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Home | Tag Archives: NMSU’s Arrowhead Center

Tag Archives: NMSU’s Arrowhead Center

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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