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 arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/
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Author: Amanda Bradford-NMSU