Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University’s world-ranked student business accelerator, Studio G, is currently open to students and recent alumni at 18 colleges and universities in New Mexico and Texas. Entrepreneur-in-residence Victor Hughes has been key to Studio G’s expansion in Santa Fe. (Courtesy photo)
Arrowhead Center is housed at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, but its mission is to serve entrepreneurs and businesses extends beyond campus.
Arrowhead Center’s world-ranked student business accelerator, Studio G, is currently open to students and recent alumni at 18 colleges and universities in New Mexico and Texas. Entrepreneur-in-residence Victor Hughes has been key to Studio G’s expansion in Santa Fe.
Hughes studied marketing, cognitive neuroscience, and international business at New York University before enlisting in the U.S. Army and serving in Iraq. Hughes came to New Mexico by chance and made it his home.
“I was ensnared by the exceptional quality of life in New Mexico,” Hughes said.
Hughes was first hooked on entrepreneurship when he enrolled in a “life-changing entrepreneurship course” taught by two industry leaders, Lawrence Lenihan and Hilary Gosher. He then combined interests to create a behavioral information management platform that enables Internet users to market and sell the data they generate when navigating the web. Hughes became interested in distributed ledger technology and, with business partners, built, launched and grew two Bitcoin businesses in 2010.
Hughes got to know Arrowhead Center in 2018 when he started working for the new Studio G Site at Santa Fe Community College. While working to build the Studio G site at SFCC, he began developing his own new venture based on a new technology developed at NMSU.
“I started to get more involved when I stumbled onto a lightweight encryption technology in the Arrowhead Center Intellectual Property Portfolio that was of interest to me,” Hughes said.
His new business – LightStream, a lightweight encryption technology startup – was awarded a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2020.
“Victor has been a great asset for Studio G in Santa Fe. He has really helped build the Studio G site at SFCC, and reached beyond that to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Santa Fe to provide opportunities for entrepreneurs throughout the Santa Fe region by helping us build new Studio G sites,” said Kramer Winingham, Arrowhead Center Studio G director.
Hughes has led the growth of Studio G program at SFCC and has helped Studio G establish three new Studio G sites at Saint John’s College, Institute of American Indian Arts and Central New Mexico Community College.
To help the program adapt to the challenges of COVID-19, Victor established physical space for Studio G in Santa Fe is at 501 Franklin Ave. It includes an outdoor patio where entrepreneurs and Hughes can socially distance, but still brainstorm their business ventures.
“It’s rewarding to be the entrepreneur-in-residence. Helping entrepreneurs actualize their visions is a great use of time and being involved with change at scale energizes me,” Hughes said. “It’s also educational to me. I’m constantly exposed to new business ventures, and I need to understand how they operate to add value, so I’m always learning something new.”
Hughes is also embedded in the academic ecosystem in Santa F, teaching entrepreneurship at SFCC.
“Entrepreneurship education is emerging as a rigorous academic discipline and given my experiences as an innovative technology startup founder and startup consultant, I’m able to contribute to the evolution of entrepreneurship education in a meaningful way,” Hughes said.
“I’ve helped nearly half of the Studio G in Santa Fe entrepreneurs I recruited to either bring a product or service to market or grow their business by acquiring new customers, expanding operations, and/or increasing sales volume,” Hughes said.
“Victor has helped us have a big impact in Santa Fe and I think that impact will continue to grow. His new venture demonstrates the collaborative opportunities we strive to develop,” Winingham said. “As an entrepreneur-in-residence, he has an opportunity to be a role model to encourage new entrepreneurs and show them what is possible, such as commercializing new technology through partnerships across multiple universities. It’s a really incredible story.”