The Hunt Family Foundation has committed $2.5 million over six years to launch the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship to advance Arrowhead Center’s work in commercializing discoveries and innovations, encouraging entrepreneurship, launching and developing new businesses, and creating lasting partnerships in the Borderplex region.
With these funds, Arrowhead Center has extended existing programming and created new initiatives to promote economic development in the region. Working with partners across the Borderplex, the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship is poised to have a meaningful and lasting impact on regional economic development.
Leveraging and Growing Collaboration in the Borderplex Region
The Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship has a critical role to play in implementation of the Borderplex Alliance’s Regional Strategic Plan, as expressed through the Borderplex 2020 initiative. Key to this work is ensuring that existing partnerships between regional experts and stakeholders in economic development are nurtured, and that new relationships are formed. By working as a team, we can position the region for economic, social, and quality of life improvements. This work is underway through developments such as the formation of the Borderplex Entrepreneurship Task Force and launch of Innovation Frontera.
One of the brightest points of the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship’s first year was the student startup sponsorship program, which provides crucial financial support and mentorship for selected participants in Arrowhead’s Studio G student business accelerator.
Student entrepreneurs supported by Hunt sponsorships are diverse, both in their personal and educational backgrounds, and in the ventures they are pursuing. Recruited from throughout the NMSU System, the first cohort of Hunt-sponsored students has made impressive progress in their entrepreneurial efforts.
Please see the video below to meet some members of the first cohort of Hunt-sponsored students.
Established in 2011, Arrowhead Center’s Launch proof of concept program has grown to be one of the centerpieces of programming, representing a key component of several successful bids for federal funding and continued private sector support. Launch provides seed grants and business development mentoring for early-stage technologies, helping to mitigate the challenges of launching a startup venture, often based on new technologies. Through the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship, components of Launch are expanding significantly.
A vital element of Launch is an annual competition that engages selected entrepreneurs with early-stage technologies and/or ventures in an accelerator program. Through the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship, Arrowhead Center had the capacity to increase the size and scope of Launch awards. In the latest competition round, Launch granted two $20,000 awards – this level of support will continue in future competitions.
The Investor-in-Residence program brings to Arrowhead Center’s clients and program participants access to expert mentors who can guide them through journeys of technology commercialization and startup business activities. In addition to providing valuable advice and serving as sounding boards for new entrepreneur’s challenges, Investors-in-Residence help those seeking funding through their deep professional networks.
Investors-in-Residence currently working through the Hunt Center for Entreneurship and Arrowhead Center are Estela Hernandez and Dr. Beto Pallares.
Estela Hernandez is the Managing Director, President and Chairman of the Arrowhead Innovation Fund. She has over 15 years of leadership and management experience working in the public health, interior design, and business sectors. Hernandez is a Kauffman Fellow, a member of a distinctive world-wide network of expert innovation investors who provide smart, connected capital to fuel entrepreneurial change. Prior to earning an MBA in Design Strategy from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, Estela earned a Bachelor of Community Health from NMSU and studied interior design with a concentration in healthcare facility design at The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago.
Dr. Beto Pallares
Dr. Pallares is an active high tech early-stage investor and university lecturer, and conducts research on incubators and accelerators; he also serves on several corporate and venture fund advisory boards. He is a Kauffman Fellow, as well as a Presidio Institute Cross Sector Leadership Fellow. He received a BA in Economics from Brandeis University, and a MBA and PhD in International Business from the University of Texas-El Paso.