker-space facility,” Sullivan said. “The developed process features a peer mentorship model for capstone teams that guides them through the engineering design process, supports real-world application, and introduces collaboration within a multidisciplinary open learning environment. Participants in the process have become adept in accelerating technology for application and have gained valuable workplace skills for future personal and professional growth.”

Luis Martinez, a graduate industrial engineering student involved in the AIS, serves as a liaison between capstone faculty and Arrowhead Center. Martinez developed the adopted technology acceleration model that incorporates development of prototypes, preliminary test and evaluation, and vetting and validation processes.

The vetting/validation stage requires capstone students to seek external validation of their ideas from faculty or “potential clients” of the technology or product being developing. It also allows teams to understand the feasibility of their projects, enhances student soft skills and serves as an initial indicator of opportunities for technology acceleration.

Following vetting/validation, students conduct expanded test and evaluation, and then present their final projects to capstone faculty and industry partners. Projects that demonstrate commercial application are invited to further accelerate their technology as a client of Arrowhead’s Studio G student incubator, where they receive additional commercialization guidance and access to external startup funding.

The partnership has paid off with the AIS supporting 42 student projects involving 157 students last year. Of note is the transition of two engineering capstone projects to Arrowhead Center and subsequent funding through the Aggie I-Corps program – a National Science Foundation initiative that leverages university research to create new innovative businesses and increase the economic impact of inventions created at research institutions around the country.

Additional successes include Mechanical Engineering Professor Roy Xu and chemical engineering graduate student Brian Patterson, who joined Studio G in 2015 to further develop bulletproof backpacks for students and more protective helmets for football players. If commercialized, this damage-trap material interface would be less expensive and more protective than Kevlar. The project received a $50,000 grant from the NSF through the I-Corps program.

“With an ongoing capstone integration project and the outreach activities throughout the university, the AIS has been able to provide consultation assistance and topical expertise to a diverse group of projects ranging from the College of Engineering, the astronomy department and even the animal science department of NMSU,” Martinez said.

“As the number of AIS requests for technology acceleration assistance increases, so does the number of Aggie Innovators available to provide mentorship to students,” Sullivan said. “This fall we added five new co-op based innovators and expect additional innovators to join the AIS in January. These on-campus co-op positions are highly competitive, attracting outstanding engineering student applicants.”

More information about Aggie I-Corps and Studio G can be found at arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu and the Aggie Innovation Space at innovate.nmsu.edu.

“Eye on Research” is a weekly feature provided by New Mexico State University. This week’s feature was written by Billy Huntsman of the College of Engineering.

Billy Huntsman, For the Sun-News 11:18 a.m. MDT October 16, 2016

SOURCE: lcsun-news.com/story/news/education/nmsu/2016/10/16/aggie-innovation-space-merges-engineers-entrepreneurs/92201518/

Arrowhead Center to host entrepreneur events

Arrowhead Center to host entrepreneur events

LAS CRUCES – The Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University will host two events geared toward entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneur Encounters, sponsored by Seidel Technologies, will feature an engaging encounter with Emily Calhoun, a successful entrepreneur and owner of Albuquerque-based Floriography — an ethical, sustainable and locally-sourced floral design company. The event will be from 11 a.m. to noon Monday, Oct. 10, at the Aggie Lounge inside Corbett Center Student Union.

Aggie Shark Tank is an opportunity for NMSU student entrepreneurs to pitch their business idea to local sharks. Participants will have 5 minutes to present their idea, followed by 15 minutes of Q&A from the sharks. Participants can ask for a monetary investment or any other type of assistance or connections to help their business grow. All investment deals are negotiated directly between the sharks and participants. The audience is not being solicited for an investment of any kind. Featured sharks are Lou Sisbarro, Sisbarro Dealerships; Royal Jones, Mesilla Valley Transportation; Dino Cervantes, Cervantes Enterprises; Mickey Clute, real estate developer; and Beto Pallares, Joseph Advisory. The event is from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Las Cruces Convention Center.

For information on both events, including registration, log on to arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/events.

Sun-News Reports, 8:02 a.m. MDT October 8, 2016

SOURCE: lcsun-news.com/story/money/business/2016/10/08/arrowhead-center-host-entrepreneur-events/91586494/