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Home | Tag Archives: arrowhead center

Tag Archives: arrowhead center

Aggie Shark Tank gearing up to showcase, launch new businesses

The fifth annual Aggie Shark Tank, sponsored by the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship and hosted by Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University, will be held on Thursday, October 3 at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts, 1000 East University Avenue in Las Cruces.

The event allows NMSU student and alumni entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas to local and national “sharks” for the chance to gain investment or other types of assistance to help their business grow.

“We’re grateful that there are leaders in business who are willing to share not only their financial investment in our students and alumni, but also crucial advice and connections from their years of experience,” said Carlos Murguia, Arrowhead Center’s Shark Tank manager.

Sisbarro appreciates seeing the new ideas that come out of students and alumni.

“Aggie Shark Tank is one of my favorite things to be involved with,” said Sisbarro. “Since its creation we’ve seen the program grow and the students’ new business ideas really grow and expand. It’s exciting to be a part of it and I look forward to this year’s Shark Tank experience.”

Aggie Shark Tank is open to the public from 4-6:30 p.m. with a reception to follow. Sharks are local investors and nationwide venture capitalists eager to see new businesses, and include Beto Pallares, fund manager of Arrowhead Innovation Fund; Samara Mejia Hernandez, founding partner of Chingona Ventures; Lou Sisbarro, cofounder of Sisbarro Dealerships; and Jason Torres, a healthcare angel investor.

While the audience is not solicited for investment of any kind, it’s a great way to watch and learn about new developments coming from student and alumni startup businesses, and join participants at the reception. Get your free tickets today by registering online.

Learn more about the program by visiting the website. For more information, contact Carlos Murguia at or 575-646-2025.

Author: Cassie McClure – NMSU

Arrowhead Center’s Foster Innovation Exchange Aids Regional Entrepreneurs

On any given day, Richard Guadalupe McDonald, a Las Cruces biomedical researcher and former Army captain, has dozens of ideas for new and life-changing technologies running around his head.

Most recently, he’s been focused on a small device that he hopes will save military and civilian lives by providing a safer way to enhance visibility under dangerous conditions.

The only problem? Creating a prototype through the private sector to show to potential investors or other scientists for collaboration would cost at least $15,000 to $25,000, he estimates.

“I’m not Boeing,” McDonald said. “I can’t spend that much on each iteration of a prototype for this project.”

That’s where an initiative that rolled out last fall at Arrowhead Center, the entrepreneurship and innovation hub at New Mexico State University, comes in. Known as the Foster Innovation Exchange, or FIX, the initiative is funded by a $1 million gift in 2017 from Paul and Alejandra De La Vega Foster of El Paso, given as part of NMSU’s $125 million Ignite Aggie Discovery fundraising campaign.

FIX has two flagship programs – Community Entrepreneurship Partnerships and Product Design Awards. Zetdi Sloan, director of FIX, said the overarching goal of the programs is to create a space where innovative student- and community-based projects and partnerships can take shape.

“We’ve designed FIX to bring together researchers, students, industry, government and community into new collaboration opportunities that will help address some of the challenges that face the Borderplex region,” Sloan said.

McDonald received a FIX Product Design Award, allowing him to work with Arrowhead Center’s computer-assisted design team of engineering students, which helped him produce a 3-D printed prototype of his device’s exterior and advised him on how to purchase and integrate the technology’s micro-electronic components to create a prototype for under $200.

The new prototype represents a leap forward on McDonald’s path to publishing about the technology in an appropriate peer-reviewed journal and making it openly available worldwide.

“It takes that mountain out of the way: “Oh, this is impossible.” That’s the biggest hurdle,” he said. “You can actually move forward on your path. Often that’s the hurdle –  you need to show somebody something. Not a napkin drawing. When they can see and touch a prototype, you’ve already got their attention.”

Next up, he’ll be working with the team on miniaturizing the components and exploring what additional micro-instruments or features could potentially add value to the design.

Help like this is available to companies, inventors and entrepreneurs throughout New Mexico and the Borderplex region through the FIX Product Design Awards. Potential clients can apply for a competitive award of services in a growing list of specialties, including CAD modeling, microelectronics design, prototyping and manufacturing for physical products.

Sloan said the projects chosen for the FIX Product Design Awards are those that have the greatest market feasibility and potential to have an economic impact through job creation in the region. Since the program’s launch last fall, 17 clients have received awards, making them eligible for up to about 50 hours of work from the team. Selected clients work with engineering students to customize their prototype design, while the students gain valuable experience in the process.

Will O’Neill, a senior set to earn his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology in December, said working with the different types of projects he’s seen from clients gives him an edge when applying for future design positions. He’s interested in prototype design as a potential career path, possibly in the military technology or medical fields.

O’Neill said it’s not just the technical skills he’s been honing through his work in the prototyping lab. “Another thing that I’m learning is being able to talk to a customer, and being able to get the information about what they want out of a product,” he said. “You have to be able to get a product idea across clearly so that everyone can understand the concept and what the individual really wants to create.”

Sloan said the other important facet of FIX is enhancing programs to support traditionally underserved populations. FIX is doing that by launching the Foster Community Entrepreneurship Partnerships to offer more opportunities for women, veteran and Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs.

FIX will support expanded programming for Arrowhead Center’s Women Entrepreneurs Mean Business conference, set for spring 2019. Plans for the conference include additional mentorship opportunities and workshops, along with speakers who will explore the conference’s themes of diversity and inclusion in entrepreneurship.

“Building on our programs that are created to highlight issues that women, veterans and others face is just part of our goal, though,” Sloan said. “We also want to work toward building an environment here in the Borderplex in which the access and opportunities for people who are overlooked in the world of entrepreneurship become more equal. That means making more people aware of the support that’s available for them and instilling a culture in our region that values having these voices in the conversation about economic development.”

Looking ahead, Sloan said FIX will also introduce periodic Innovation Challenges, which will provide a platform for regional companies of all sizes to crowdsource solutions to their critical business, scientific and technical problems by leveraging the power and resources of NMSU’s body of expertise. Companies interested in posing a problem for an upcoming Innovation Challenge can contact Sloan at or 575-646-7833 for more information.

Arrowhead Center director Kathryn Hansen said the support from the Foster family is essential for the work Arrowhead and its partners in the region are doing to build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“This support is helping Arrowhead break down some of the barriers to economic growth in the Borderplex region and create on-ramps for underserved entrepreneurs,” Hansen said. “We see this program growing in new directions that support innovation and collaboratively applying our resources to address challenges that industry partners face.”

For more information about the Foster Innovation Exchange, or to apply for a FIX Product Design Award, visit the website.

Author:  Amanda Bradford – NMSU

Arrowhead Center Leverages Hunt Gift to build Borderplex Entrepreneurship Ecosystem

In just its second year of operation, the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship, housed at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, has made significant strides in strengthening the region’s entrepreneurial pipeline by focusing on the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, developing exciting new technologies, and forging partnerships that benefit the Borderland.

“We’re so pleased with the progress made through the Hunt Center thus far and look forward to continuing the key initiatives underway, while continuing to seek avenues for expansion,” said Arrowhead Center Director Kathy Hansen.

The Hunt Center was created through a $2.5 million gift provided by the Hunt Family Foundation as part of NMSU’s Ignite Aggie Discovery $125 million comprehensive fundraising campaign.

The funding has helped advance three key programs at Arrowhead Center: the Hunt Student Startup Sponsorships, the Innoventure youth entrepreneurship program for K-12 students, and the LAUNCH technology and business development accelerator and competition.

Hunt Student Startup Sponsorships provide semester-long employment to allow selected student entrepreneurs time to work on their ventures during the academic semesters. Sponsored students receive entrepreneurial training and business development services through Studio G, Arrowhead Center’s student business accelerator program.

“Hunt Sponsorships provide a tremendous opportunity to accelerate student entrepreneurs in our Studio G program,” said Kramer Winingham, director of Studio G. “The program gives students the support and guidance to move their business forward rapidly in just one semester.”

Hunt-sponsored students have focused on a range of products and services, from gyroscope technology to retail fashion to a mobile app helping university students learn to navigate their campuses.

“Thanks to the Hunt Startup Sponsorship, I was able to turn my idea into a minimum viable product,” said Alexis Cornidez, an NMSU senior majoring in individualized studies with a concentration in engineering, economics and management. Cornidez received a sponsorship to work on his business, Maslow, a mobile application that connects college students and supports local economies. “It allowed me to focus not only my time, but my effort toward accomplishing my goals,” he added.

The Innoventure suite of K-12 entrepreneurship education programs from Arrowhead Center has also enjoyed new opportunities through Arrowhead’s relationship with the Hunt Family Foundation, for the first time delivering programming outside of New Mexico.

Community members use the common area at CoWork Oasis in El Paso to collaborate on a project. Arrowhead Center has partnered with CoWork Oasis to help expand the regional reach and resources that both programs offer to entrepreneurs and industry in the Borderplex | Courtesy NMSU

Camp Innoventure, a week-long camp where middle school students get to brainstorm business ideas, put together a business model and create a product to sell at a local market, partnered with the El Paso-based Success Through Technology Education Foundation to bring sessions to schools in El Paso and Tornillo, Texas.

“We had 22 students participate in three camps across El Paso, which we couldn’t have done without the generous financial support from the STTE Foundation and the Hunt Center,” said Innoventure Deputy Director Lydia Hammond, who leads the Camp Innoventure program. “We’re also extremely grateful to our amazing teachers, who led the program at each location and made these camp experiences even more special for our students.”

LAUNCH, Arrowhead Center’s annual accelerator and competition in which teams take NMSU-developed innovations through an intensive four-month program of technology and market validation, is also reaping the benefits of affiliation with the Hunt Center. With Hunt Center support, both the initial investments in participants’ ventures and the award to the overall winner have been bolstered, allowing teams to push the envelope on the new businesses based on the technologies they explore.

“The Hunt Center sponsorship of LAUNCH has been a game-changer, in terms of the amount of resources we’re able to provide promising teams,” Hansen said. “It also allows our winning team the funds they need to take the next steps after the competition.”

Three of the five finalist teams from the most recent round of LAUNCH are in talks with potential industry partners who may license team technologies or determine other ways to collaborate on development.

This year’s winning team, which is seeking to commercialize a novel liner for prosthetic limbs that increase comfort and safety for wearers, has continued to move forward on their project.

“LAUNCH helped me to break the ice, get out of the building, and talk to people,” said team member Neda Sanatkaran, a post-doctoral researcher in NMSU’s Chemical Engineering Department.

These and other Hunt Center programs are also bolstered by a partnership with the CoWork Oasis, an El Paso-based community workspace that provides local entrepreneurs access to tools, mentorship and funding opportunities. CoWork Oasis stages workshops and events to educate entrepreneurs and provide them opportunities to network with fellow creators and others in the community.

With 85 community members at CoWork, the network is growing and the program’s model is being validated. The CoWork Oasis-Hunt Center collaboration is ensuring that Arrowhead Center programs have a regional reach, as well as bringing to each organization the best assets its respective city has to offer.

“Our commitment to Arrowhead Center demonstrates the critical role we know entrepreneurship plays as an economic driver in the Borderplex region,” said Josh Hunt, president of the Hunt Family Foundation. “We are proud to see our investment hard at work to move initiatives forward in support of programs, innovation and successful partnerships. We applaud the ongoing efforts of the team at the Hunt Center for Entrepreneurship.”

Hansen notes that Arrowhead Center will continue to find new ways to expand existing programs, and to explore others that will help clients continue to advance their entrepreneurial journeys.

“We’re not done yet,” Hansen said. “One of the greatest strengths of the Hunt Center is its ability to leverage collaboration among regional players. We have so many great people and groups working on economic development in the Borderplex, and the Hunt Center is a perfect venue to collaborate on that endeavor.”

Author: Amanda Bradford – NMSU

NM FAST Entrepreneur Works to Combat Fraud in Native American Art Market

It’s not hard to call up images from memory – or Google – of New Mexico jewelry. Zia symbols, squash blossoms, Zuni needlepoint, thick waves of Navajo silverwork, and exquisite sterling and turquoise cabochons the size of ripe fruit abound.

For decades, these iconic Native American cultural treasures have shaped the landscape of the state’’s aesthetic and provided value to artists and buyers alike.

However, an investigation into a complicated web of fraud in the Native American art market has brought to light the extent of exploitation of Native American artists and designs. Just this month, National Geographic Digital reported that a well-known Albuquerque business owner pleaded guilty to two felony counts for violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act by “importing into the U.S. contraband jewelry worth $11,800,000 in wholesale value between October 2010 and October 2015.”

Propelled by his inimitable background as a working artist and professional designer, entrepreneur Roy Montibon is working to combat this problem. He knows it will take decades to solve, so in the process he also wants to raise awareness of the issue so artists can protect their work and livelihoods.

Montibon Provenance International’s mission is to transform the global art market with comprehensive, one-of-a-kind solutions that leverage unique scientific and technological discoveries to significantly reduce risk, threats and expense. The innovative technology is not bound by particular markets; rather, it offers a timely and innovative approach that spans the arts and antiquities market, contemporary art market, and Native American art market, as well as the artists and buyers in these markets.

“Fraud is also an economic issue,” Montibon said. “Part of what we’re doing by protecting both artists and buyers has an economic benefit. It will eventually raise the value of the work in the market.”

MPI’s technology protects artifacts of all media, including but not limited to weavings, paintings, jewelry, sculpture and rare books.

MPI lessens the risk and increases confidence for collectors of arts and antiquities.

The company also provides tools to law enforcement for investigations and prosecutions, as well as establishes admissible evidence for court cases. MPI developed a method of identifying and tracking chain-of-custody for a work of art with documentation that cannot be forged. This is a huge step forward, as gallery certificates that currently come with purchased objects are easily forged or counterfeited.

Programs in New Mexico designed to support New Mexico entrepreneurs have been key to the development of Montibon’s technology. The New Mexico Federal and State Technology Partnership program (NM FAST) at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, is helping him pursue a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award to support MPI’s development of a comprehensive system for provenance, cybersecurity and archiving.

Montibon has also been involved with Arrowhead’s Tech Sprint program, sponsored by the U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center for Regional Commercialization and the New Mexico Gas Company, as well as the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program, which connected him with scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

With the help from NM FAST, Montibon is now applying for a Department of Defense SBIR award after meeting with Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) representatives at NM FAST’s Innovation Summit, held in Albuquerque in December 2017. NAVSEA has an interest in solving immediate counterfeiting problems.

Through his work, Montibon was startled to realize that some people willingly buy or order counterfeit merchandise. He insists that it crosses economic boundaries, that even wealthy individuals are happy to buy fakes.

“This situation is mind-blowingly unethical and is why part of my mission is to educate buyers in the ways their actions may harm real people and perpetuate poverty,” Montibon said, explaining that fraud, forgery, theft and counterfeit documentation are separate yet intersecting issues.

Unscrupulous dealers visit artists on reservations and buy up hand-hewn jewelry for as little as $10 per piece, which Montibon says is not an exaggeration. The artist, paid such an exploitative price, will use that much-needed money for living expenses. The dealer then sells the rings online or at shows for, – $200, $300 or $400. – Though not technically illegal, the cycle means these vulnerable artists will never get out of poverty.

“It is similar to the situation of piece rate workers in third-world garment factories,” Montibon said. “But it’s not happening in a third-world country, it’s happening here. For multiple reasons, many tribes tend to not pursue fraud cases, and do not usually follow up with a civil suit.”

Thieves and fraudsters know this vulnerability and perpetuate it. Without the usual risk of high dollar lawsuits, law enforcement attention, or bad press, Native artists make for a juicy target. Montibon equates the situation to the way U.S. banks were easy targets for robbers before the advent of extensive security measures. His technology encircles objects with layers of extensive security and provenance.

MPI directly ties secured documentation to the object and offers extreme privacy for seller and owners in the highly secretive art world, where buyers often have purchasers to stand for them at auction. Montibon honors this anonymity with his work in cybersecurity.

He notes that artificial intelligence will identify patterns and break traditional encryption methods quickly, which poses a massive security risk for everything from trade secrets to medical records. MPI’s method is not dependent on public/private keys or traditional encryption algorithms. Instead, the process requires cultural, not just mathematical knowledge.

“It’s closer to the Rosetta Stone than common encryption methods. The Greek, plus hieroglyphic and demotic Egyptian script has taken researchers and hobby code-breakers decades to decode. Our process is simple, but will be very hard to break, and utilizes long-term data archiving that will not be written to common digital storage media,” Montibon said.

MPI is currently for-profit, working with contemporary artists and collectors to provide a financial base. But the question persists for Montibon – how do we help the most exploited?

MPI is grounded in social entrepreneurship. In the future he will expand with a non-profit arm, or public benefit corporation funded by industry partners to provide services at low or no cost to the most impoverished Native American and indigenous artists. Montibon is not interested in business solely to make money, but rather is committed to a model that does social good.

The Santa Fe Indian Market, produced by the nonprofit organization Southwestern Association for Indian Arts and held weekly at the Palace of the Governors, provides a setting to mitigate fraud, as consumers purchase directly from artists on the Plaza. This setting also offers a chance for artists to educate buyers on their work. Montibon champions this type of direct market and hopes in the future, the same level of integrity can be preserved through other outlets.

He maintains that educating artisans with a campaign that provides assistance in marketing, promotion, and other entrepreneurial support would also bolster efforts to raise awareness.

NM FAST has expanded its reach in assisting native populations with these business aspects. The program is currently collaborating with the Navajo Tech Innovation Center, and national organization theIndependent Native American Intellectual Property Enterprise Council, a non-profit organization “whose sole purpose is to provide direct help and assistance to Native American inventors.”

A SBIR workshop at the Navajo Tech Innovation Center in June will be tailored for the community, and educate attendees on the resources and programs available to them. NM FAST also has an extensive library of resources, such as a video series on its YouTube channel and proposal development documents that provide access to entrepreneurs throughout New Mexico.

An act recently introduced by New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich and co-sponsored by New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, ‘Safeguarding Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act of 2017,’ has received bipartisan support but still needs to be passed through the Senate, and ultimately signed by the President.

“As a New Mexico entrepreneur, the assistance we’ve received, and continue to receive, from Dana Catron’s team at Arrowhead Center has been invaluable,” Montibon said. “Starting up a new business here can be a challenge, but the scientific resources in New Mexico are extensive and accessible. We appreciate all of the state, federal and private entities that support economic development and research programs, including Arrowhead Center. Dana and her team are always there to mentor and help in any way that they can. They are the real deal and I highly recommend them to any entrepreneur in the state.”

Native artists and tribes interested in participating in the launch of MPI’s Protect Sovereign Native Art Initiative as beta-test clients can join by contacting MPI directly. To engage with MPI, visit

For more information on NM FAST, visit NM FAST is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Author: Lauren Goldstein – NMSU

Arrowhead Center Expands Studio G Student Incubator to UNM, Five Other Institutions

Thanks to a grant from the Daniels Fund, Arrowhead Center has expanded Studio G to six new campuses outside the New Mexico State University system in an unprecedented collaboration designed to greatly expand the pipeline of entrepreneurship education and economic development in the state.

The $350,000 grant award was received by Arrowhead Center in 2017 from the Colorado-based Daniels Fund in support of entrepreneurship education in New Mexico.

Arrowhead Center is using that funding to support personnel and operational costs to launch the program at each site. Institutions across the state applied for the competitive opportunity to host a Studio G site at their campus.

At each site, a campus champion will spearhead the student outreach, promotion and community engagement that is necessary to build momentum for the program.

Studio G is also available to students at Navajo Technical University, with support from the Kellogg Foundation.

Studio G at University of New Mexico Anderson School of Management
Alberto Solis:

Studio G at Western New Mexico University
David Scarborough:

Studio G at New Mexico Tech
Youngbok Ryu:

Studio G at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell iCenter
Chad Smith:

Studio G at Santa Fe Community College
Kathleen Finn-Brown:

Studio G at San Juan College Enterprise Center
Judith Castleberry:

Author: Amanda Bradford – NMSU

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center Helps Company Develop ‘Wild Horse Feeding Stations’

Roch Hart is a third-generation New Mexican with a deep, genuine appreciation for the land and its expansive mountains, desert and scrub, and the petroglyphs that adorn far reaches of the private, 20,000-acre ranch he manages.

Hart recognizes that preservation is the key to maintaining New Mexico’s land heritage.

As a retired police officer, former plant manager, tour guide operator and photographer, Hart maintains that he became a rancher almost by accident. It is through this position that he’s used entrepreneurial thinking to to identify a problem at his workplace, in this case a 20,000 acre ranch, and develop a solution for a costly situation.

There’s a wild horse problem in New Mexico, as well as all of the arid west, and the general public is in the dark about the issue. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Land Management spends an astonishing $80 million dollars per year on the capture and care of overpopulated wild horses, also known as feral horses.

Hart worries that the public won’t react until the more inhumane options of mass roundups and euthanasia become visible and routine.

His company, Wildlife Protection Management, developed an innovative, scalable and humane option. It is a feeding station for wild horses that is equipped with the capability for remote injection of contraceptives. This patent-pending method is conducted with remote delivery. After the horse has placed itself in the proper position, an operator nearly 300 miles away is able to dispatch the injection via video surveillance and controls.

Hart is a graduate of Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University’s AgSprint program, a five-month accelerator for innovation in agriculture, funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration and New Mexico Gas Company.

Wild horses are merely startled, not hurt, and return almost immediately to graze at the feed station. In addition to the contraceptive, and in anticipation of Radio-Frequency Identification technology, the system has the capability to deliver a microchip so that horses can be monitored for health and behavior.

The system has been proven to fire at least two darts at once, which could include a combination of contraceptive, RFID chip and/or vaccination.

“The system has produced a ‘wow’ effect,” Hart said. “This is really game-changing and will form a new industry. No one in the world has tried to do this yet.”

Hart anticipates the next prototype, enhanced with solar power and other features, to be ready in April. Experts are supportive of WPM’s innovation prototype and its vast possibilities.

“The remote capability of the WPM device is an amazing tool in that it saves time and manpower. The ability to deliver vaccine or birth control in this method is far more humane than having to chase these feral horses, for capture and vaccination or individually darting from a distance,” said Dr. Ralph Zimmerman, New Mexico State Veterinarian. “To have the ability to maintain the needs of the horses(or other potential target species with minimal fear and stress to these animals is huge. The system could also be used to sedate adoptable animals for handling and adoption, providing another non-lethal method of population control. Obviously, in this case you could schedule appropriate staffing for safe horse handling.”

The innovation is also a species-specific target, which means that the technology used to humanely control wild horse populations can also be adapted to feral dogs, feral pigs, deer, and other wild animals.

Wildlife Protection Management is in the process of raising funds for another round of efficacy testing, focused in part on RFID delivery “a vital step toward attracting additional federal grants and private investment.” The company launched a crowdfunding campaign this month, and they aim to raise $50,000 to continue testing the humane and cost-saving solution.

Click on the highlighted text to support WPM’s crowdfunding campaign to preserve both New Mexico’s wild horse legacy as well as its enchanted land.

Author: : Lauren Goldstein – NMSU

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center Receives Grant for Entrepreneurship Education

Arrowhead Center, the entrepreneurship and innovation hub at New Mexico State University, has received a new two-year grant to support entrepreneurship education in New Mexico.

The NMSU Foundation was awarded $350,000 from the Colorado-based Daniels Fund to support programming at Arrowhead Center.

The grant is follow-on funding for expansion of Arrowhead’s Cradle-to-Career Entrepreneurial Pipeline grant, awarded by the Daniels Fund in 2015.

The funding will foster the growth and expanded reach of Arrowhead Center’s education and training programs for New Mexico’s next generation of entrepreneurs, from kindergarten through graduate school.

“This additional funding will enable us to reach more students throughout our state and help them build the foundational skills and entrepreneurial mindset that will prepare them to be the community and business leaders that New Mexico needs,” said Arrowhead Center Director Kathy Hansen. “We’re grateful to the Daniels Fund for believing in and supporting the work we’re doing to strengthen our state’s economy through education.”

Arrowhead’s Innoventure educational programming for students in kindergarten through 12th grade nurtures a new generation of innovators with skills in technical design and business and financial savvy, and gives students a deeper understanding of how technical advances are made and brought to the marketplace.

Expansion efforts will include new, age-appropriate learning modules for financial literacy and ethics into existing curriculum. In addition, Arrowhead will engage more elementary school students in Innoventure Jr. – Arrowhead’s K-5 program – by developing relationships with elementary schools across New Mexico. For instance, the program currently engages with 35 schools.

The Daniels grant will help expand that number to 140 schools, a 300 percent increase. Innoventure Jr. will also add a capstone competition for fourth and fifth graders.

Camp Innoventure, an established entrepreneurship summer camp for middle-schoolers, will promote community participation as well as camper enrollment through outreach to schools, chambers of commerce, banks and community groups.

Studio G, Arrowhead’s student and alumni business accelerator, will support additional student business incubators at colleges throughout New Mexico. The program will use the model of Studio G expansion to NMSU system community colleges in Alamogordo, Doña Ana, Carlsbad and Grants. Six New Mexico community colleges and universities have already submitted applications of interest, which would double the number of affiliated Studio G campuses.

The Daniels Fund, established by cable television pioneer Bill Daniels, is a private charitable foundation dedicated to making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming through its grants program, scholarship program and ethics initiative. Visit to learn more.

To learn more about Arrowhead’s programs, visit

Author:  Lauren Goldstein – NMSU

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center receives $300K from U.S. EDA for Seed Capital Fund

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced that Arrowhead Center, the entrepreneurship and innovation hub at New Mexico State University, has been awarded a $300,000 grant through the Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies program to support the Arrowhead Innovation Fund, an early stage seed capital fund for promising New Mexico startup companies.

“This investment will have a significant impact on the success of the Arrowhead Innovation Fund and support the launch of more startups here in New Mexico,” said Arrowhead Center Director Kathy Hansen. “Truly innovative research and technology is coming out of NMSU and its Arrowhead Center clients, this fund helps accelerate taking those innovations from the idea stage to market, addressing the gap in New Mexico in early stage seed funding.”

Arrowhead Innovation Fund has commitments for a total investment of $800,000 from New Mexico’s Catalyst Fund, a $20 million “fund of funds” to support New Mexico companies, and $500,000 from the NMSU Foundation, as well as from other private investors.

Arrowhead Innovation Fund is currently accepting applications from promising New Mexico-based companies at, with a goal of investing in approximately 12 companies over the next three to four years.

The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration leads the RIS program to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation.

The program is authorized through the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010.

In the current cohort, 42 organizations – including nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations from 28 states – received more than $17 million to create and expand cluster-focused proof-of-concept and commercialization programs, and early-stage seed capital funds through RIS.

“These projects will enable entrepreneurs in communities across the United States to start new businesses, manufacture innovative products, and export them throughout the world, increasing America’s global competitiveness,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in announcing the award.

This fourth cohort of Regional Innovation Strategies awardees expands the RIS portfolio to eight new states and continues to build vibrant regional entrepreneurial economies. The Arrowhead Innovation Fund was selected from a pool of more than 217 applicants.

For more information visit Arrowhead Innovation Fund websiteArrowhead Center at NMSU, or information about the Regional Innovation Strategies program and the awardee projects, visit

Author: Amanda Bradford – NMSU

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center Small Business Program Awarded $125K in Federal Funding

The New Mexico Federal and State Technology Partnership Program, housed at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, was one of just 21 universities and organizations nationwide to receive a FAST grant this year from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

NM FAST, which is entering its third year of funding, will use the $125,000 award to provide free proposal development assistance to small businesses across New Mexico that are pursuing Small Business Innovation and Small Business Technology Transfer funding.

The SBIR/STTR programs are administered by the SBA, and collectively support more than $2.5 billion in federal research and development funding to small businesses every year. Federal agencies with R&D budgets that exceed $100 million must allocate 3.2 percent of their R&D budget to support these programs’ 11 agencies currently participate.

“The New Mexico SBA office is excited to team with Arrowhead Center as one of our newest SBA FAST partners, promoting the importance and value of the SBIR and STTR programs for our entrepreneurs to develop commercially viable innovations,” said John Garcia, deputy director of the NM SBA office. “Our new partnership will enhance the technical assistance and training for every stage of business growth and development creating jobs throughout the State of New Mexico.”

Proposals were jointly reviewed by the SBA, the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation, and FAST awards were made based on the merits of each proposal. Only one proposal was submitted per state and required the endorsement of the governor.

The NM FAST program has placed particular emphasis on engaging with small businesses in rural New Mexico, educating them on the SBIR/STTR programs and how they can take advantage of the non-dilutive funding offered every year. The state has a wealth of innovative ideas and technologies that remain untapped or shelved because they lack the funding to get off the ground. The SBIR/STTR programs provide that critical support necessary during the R&D and pre-commercialization phase.

“We’re very excited to see more funding for our partners at Arrowhead as they continue to help New Mexico companies succeed,” said Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Matt Geisel.

NM FAST will continue to provide New Mexico small businesses with free assistance via mentoring, match-making, and SBIR/STTR workshops. New initiatives will include the build-out of an online resource library, which will feature informational video podcasts and audio files, along with documents such as compliance matrices and proposal templates.

“Arrowhead Center looks forward to continuing the work NM FAST has built during its first two years of funding,” said Kathryn Hansen, director and CEO of Arrowhead Center. “Providing hands-on assistance to small businesses throughout the state not only fulfills Arrowhead’s mission to provide entrepreneurs access to critical resources, it also contributes to New Mexico’s economy at-large.”

The NM FAST Partnership Program provides small businesses with:

– Assistance in identifying appropriate solicitations and topic areas;

– How-to information on agency registrations and electronic proposal submission;

– Guidance on proposal preparation, including assessments of technical objectives and hypotheses and drafting supporting documents such as biographical sketches, resources and budgets;

– Specifics on the target agency’s requirements for commercialization content in Phase I/Phase II proposals; and

– Technical reviews and edits of proposals with feedback.

In addition, NM FAST provides eligible small businesses micro-grants of $650 to cover the expenses of professional services such as commercialization plan assistance, development partner identification assistance, research partner identification assistance, counsel on patents and technology licensing, and indirect cost rate advisement for proposal development.

For more information, contact Dana Catron, program manager for the NM FAST program, at 505-358-4039 or

Author: Dana Catron – NMSU

Health Tech Startups Across NM Invited to New ‘Virtual Accelerator’ at Arrowhead Center

In the health technology industry, innovation is a constant. New ideas for devices, products and services are always emerging, but it can be difficult to access the potential customer base that’s needed to test the feasibility of these innovations in a timely manner.

That’s where Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University can help, with a new accelerator program targeting health tech startups across the state in need of customer discovery research opportunities and a network of regional industry contacts to draw from.

Offering participants $2,000 to accelerate their business, HealthSprint 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.

HealthSprint is a four-week program designed to launch successful health technology startups in the state of New Mexico. The program is modeled on the National Science Foundation I-Corps program and designed to support growth-driven companies. Teams do not need any prior NMSU affiliation to be considered, and selected businesses can participate in the program’s curriculum and its weekly workshops virtually or in-person, making HealthSprint accessible for health technology entrepreneurs all across New Mexico.

Previous Arrowhead Accelerator cohorts have included TechSprint, which focused on tech startups in New Mexico, and AgSprint, which attracted agricultural technology businesses from across the Southwest. Another cohort, BizSprint, getting underway this month will support New Mexico-based startups that plan to sell their products and services outside the state.

Khan Muhammad of Albuquerque recently participated in the TechSprint accelerator as the entrepreneurial lead for Electric Avenue Consulting, which is commercializing a technology for in-motion charging of electric vehicles. He said he was surprised by the unique approach that the program offered to learn more about his potential customer base.

“Within the first week,” he said, “I found that what the experience was offering was the opportunity for us to develop and grow our idea in a very short time period in a very safe space.”

Each HealthSprint team has a required structure, including an entrepreneurial lead based in New Mexico, a technical lead and a business mentor, and Arrowhead Center can help connect applicants to potential team members who could fill any roles that are missing. 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.

“HealthSprint is a great opportunity for health tech startups in New Mexico to test the viability of their business, win $2,000 and gain access to some substantial follow-on funding opportunities,” said Kramer Winingham, director of Aggie I-Corps, NMSU’s National Science Foundation Innovation Corps Site at Arrowhead Center. “We are excited to offer the program and look forward to supporting some great health tech businesses in New Mexico.”

As an additional benefit, HealthSprint teams 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 HealthSprint are open through July 23 at The cohort will meet Friday mornings August 11 to September 1.

For additional information, contact Studio G at

Author:  Amanda Bradford-NMSU

ARCA Space to Display new Single-Stage Rocket Wednesday at Arrowhead Center

ARCA Space Corporation will display its new single-stage rocket at Arrowhead Center on the NMSU Las Cruces campus from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 19.

Dumitru Popescu, president of ARCA, said the new rocket is unique in that the single-stage design and advanced composite material construction, along with an engine that is about 30 percent more fuel efficient than current rocket engines, will lower the cost of putting a payload into low-Earth orbit to roughly $1 million per flight.

The new rocket, which will be built entirely in Las Cruces, is currently undergoing the FAA licensing process. Developers are collaborating with NASA’s Kennedy, Ames, Wallops, Marshall, Stennis, and Johnson Space Centers as part of the Cooperative Opportunity Program, aiming to increase the flight readiness of the vehicle. The first flight is scheduled to launch from Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s eastern shore in 2018.

Popescu is also beginning discussions with Spaceport America regarding the possibility of launching the Haas 2CA from New Mexico, an arrangement that Popescu and Spaceport America officials say would bring the state’s aerospace industry full-circle with concept, design, production, testing and launch all taking place in southern New Mexico.

Arrowhead Center, NMSU’s entrepreneurship and innovation hub, is located at 3655 Research Road on the NMSU campus.

Author: Amanda Bradford – NMSU

NMSU’s AgSprint Accelerator Selects First Participants

Six promising startup companies that are developing technology in all areas of agriculture have been selected for a new accelerator program at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center.

The AgSprint accelerator, part of the Arrowhead Technology Incubator, is a five-month venture-builder program designed to support innovation in agriculture by connecting agricultural entrepreneurs to financing, demonstration and validation partners, academic faculty, corporate partners and more.

The cohort of participants includes:

— Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, which is bringing microlivestock to the range as Colorado’s first and only edible insect farm. They sell edible insects to restaurants, food manufacturers and anyone daring enough to choose delicious, nutritious and sustainable food.

— Wildlife Protection Management, which offers a platform to manage and protect wildlife using non-invasive humane means, making it easier, more comprehensive and affordable to set goals for species populations and habitat health.

— Ag Coalition, which offers a digital marketplace where all parties, from suppliers to producers to retailers, may review, evaluate, purchase, and otherwise conduct business in the agricultural supply chain.

— Revolution Agriculture, which creates closed-system, organic farms that produce eight times the yield per square foot, run 100% on renewable energy, use 90% less water, and empower communities to solve food insecurity locally and in any environment.

— Gonzo Farms, which created the Eddy 2.0 Vortex Brewer, which increases beneficial microbes and fungi for optimum reproduction in your soil.

— Enchanted Seeds and Sustainable Management, which offers a management decision platform and certification program that helps agricultural producers properly identify potential products to reach sustainability while considering economics and future agricultural production.

The program’s first five weeks will follow the I-Corps model that tests the feasibility of the venture. I-Corps is a National Science Foundation initiative to leverage university research to create new innovative businesses and increase the economic impact of inventions created at research institutions around the country.

NMSU is one of only 51 academic institutions nationwide to be selected as an I-Corps Site.

Graduates of the AgSprint accelerator will receive $2,000 and the necessary National Science Foundation lineage to apply for the $50,000 national I-Corps program.

Additionally, applicants will be able to receive up to three micro-grants, valued at $650, to cover the expenses of professional services such as technical writing, website development, counsel on patents and technology licensing, and regulatory consulting. Those who show promise will also be invited to continue the program for the next four months, and will be eligible to apply for investment from the Arrowhead Innovation Fund, a venture capital fund focused on seed and early-stage funding for NMSU- and Arrowhead Center-affiliated projects.

Funding for AgSprint is provided by the U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center program and New Mexico Gas Co.

For more information about Arrowhead Center, the Arrowhead Technology Incubator or the Arrowhead Innovation Fund, click HERE.

Author:  Amanda Bradford – NMSU

NMSU Arrowhead Center Expands International Collaboration with Mexico City

An international partnership between Mexico City and New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center continues to expand and provide new opportunities for cross-border collaboration and job creation.

Griselda Martinez, director of Arrowhead Center’s Activando Emprendedores, or “Activating Entrepreneurs” program, has been instrumental in developing an ongoing partnership with the government of Mexico City through Atrévete a Emprender, or “Dare to Be an Entrepreneur”– which utilizes the Spanish-language curriculum of Activando Emprendedores.

The four-month, fast-paced personalized business acceleration process, created and implemented by Arrowhead Center, is a highly selective and competitive entrepreneurship program that engages aspiring entrepreneurs throughout Mexico. The program focuses on business model development and offers a global perspective in considering possible markets for the participating ventures. One of the benefits of this development process is that it initiates potential deal flow of projects that could be located in the region, bringing jobs with a global reach into the local market.

Last year, the government of Mexico City partnered with four public universities to invite the best and brightest aspiring entrepreneurs through a public call for program participation. This year, the government expanded its partnership to include eight public and private universities in Mexico.

This round of Atrévete a Emprender started with more than 300 interdisciplinary and inter-institutional teams, with participants from undergraduate and graduate programs. This month, the government of Mexico City announced the final 10 teams from the most recent cohort, each of whom will receive three months of continuous advising and mentoring. Five additional teams were selected to receive assistance with prototyping.

Martinez said the Mexican student entrepreneurs she has worked with in the program demonstrate a deep knowledge of their projects and a high level of commitment.

“I feel like I am speaking with seasoned PhDs in these areas of research,” she said. “That is the level of intelligence of these students.”

Final team projects in the 2016-2017 cohort come from all disciplines, including such varied areas as agricultural innovations, digital education platforms, app development, and prosthetic health advancements.

Team successes range from overcoming mental barriers to securing end users and licensing technologies. For example, Team Biofloxi developed a plant-derived and biodegradable detergent. The team initially imagined their beachhead market would be mothers who shop in traditional grocery stores. During an intense customer discovery process, the team observed consumer detergent purchasing behavior at a natural and organic foods store, after which they realized a potential for higher-income markets. The team had their first sales by the end of the program.

Team OrteProts developed a hip-to-foot prosthetic, along with an augmented reality game to help users integrate the limb and technology for physicians to use to measure tissue damage in a patient’s affected limb. At the time of final team selections, OrteProts secured its first end user, who ordered prototypes of the product for $100,000 pesos. This transaction and user-testing will fast-track the innovation for further medical testing and certification.

Team Kitofruit licensed its technology with the group’s associated university, National Autonomous University of Mexico. The team developed a 100 percent natural coating that preserves perishable fruits and vegetables during transport. The innovation reduces refrigeration requirements, which provides both a reduction in cost and an increase in product quality.

In addition to business and entrepreneurial education, students in Atrévete a Emprender gain relevant skills and professional experiences that benefit them regardless of their next decision in life. Martinez said an overarching goal of the program is to help students situate themselves as powerful thinkers and effective makers.

“If a person doesn’t think change is possible, they won’t push for it,” she said. “Our process forces teams to consider possibilities outside their own contexts. This allows greater opportunities for teams’ businesses to become a reality through the validation they receive from their customers. Only those who believe change is possible will act upon making it happen.”

Author:  Lauren Goldstein – NMSU

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

Author:  Lauren Goldstein – NMSU

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center seeks Applications to Assist Growth-Oriented Entrepreneurs

Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University is now accepting applications for its U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center for Regional Commercialization, which provides a mix of business assistance services designed to help foster economic development within New Mexico’s commercialization ecosystem.

Venture research, impact studies and entrepreneurial training are available through University Center to startups, expanding businesses and governmental organizations in New Mexico. Zetdi Sloan, director of University Center, said the center offers targeted, market intelligence and financial intelligence services to aid entrepreneurs in making faster and more well-informed decisions.

“Starting or expanding a business is all about making informed strategies and taking calculated steps toward generating revenue and obtaining funding,” Sloan said. “To do this, you need to be informed about the facts and figures of the market and feel the pulse of your customers. However, without reliable data, you won’t be able to accomplish any of these goals.”

University Center addresses strategic development and growth challenges such as penetrating new markets, securing funding and refining business models.

For more information, and to apply, click HERE.

Author:  Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU

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