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Home | Tag Archives: NMSU’s Arrowhead Center

Tag Archives: NMSU’s Arrowhead Center

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center signs agreement with Minerva Robotics to bring gourmet tortillas to masses

When new technology meets ancient and revered culinary traditions, even classic handmade foods can be improved upon and made more efficiently.

Minerva Robotics, with the help of New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, aims to use computer learning and fresh ingredients to bring gourmet tortillas to homes and businesses in the United States and Mexico.

“Minerva has shown an impressive skill set to launch a startup, developing a prototype, connect with local resources, and fundraising,” said Carlos Murguia, director of Arrowhead Center’s Foster Innovation Exchange (FIX) program. In July, Arrowhead Center’s FIX signed an agreement with Minerva Robotics to continue their journey.

Minerva will be creating the first-of-its-kind tortilla subscription service. Customers will be able to subscribe and receive freshly made tortillas delivered to their homes or businesses.

With robotics, Minerva wants to tailor the use of raw materials, like New Mexico heirloom corn, to each customers’ specifications instead of the typically used, highly processed flours commonly used.

Minerva’s smart tortilla machine, the NixMix, will take high-quality corn in order to replicate the handmade process of tortilla production. It gets its name from nixtamalization, the process by which corn kernels are cooked in an alkaline solution, changing the corn’s chemical structure. It is a critical step that gives tortillas its flavor and texture.

Unfortunately, it’s a labor- and time-intensive method taking up to nine hours from milling the corn to the hot tortilla on the table.

While there are machines pumping out regular store-bought tortillas, the heavily processed ingredients are not like what is made at a home – a flavor and consistency that the NixMix tortilla matches.

“What’s in use now are outdated machines, unchanged technology from 50 years ago with a lot of inefficiency,” said J.R. Rosillo, CEO of Minerva Robotics, who has been launching startups for the past 3 years. “We want to cater to a growing Hispanic market in the U.S. It’s the largest minority, approximately 18 percent of the U.S. population. We have an initial target of 50,000 Mexican restaurants in the U.S. and over 80,000 tortilla shops in Mexico with our product.”

Rosillo, along with Chief Marketing Officer Renata Salcedo, Chief Technology Officer Marco Moreno and Country Director Fernando Nuñez, will merge their resources with those of Arrowhead Center to make the move into the Mexican and United States markets.

“Arrowhead is able to offer a soft landing for Minerva to launch the startup in New Mexico and take full advantage of our network of advisors who can guide the way,” said Kathryn Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center. “Minerva already has had the support of NMSU faculty to discuss different types of New Mexico-grown corn that would be a selling point for not only the product, but also valuable for our state’s economic development abroad.”

Minerva Robotics looks to hire students and recent graduates of NMSU and become advisers for those interested in engaging the Mexican market with the benefits of the home base in New Mexico.

“New Mexico is a fertile territory where community, agricultural diversity, and collaboration will create a scenario of innovation and progress,” said Rosillo. Salcedo added, “For us, we want to share, through technology, our traditional tortilla-making methods with the world.”

For more information about Minerva Robotics, click here. To learn more about Arrowhead Center’s FIX program, the program’s website

Author: Cassie McClure – NMSU

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For updates on all news from around Las Cruces and Southern New Mexico, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center, City of Las Cruces Economic Development working to create local business accelerators

New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center will offer two free business accelerators designed to help Las Cruces businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Las Cruces BizSprint will run two eight-week sessions for 30 local companies in the late summer and fall, and will focus on best practices in business management and e-commerce training.

“We are together working to help our small businesses adapt and find new opportunities,” said Griselda Martinez, City of Las Cruces Economic Development director. “Our local businesses are the core of our economy and the source of jobs for our community members. When they grow stronger, it helps us all. We are committed to continue to find ways to assist and support.”

New Mexico businesses and industries have been devastated by the effects of elements such as mandatory closure of non-essential businesses, stay-at-home orders that severely curtailed business patronage and foot traffic, and consumers forced to spend less due to reduced income.

“We’ve seen a shift in the needs of businesses that come to Arrowhead Center to pivot their business model because of the pandemic,” said Kathryn Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center. “Our programs are flexible in that they shift to build on the needs of each cohort for different sprints.”

Each cohort will support 15 businesses and each session will last eight weeks. BizSprint will offer participants intensive, cohort-based experiences that guide entrepreneurs through business creation, pivot and growth, with an emphasis on customer discovery, market insight and e-commerce. There will also be time dedicated to teaching the basics of economics, building an online presence and cash management.

New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center and the City of Las Cruces Economic Development Department are partnering to offer two sessions of Arrowhead’s BizSprint business accelerator to help Las Cruces businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. | Photo courtesy NMSU

Participants will gain access to high-quality curriculum, exposure to resources, connections within the NMSU system, different

opportunities, one-on-one assistance and mentorship from Arrowhead staff members and the organization’s large network of Enterprise Advisors – experts in industry sectors and/or business development areas necessary for successful entrepreneurship.

“We designed the Las Cruces BizSprint program to assist local businesses affected by COVID-19,” said Dana Catron, director of Strategic Operations at Arrowhead Center. “This programming will help participants maintain solvency at present and build capacity for resilience in future times of economic uncertainty.”

Because BizSprint is delivered virtually, the program is positioned to help businesses immediately, even while social distancing is still mandated.

Applications for the first cohort are being accepted, with a start date in mid-August. Apply for the free Las Cruces BizSprint via this link.

For more information, contact Isabella Pedicone at iped@nmsu.edu.

Author: Cassie McClure – NMSU

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For updates on all news from around Las Cruces and Southern New Mexico, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center offers free webinar series to help businesses get online

New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center will offer a free webinar series for businesses needing to promote themselves online during the COVID-19 crisis.

Inspired by Arrowhead’s popular BizSprint accelerator, this series will help business owners craft their personal online strategy, develop an online brand, launch their website, and manage social media. All webinars stand alone or can be attended as a series.

The first webinar will be at 11 a.m. May 8.

“During the first webinar session, we’ll explore the first step: planning,” said Isabella Pedicone, senior program specialist at Arrowhead Accelerator Programs. “You’ll learn how to analyze target audiences, how to discover their online behavior, where they are in cyberspace and how to reach them. We’ll touch on how to identify the competition and how to go about defining your competitive advantage online.”

The second webinar in the series, “Developing an Online Brand,” will take your identified competitive advantage and uniqueness to form an online brand identity. It will take place at 11 a.m. May 15.

The third in the series, “Launching Your Website,” will allow participants to learn about planning the look, feel and flow of their website, including what pages are needed. They’ll learn the practical applications of how to get started (buying a domain, purchasing hosting, picking a layout), how to make their website found online by customers and how to create an online storefront. That webinar will be May 22.

The fourth and last in the webinar series, “Social Media,” will cover creating a presence on popular social media platforms and learning about their demographics, the different content needs for each, how to create a social media calendar and a walk-through for setting up a Facebook business page. The webinar will be May 29.

The time for the last two in the series will be announced closer to the date. Register for the first webinar online. For more information and registration links when they become available, please visit the Arrowhead Center’s website.

Author – Cassie McClure – NMSU

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For updates on all news from around Las Cruces, please visit our news partners at Las Cruces Today

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center creates collaborative framework for Chihuahua entrepreneurs

New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Chihuahua, Mexico, after Arrowhead Center was selected as one of the international accelerators for an agreement with the head of Chihuahua’s Ministry of Innovation and Economic Development.

“We are extremely excited to offer our resources and programs to entrepreneurs in Chihuahua,” said Kathryn Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center.

This collaboration will give Mexican startups the ability to take part in business training or local advising to examine potential customers, viability of products and strategic business plans.

“A large benefit for Chihuahua startups will be to have a chance at validating their projects for the U.S. markets with the network of business advisors at Arrowhead Center,” said Lisbeily Domínguez Ruvalcaba, director of the Innovation and Competitiveness Institute of Chihuahua State.

In May 2019, the Chihuahua government signed an agreement with other public institutions to promote startups. Specifically, Chihuahua Mayor Maru Campos and director of Economic and Tourism Development María Angélica Granados Trespalacios signed an agreement with Alejandra de la Vega, head of the Ministry of Innovation and Economic Development of the State Government, and with five international accelerators. Through this agreement, Mexico’s government agencies can provide support for transportation, lodging and per diem for Chihuahua startups.

During Innovation Week 2019, organized by the state with the support of the municipality of Chihuahua, the official ceremony for the MOU took place Nov. 14 at the Technology Hub in Juárez, Mexico. Among the other accelerating institutions participating in this agreement are Colorado’s Techstars, Boston’s MassChallenge, Chile’s Start-Up Chile, Switzerland’s Seedstars, United Kingdom’s DAI International and Texas’ Tech Ranch.

“With New Mexico and Chihuahua sharing a border, we have a closer understanding of some of the more unique needs of many of the emerging businesses in the state,” said Carlos Murguia, director of international entrepreneurship services at Arrowhead Center. “By virtue of that shared connection, we look forward to stimulating bilateral economic growth for both states.”

Julio Casillas, investment forum coordinator for Chihuahua Innova, agreed with Murguia.

“The creation of collaborative bridges like these is that it will accelerate the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems in both New Mexico and Chihuahua, along with promoting the creation of bi-national enterprises,” Casillas said.

Author: Cassie McClure – NMSU

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center celebrates launch of American Indian Business Enterprise Center

American Indian entrepreneurs now have a number of resources available to help launch their business ideas thanks to a new center at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, made possible by a grant from U.S. Minority Business Development Agency.

The $260,000 grant is the first awarded to NMSU and Arrowhead Center by the MBDA, and has helped to create the American Indian Business Enterprise Center, which will expand Studio G, a business accelerator for students and recent alumni, to American Indian student entrepreneurs across New Mexico.

The AIBE Center allows participants to utilize Arrowhead Center’s resources including an advisory network of business experts, and offers training via online and in-person classes. The center also gives American Indian entrepreneurs workspaces for their start-up businesses, allowing them to find a foothold in their industry.

“As part of our strategic plan, NMSU is working to further amplify our extension and outreach efforts, especially in terms of economic development and entrepreneurship,” said NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu. “Programs like this, and the results we are expecting, are tremendously important for our native populations and others across the state.”

Brooke Montgomery is the Studio G and AIBE deputy site director. Arrowhead Center already has a network of 14 sites throughout the state and in tribal nations to work with AIBE.

Locally, both the NMSU Indian Resources Development program and NMSU’s American Indian Program are already working with AIBE.

Navajo Technical University director Ben Jones joined New Mexico State University Chancellor Dan Arvizu and Arrowhead Center staff for the official ribbon cutting of the American Indian Business Enterprise Center Nov. 14 at Arrowhead Center in Las Cruces. | NMSU photo by Justin Santiago

“The efforts of Ms. Brooke Montgomery and NMSU will enable NTU to establish the presence of Studio G to grow our own entrepreneurs,” said Ben Jones, director of Navajo Technical University.

Jones and Arvizu attended the ribbon cutting, which featured video statements from two U.S. senators from New Mexico.

“This is an incredible opportunity for New Mexico State University to expand its work across the state promoting economic growth for young Native Americans by partnering with universities and cultural centers across New Mexico,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Udall in a video message. “The business enterprise project will help make sure native communities can thrive for generations to come.”

In a separate video message, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich said, “I’m always impressed with the way that the Arrowhead Center provides entrepreneurs – students and adults alike – with access to training, capital and resources they need to succeed. I’m thrilled to see Arrowhead Center put this proven model to work for entrepreneurs in our state’s tribal communities.”

Arrowhead Center hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center November 14.

For more information about the AIBE, contact Montgomery at mbrooke@nmsu.edu or 575-646-1859.

Author: Adriana M. Chavez – NMSU

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center awarded grant to establish American Indian Business Enterprise program

Native American communities will have a new home to explore their business ideas at New Mexico State University.

Arrowhead Center, NMSU’s entrepreneurship and innovation center, has been awarded a grant by the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency to establish the American Indian Business Enterprise program.

The $260,000 grant will expand Studio G, a business accelerator for students and recent alumni, to the American Indian Community. AIBE harnesses Arrowhead Center’s network of business experts, offers training via online and in-person classes and has workspaces for start-up businesses to find a foothold in their industry.

“These grants affirm MBDA’s long-standing commitment to economic development in Indian Country,” said Henry Childs II, MBDA national director. “There are many examples of economic success in Indian Country. This includes areas such as energy, tourism, and gaming. Indigenous communities are a vital part of regional economies but are often disconnected from efforts to promote regional and rural development.”

Childs added, “This disconnect contributes to disparities in socio-economic outcomes experienced in Indian Country. MBDA’s investments will help link Indigenous communities with regional and rural development efforts.”

Locally, both the NMSU Indian Resources Development program and NMSU’s American Indian Program are eager to take part in the development at Arrowhead Center.

“The American Indian Program is excited to work with AIBE,” said Michael Ray, AIP director. “As our Aggies share their plans for shaping the future, we know they will have great guidance and a strong support system.”

Claudia Trueblood, IRD director, said that the mission of IRD is to connect New Mexico indigenous youth with educational and on-the-job opportunities in business, agriculture, natural resources and engineering.

“Arrowhead Center’s AIBE program, in partnership with IRD, will afford more opportunities for Native American students to start and grow their own businesses which in turn will inspire other students and contribute to the economic development of tribal communities,” she said.

Brooke Montgomery, Studio G and AIBE deputy site director, said that Arrowhead Center already has a network of 14 sites throughout the state and in Tribal Countries to work with the program.

AIBE also has a student ambassador, Keanu Jones of Navajo Tech University, who is excited to get started.

“As a student at Navajo Technical University, I’m looking forward to the future developments of this great opportunity,” Jones said. “Economic development is a huge issue across Indian Country and by taking small steps to develop avenues for entrepreneurs to grow and sustain could be an answer.”

Join in the celebration with Provost Carol Parker, Navajo Technical University director Ben Jones and Arrowhead Center staff for the official ribbon cutting of the AIBE at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at Arrowhead Center, 655 Research Dr. in Las Cruces. Register for free online.

For more information about the AIBE, contact Brooke Montgomery at mbrooke@nmsu.edu or 575-646-1859.

Author: Cassie McClure – NMSU

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center creates women-focused entrepreneur accelerator with U.S. SBA award

New Mexico women entrepreneurs will have a new avenue for growing their business thanks to New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The SBA announced Arrowhead Center as one of its winners for the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, enabling the entrepreneurial hub to start a women-focused business accelerator with a $50,000 award.

“The SBA funds support the launch of WE Sprint, a five-week accelerator for women entrepreneurs to test the feasibility of their ideas and explore funding opportunities through the federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer award-based programs,” said Zetdi Sloan, director of Arrowhead Accelerator Programs.

She said, “These funds infuse our accelerator with additional operating capital to focus on support efforts that intentionally bring a more diverse set of innovators and founders to the table to drive high-growth potential startups.”

Sloan also said that participants in WE can receive travel stipends to attend workshops and conferences and micro-grants up to $1,500 to cover expenses typically tied to startups, like hiring a patent lawyer to solidify and protect emerging and new technologies. Arrowhead Center has for three years held the WE Mean Business conference at NMSU and hosts monthly WE Coffee Meetings to encourage networking.

“We want to leverage partnerships between women leaders in tech organizations and those women who may have that first idea for a business or those who are already starting up and looking for their next steps,” Sloan said. “Arrowhead Center is a place for what we call inspiration capital. If we feature women who have been success launching companies and securing investments, we can create a change at how women, particularly in New Mexico, see themselves as entrepreneurs or innovators.”

The SBA announced 60 winners representing accelerators and incubators across 39 states and territories that will receive a total of $3 million in awards to support startups and entrepreneurs researching and developing STEM-related innovations.

This assistance includes support for company formation as well as awareness and education on the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. The prizes are not for direct investment in small businesses.

The SBA coordinates the SBIR/STTR programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund, which each year provide more than $3.7 billion in early stage and seed capital totaling over 5,000 awards to small businesses. Companies supported by the SBIR/STTR programs often generate some of the most important breakthroughs each year in the U.S.

Contact Zetdi Sloan at ati@nmsu.edu to learn more about or apply for WE Sprint.

Author: Cassie McClure – NMSU

Ag Company Receives Investment Through AgSprint Program at NMSU’s Arrowhead Center

Cliff Hudson, chief technology officer of Systems Technology Solutions, is no stranger to agriculture.

Hudson grew up on his family’s farm and regularly rode a tractor with his grandfather while he cultivated corn. He has a deep appreciation for farming and community. His company recently secured a $20,000 investment for GreenAI, an innovative sensor technology for crop analytics, through the AgSprint business accelerator program at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center.

STS developed GreenAI in response to an ongoing agricultural challenge of a person or organization being data rich and information poor. They collect large amounts of data, but the data is not timely, actionable or ready to be implemented in the field. GreenAI brings value to the data that people and organizations are already collecting.

“Everything is connected, including agriculture,” said Hudson, an electrical engineer. “We live in a systems network world, like it or not. We have to think and design from a systems standpoint – where does your data go, where are you collecting data from and what do you do with it once you have it? I really see that technologies are not singular for a farm. They are community-based, because we can collect data and develop better trends for an entire farming community rather than just a single farming operation.”

Hudson’s team includes managing director Deborah Hudson, chief engineer Gary Bullock and software engineer Ziad Arafat.

As part of deploying the company’s minimum viable product, GreenAI needed to identify willing customers that could participate in an iterative design process with the team. The team turned to Arrowhead Center at NMSU, which supports innovators and entrepreneurs at all stages. The team participated in AgSprint, a business accelerator program designed grow agtech startups. Through the program, the team worked to identify which customers would support the team in the next design phase.

“When you’re an early-stage company, that engagement with the customer is so important,” Hudson said. “We call it customer-centric design process, engaging the customer to fully understand their needs. AgSprint gave us that essential influence and technical approach. The program’s curriculum was incredibly beneficial. We continue to use it, even past the end of the cohort.”

AgSprint curriculum is based on National Science Foundation I-Corps curriculum and focuses on mentoring and supporting teams as they move through the customer discovery process, with the goal of commercialization, or taking a technology to the marketplace. AgSprint’s business mentors come from Arrowhead’s network of Enterprise Advisors, and are part of a rich web of available resources to entrepreneurs – the Arrowhead Innovation Network.

“The mentorship experience base at Arrowhead you just can’t get anywhere, and they are focused on the teams and supporting and nurturing them through the process,” Hudson said. “Tough love, too. They give you honest feedback, we could not have accessed that team of advisors anywhere else.”

The $20,000 investment in GreenAI, sponsored by Arrowhead’s industry partner New Mexico Gas Company, will open additional doors for STS by accelerating the placement of their minimum viable product in the field.

“Our beachhead market is corn, and working heavily in Indiana with corn farmers is our first market opportunity. With the deployment next year with the planting season, we need to be ready with that first capability and so the investment gives us the needed support for materials and resources. We’re cloud-based so we have Amazon Web Services, and we’ll be bringing two more software engineers onboard, so the investment will also help us out from the labor standpoint,” Hudson said.

Another asset Hudson appreciates is the access to NMSU talent. The team has several students from the NMSU College of Engineering working with and interning for GreenAI, with whom they were connected by Arrowhead Center.

“The way Arrowhead has been placed and integrated in NMSU, it is that pathway for future entrepreneurs. It’s really vital from a community standpoint, honestly. We need a reason for our kids to stay here in New Mexico. Toward this, Arrowhead and NMSU together support programs like AgSprint that are essential to the future of our state,” Hudson said.

To learn more about how Arrowhead Center’s AgSprint business accelerator program is facilitating innovation in agriculture in partnership with the NMSU College of ACES and industry partners, visit arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/agsprint, or contact Zetdi Sloan, program director, at 575-646-7833 or zrunyan@nmsu.edu.

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 DanielsFund.org to learn more.

To learn more about Arrowhead’s programs, visit arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu.

Author:  Lauren Goldstein – NMSU

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