Exploring the Ecosystem

UNDERSTANDING THE UNIVERSITY’S ROLE IN STARTUP ECOSYSTEMS

Submitted by msjostedt on Mon, 2016-11-14 12:04

November 14, 2016

Successful startups are not created in a vacuum. They are connected to networks comprised of faculty, mentors and other innovators. Higher education institutions can play a crucial role in an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and even a more important role within developing economies. We spoke with Dr. Griselda T. Martínez, program director of Spanish Entrepreneurial Training Programs at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center about the impact educational institutions can have on empowering and growing a network within emerging economies.

HOW DO EARLY-STAGE STARTUPS BENEFIT FROM UNIVERSITIES AS AN ACTIVE PARTNER IN THE REGIONAL ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEM?

Startups benefit from university involvement in ecosystems in a number of ways. Universities are hubs of human capital, knowledge, and expertise. They are able to connect entrepreneurs, who are also often innovators, with subject matter experts in areas outside the entrepreneurs’ areas of expertise such as accounting, law, engineering, or business, to name a few. Quite often, university experts serve as consultants, helping entrepreneurs in the process of a startup creation and growth. These relationships are invaluable given the value embedded in the learning process that can be replicated by the entrepreneurs in any other situation.

Universities can also play a critical role in a startup’s vetting process. With a concentration of knowledge in the crucial aspects of launching and growing a business that includes technical as well as business knowledge, universities are able to offer validation checkpoints throughout a startup’s journey. A positive side effect to the vetting process: entrepreneurs behind the startups become more business savvy, more confident, aware of the critical aspects and ready to speak the required and specific language relevant to the different stakeholders. Stakeholders may include potential partners and investors.

Universities and other academic institutions can also offer a venue where ideas can turn into proven concepts by using the technical capabilities such as specialized equipment and the technical expertise not available in the industry, and available at a prohibitive cost. Capstone courses working as proof-of-concept labs are an opportunity for both startups and faculty members to capture the knowledge, creativity, and ideas from students and turn them into the creation of working prototypes of a product or service at the completion of the academic course. The ability that startups have to be flexible and receptive to suggestions from students represent to entrepreneurs the ability to continue their creative process with concrete outcomes beneficial to the venture creation.

Lastly, students who are aspiring entrepreneurs can tap into the university’s intellectual property (IP) portfolio for licensing opportunities. This potentially can turn research projects turned into IP into real products taken to the markets by entrepreneurs through the creation of startups.

HOW DO UNIVERSITIES BENEFIT FROM THAT PARTNERSHIP?

As a key component to a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, entrepreneurs and academic institutions are key elements to this equation in the greater context. Entrepreneurs building startups bring energy and enthusiasm to the university and an incentive to promote applied research. In emerging economies, research may not exist within the culture. The possibility of partnerships through capstone-like classes and other research projects allow entrepreneurs to provide a reality check on the kinds of resources and programs universities should provide versus what they think they need to provide. This is crucial in keeping the institution’s programs relevant for current and future students with respect to industry and innovation as an element to the academic training experience for students. Working with real projects that will become products transform into applied research projects led by researchers and involving students. Additionally, the learning process of students providing viable solutions in a real environment bridges the gap between theoretical and applied knowledge.

By startups joining the university’s network, entrepreneurs become a valuable resource for faculty members and students when they engage with current students. University affiliated startups become potential mentors, coaches, investors, by providing internship opportunities for students, new hires for their own company, and/or donors. Prospective students may also have the option to consider specific universities based on the institution’s reputation to non-academic aspects such entrepreneurial culture, startup creation, funding, competitions, and other opportunities linked to startups and entrepreneurship. This is key to any university and/or any community working on building an entrepreneurial culture and ecosystem targeting the student population.

The ability to transfer out technologies developed at academic institutions is another benefit to to partnering with startups. Academic institutions produce intellectual property (IP) through research and is protected through patents, trademarks, or copyrights. Entrepreneurs linked to startups may be the actors transforming IP into real products and taking them to local and global markets. The more successful a university is at transferring technologies out of the laboratory into products, often known as commercialization of technologies, the higher the rates of return on investment. The funds result of technology transfer may become available to fund other projects, expand in the number of research projects, and ideally create an array of programs that continue to incentivize the technology transfer process to a larger number of licensees.

Partnering with key actors within the ecosystem is critical when federal funding is available for innovative programs that aim to incentivize technology transfer and commercialization of technologies. An example of this in an emerging economy is the pilot program implemented in Mexico in an effort to replicate the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps program, which was possible by a partnership between NSF, Mexico’s CONACYT, and academic institutions. This program aims to commercialize technologies by market validation through active teams formed by researchers, students within an academic institution, and business mentors.

WHAT ARE SOME WAYS ECOSYSTEMS CAN INITIATE AND NURTURE UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIPS?

It is important to start with identifying a common mission or vision for this partnership. Finding an institution that shares the same goals, paired with the capabilities and capacities needed by the startup is also a plus. If the startups are proactively outreaching to the universities, bringing awareness of the benefits to both is key to setting a vision and mission in common in which both parts will contribute in their very own way.

To encourage universities to become an active ecosystem partner, it is important to highlight relevant and positive outcomes of non-traditional partnerships in creative programs, either within their institution or at sister institutions. Examples of this may include technology showcases of joint research that reached the market or sharing past success stories attached to partnerships such as the one being explored. It’s common for some level of entrepreneurial efforts or interest to exist within the institution. It is key that entrepreneurs are aware of them and actively engage in those efforts. Given the interest of universities in the students’ experience, entrepreneurs from startups can actively engage with aspiring entrepreneurs as role models and mentors.

International partners for emerging economies may represent potential funding sources and partners for further capacity building. Examples of such programs include the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, global non-for-profit organizations, and specific partnerships like the Mexico-United States Entrepreneurship and Innovation Council. Local champions connecting the dots through their knowledge of these types of opportunities within and outside the region may represent a game-changing strategy.

Entrepreneurs and other champions in the community should also make the institution aware of any potential challenges – and recommend ways to overcome those obstacles. It is important to maintain effective communication throughout the process, showcasing the flexibility and willingness to adapt in response to unforeseen hurdles from the startup’s’ perspective.

WHAT ARE COMMON OBSTACLES FOR THESE PARTNERSHIPS TO DEVELOP AND GROW? HOW CAN EITHER PARTY OVERCOME THE HURDLES?

Some universities are burdened with bureaucracy, which can make it difficult to start new programs. Building trustworthy relationships and recognizing the opportunities are mutually beneficial first steps. Finding faculty and/or researchers within departments that are open and flexible to work with startups on small initiatives that can be championed is key to larger initiatives to follow.

Academic institutions are required to show results and benefits as part of their education, research, and in some cases, economic development. To develop frameworks for new programs, it is crucial to track, document, and communicate the impact of the ongoing and past joint projects between universities and startups.

The creation of memorandums of understanding between universities and startups to collaborate may allow circumventing some of the bureaucracy tied to large academic institutions. Startups may provide small donations to fund equipment or other capabilities within the university. In exchange, students can be engaged in supporting and furthering startups’ research and technical challenges with the faculty members acting as liaisons between startups and student teams. Some academic institutions allow for faculty members to create new classes and content of the new classes as long as they are relevant to the study plan.

Disengagement from faculty and staff may result from lack of understanding of the mutual benefits from working with startups. In this situation, startups need to take the initiative and communicate the benefits of a partnership. Startups and their technical challenges and (often limited resources) are a great opportunity for educational partnerships. Lastly, alumni joining startup teams may become a research liaison, building bridges between the academic institutions and the startup networks.

About Dr. Griselda T. Martinez

Griselda T. Martínez leads efforts towards providing both business and technical assistance to a wide variety of businesses in the region, the state of New Mexico and Mexico, including Hispanic and Spanish-speaking ventures. She oversees NMSU’s role in the New Mexico Small Business (NSMBA) Program, in partnership with Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. She is also in charge of the implementation of programs targeting entrepreneurial education and ecosystem enhancement for Spanish-speaking national and international communities. She holds a doctorate degree in Economic Development from NMSU, with an area of specialization in Regional Economic Development.

NMSU SOAR Lab provides student research opportunities, program assistance

By NEWS EDITOR AND PARTNERS • NOV 4, 2016

A group of students at New Mexico State University are getting hands-on experience with research that will benefit not only their overall learning experience, but the learning experiences of those utilizing outreach programs offered by the university.

Six undergraduate and graduate students from various disciplines are working at the STEM Outreach Alliance Research Lab, or SOAR Lab, which is housed at NMSU’s College of Education. The lab came about in the spring as part of the reorganization of the Alliance for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.

Karen Trujillo, director of The Alliance, said students involved with the SOAR Lab are working with other program directors across NMSU to gather data on outreach programs, analyze them and present their findings in order to improve those programs.

“Program directors are so busy with their programs, there’s no time to analyze the data they collect through surveys to do an in-depth analysis,” Trujillo said.

SOAR Lab students are also collecting data on teacher vacancies statewide as part of a report on the teacher pipeline. That analysis will offer a portrait of what subjects and locations in the state are in most need of teachers.

What makes the SOAR Lab unique, Trujillo said, is that students and faculty are researching the impact of the educational outreach programs using mixed methods, something that has not been done before. Students are gaining experience in both qualitative and quantitative research methods. In class, many times students only receive experience in quantitative research.

“In order to get the clearest picture, you have to look at both. You can’t just focus on the numbers,” Trujillo said.

Besides the teacher vacancy report, students are working with the College of Engineering’s NM Prep summer program for middle and high school students; Upward Bound, the STEM Outreach Center and Mathematically Connected Communities in the College of Education; and Arrowhead Center’s Innoventure program.

Trujillo said she received 30 applications from NMSU students who were interested in working at the SOAR Lab, signaling a need for immersive research experiences.

“There is a need especially for graduate students to have experience in something that is not controlled in a lab setting,” Trujillo said. “It’s also intentional for us to have students with varied backgrounds so they can transfer their knowledge to each other.”

Luis Rangel, a graduate student in applied statistics at NMSU, said he became interested in a program evaluations course where he had to learn about mixed research methods. Previously, he had experience in data analysis and quantitative research, so learning about mixed methods was a challenge, which is why he became interested in the SOAR Lab.

“I’m challenging myself in something I don’t know, which is qualitative research,” Rangel said. “I want to be a methodologist, so I need to learn all forms of analysis.”

Prior to her involvement with the SOAR Lab, Yvette Salcedo, an undergraduate psychology major, had no research experience before she began helping with the teacher vacancy report.

“It’s interesting to see how the research starts,” said Salcedo, who plans on pursuing her master’s degree in educational psychology after she graduates in a year or so. “This is helping start off on the right foot. Real life experience is key, and I’m really excited about the research too. Living in Texas, I didn’t realize there was a teacher shortage in New Mexico. It’s very surprising to me, especially seeing that special education is an area in most need of teachers.”

The other students working at the SOAR Lab are Shubhasmita Pati, a master’s computer science student; John Kulpa, a psychology doctoral candidate; Germain Degardin, a graduate student in curriculum and instruction; and Sabrina Jamison, an undergraduate student majoring in secondary education.

By being involved with the SOAR Lab and helping program directors and faculty, students also have opportunities to publish articles and present at conferences. Trujillo said she hopes the SOAR Lab will eventually become self-sustaining, with directors involving the lab with their programs from the very beginning.

“We want students to have the opportunity to use data from programs that already exist instead of starting their research from scratch,” Trujillo said. “We also want to make the outreach programs better, so it is a win-win for everyone.”

Information from NMSU

Public bank idea returns for more discussion

By T. S. Last / Journal Staff Writer - Published: Thursday, November 10th, 2016 at 11:44pm - Updated: Thursday, November 10th, 2016 at 11:44pm

SANTA FE, N.M. — Creating a public bank in Santa Fe – an outside-the-box idea that has been kicking around since Mayor Javier Gonzales first raised it during his election campaign in 2014 – is coming back for a new round of public discussion.

City Councilor Renee Villarreal is calling for the formation of a task force to determine whether the city should move forward with the establishment of a public bank. Two other councilors, Carmichael Dominguez and Joe Maestas, have signed on to co-sponsor Villarreal’s proposal, and a nonprofit group called WeArePeopleHere! continues to push the public banking idea with support from the likes of state Sen. Peter With and school board member Linda Trujillo, recently elected to the state House of Representatives.

But some outside city government and with experience in the banking industry remain skeptical.

“To me, it’s one of those circumstances that sounds conceptually interesting. People say, ‘Why can’t we do this?’ ” Bryan “Chip” Chippeaux, chairman of the locally owned Century Bank, said in an interview this week. “But I think people underestimate the requirements of what becoming a public bank would entail. Plus, it’s one of those deals where you have to ask, ‘Is that the biggest issue Santa Fe has in front of it right now?’ ”

James Lodes, a retired loan officer, said he doesn’t want to see the city rush into anything. “It’s gone from the concept stage to ‘OK, how do we do this?’ ” he said. “No one has stopped to say, ‘Do we really want to do this?’ ”

Elaine Sullivan, president of the board of directors for WeArePeopleHere!, said that’s what’s happening now.

“That’s precisely what this resolution is about,” said Sullivan. “It’s to give it serious thought before we go into this,” she said.

Resolution specifics

The resolution calls for the formation of a task force to “define the process, resources, information and timelines” for preparing an application for a New Mexico bank charter and report back to the City Council in six months. It comes after the city spent $50,000 to contract with a consulting and project management firm that determined that starting up such a bank in Santa Fe was feasible.

The study, conducted by El Paso-based Building Solutions, LLC and the New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, stated that the city could realize a fiscal and economic impact of $24 million in a public bank’s first year of implementation.

Lodes suggested that the feasibility study might have been a way for the city to justify its pursuit of creating a public bank. Lodes said the consulting firm really wasn’t instructed to conduct an objective cost/benefit analysis.

“The feasibility study pointed out things the city could have done to save millions, like paying off loans early and managing the way they drew bond proceeds. Those are the millions in savings the study attributes to a public bank,” he said. “Well, that’s not the bank saving them money, it’s the finance department using the cash more wisely.”

Mayor Gonzales talked about the possibility of creating a public bank while laying out his economic platform prior to his election in March 2014. Three months after taking office, he hosted a forum on the issue and, three months after that, the city staged a day-long symposium on the concept.

“We’re not going to rush into anything,” Gonzales said then, “but we are going to move forward in learning and understanding how to develop a bank in Santa Fe, and being honest about whether we can truly pull it off or not. That remains to be seen.”

More than two years later, it still does.

“You’d have to raise capital and infrastructure, and then be subject to regular examinations. I just don’t see that happening,” said Chippeaux.

It’s a slow process just to get through the application process for a bank charter.

Lodes said a public bank could be a good thing, but “Santa Fe is too small a community to carry the freight all on its own. Doing it on a statewide level or regional level might make sense, because it spreads out that initial startup cost and what’s estimated to be $1 million in operating costs. You’re starting a bank with no capital, you need to have loan loss reserves, so I don’t know how they could do that alone short of a huge gift.”

Initially, at least, the city would be the bank’s only customer, unless there was a collaboration with other entities.

Public banks in ND, Europe

Public banking is not a new concept. The nation’s only public bank, the Bank of North Dakota, is nearly 100 years old and, as of the second quarter of 2016, had built assets totaling more than $7.3 billion. The state has used some of its profits to fund expansion of child care services, financing for rural mortgages and consolidating student debt.

Most recently, North Dakota has tapped the bank for $10 million to help cover unexpected costs for law enforcement’s response to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.

Public banks are more common in Europe, where there are more than 400 savings banks, as they are called there.

Gonzales has said that a public bank in Santa Fe could help build the city’s social infrastructure by financing such things as broadband expansion, early childhood education programs and health care services.

There’s growing interest in public banks across America, Sullivan said. She provided a list of entities in a dozen states that are considering the idea.

The benefits are numerous, she said.

“Forty to 45 percent of city funds go to Wells Fargo Bank. After that, we don’t know how it gets used,” she said. A public bank would keep the money here and the interest on loans would go back into the bank. Interest paid and earned would stay within the local economy, she said.

“If we keep the money local, we’re using it for our purposes and we’ll be able to see what’s happening to it,” she said. “It’s not a silver bullet, but it would be one piece to the solution to our economic challenges.”

Councilor Villarreal was reluctant to say much about the resolution she’s proposing.

“We’re still working on language so the resolution is consistent and we’re still exploring the mechanics,” she said.

But considering the feasibility study indicated a public bank would work in Santa Fe and public banking has worked elsewhere, she believes it’s worth taking a closer look.

“One of the things we’re looking at are other sources that can fund community projects, instead of always relying on bonds,” she said.

The current draft of the resolution charges the task force with determining what would be the most appropriate kind of bank charter, looking into potential sources and methods of capitalization, and recommending two or more governance models to the City Council. It would also be tasked with identifying a source for the $7,500 bank charter application fee and completing a five-year business plan, a requirement for the bank charter application.

The task force would comprise nine members appointed by the mayor and approved by the council. Its make up would include one city councilor who is a member of the council Finance Committee; the city’s finance director or a representative from that department; someone with legal expertise in the banking industry; another person with federal and state regulatory experience in the industry; three people with local financial and/or banking experience with a local community development financial institution, such as a community bank or credit union; and two residents at large “who have expressed a commitment to the goal of establishing a public bank.”

That would seem to suggest the city is looking mostly for people who have already made up their mind about supporting a public bank.

“That’s one of the sections we need to look at,” Villarreal said, adding that the resolution was still being tweaked before it begins the committee process.

One part of the resolution unlikely to change is a section that calls for the task force to hold at least two public meetings to report on its progress and take public comment before coming back the City Council with recommendations within the six-month time frame.

NMBio to hold first meeting at NMSU

12:08 p.m. MST November 15, 2016

Arrowhead Center, in conjunction with the New Mexico Biotechnology and Biomedical Association (NMBio), will co-host the first meeting of NMBio’s southern division from 4 to 6 p.m. today in the 3rd Floor Bistro of the Fulton Center on the New Mexico State University campus.

The theme for the event is collaborative research opportunities between New Mexico health focused institutions, with a focus on the research of New Mexico State University and the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine, as well as the startup community and other health-tech cluster members.

Presentations will be made by Dr. Joseph Benoit, director of research at Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine; Dr. Steve Young, director of research and clinical trials at TriCore Reference Laboratories; and Rick Van Ness, a director within TriCore’s product development team.

In addition, Estela Hernandez, an enterprise Adviser at the Arrowhead Center and fund manager of the Arrowhead Innovation Fund will provide a brief overview of the fund as a potential source of early stage seed/gap funding for commercializing new technologies. Greg Byrnes, executive director of NMBio, will provide an overview of the association’s plans for 2017 as well as provide details on the association’s cost savings programs with FedEx, VWR, Office Depot, Nikon Instruments and many others.

NMSU Arrowhead Center to host Department of Defense funding opportunity event in Albuquerque

Date: 11/17/2016 Writer: Dana Catron, 505-358-4039, dderego@ad.nmsu.edu

The New Mexico Federal and State Technology Partnership Program, housed at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center, will host a Small Business Innovation Research Department of Defense Navy topics event next month in Albuquerque.

The event will take place from 7:30 a.m. to noon Dec. 6 at STC.UNM, 801 University Blvd. SE in Albuquerque. This event is free, and tickets are available at https://navysbirtopics_abq.eventbrite.com. Refreshments will be provided.

The event will be divided into two segments. The first will be a live webinar streaming which will feature the Navy SBIR Program Offices discussing their recently released SBIR/STTR topics; representatives from both the Naval Sea Systems Command and the Naval Air Systems Command will participate. NAVSEA SBIR program manager Jason Schroepfer will be available in person to answer questions post-webinar and will also be holding private one-on-one sessions.

NM FAST program manager Zetdi Sloan sees the event as an opportunity for local tech firms.

“Pre-proposal communications can have a powerful impact on the applicant’s thinking, from reshaping the research design to rethinking where the proposal should be submitted, or if it should be written at all,” Sloan said. “Potential applicants do not want to miss this opportunity to get it right at the beginning.”

The event presents an opportunity for small technology firms to learn how their innovative ideas or capabilities – either technology or services – can be delivered to the DoD. The Navy invests $350 million of non-dilutive funds every year in innovative ideas.

“This is going to be an exciting opportunity for New Mexico based small business leaders to learn about the US Navy’s mission areas and specific innovative technology development opportunities,” said Todd Bisio, NM FAST’s network coordinator. “In addition, it is a great opportunity for the businesses to build relationships and expose the customer to the capabilities that they have to offer. The DoD has the largest budget across the eleven federal agencies that currently participate in the SBIR/STTR program and the Navy is a big part of that. Having the Navy as a customer can be extremely beneficial to any small business and this is a great point of entry.”

The NM FAST program, which is supported by a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration, works to improve the participation of small businesses in federal SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer programs for innovative, technology-driven small businesses. NM FAST has been gaining traction in New Mexico by offering statewide workshops, mentoring, and micro-grant awards for eligible small businesses.

NM FAST 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 select first-time awardees microgrants 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 coordinator for the NM FAST program, at 505-358-4039 or dderego@ad.nmsu.edu.

Technology, innovation position NM for ag growth

Jason Gibbs , Las Cruces Sun-News 1 a.m. MST November 20, 2016

LAS CRUCES - The changing face of agriculture and food production may smile on New Mexico.

Technological developments in everything from irrigation to fertilization and from pest management to mechanical harvesting hold great promise for the state, said N.M. Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte.

Witte, speaking after the Innovation and Discovery in Agriculture and Food day hosted by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, the High Desert Discovery District and New Mexico State University, said the future is bright as New Mexico scientists and engineers tackle the challenges facing the state's agricultural producers and food industry. Thirteen different presenters spoke at the day-long affair, which brought together New Mexico innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers and investors to discuss new approaches to solving age-old problems in the field.

"What we saw was a lot of emerging technological issues, crop production techniques and future stuff like aquaponics and other new techniques, how to address pest issues, fertilizer issues, nutrition issues (that are) coming down the road in the future," Witte said. "It's really encouraging for me to see the creativity and thoughtful presentations that come from a state like New Mexico. New Mexico has always had our technological side with universities and laboratories. To see those being transferred to agricultural production, it's where we need to be in the future."

Presentations were offered on everything from transgenic legumes to bottled water along with discussions on producing and harvesting changes coming to fields in the state.

Among the presenters was Nagendra Kodali, who is working on a topic near and dear to New Mexican foodies, green chile. He is working on the mechanization of the chile harvest with a machine that de-stems chile peppers without harming the pods.

"There is nice potential for mechanization in the chile harvest, especially green fresh chile," Witte said. "Labor (in chile harvesting) continues to be an issue and will be for the forseeable future."

The potential for mechanization on a large scale won't necessarily mean reduction in jobs, as the technological advances will create other, less labor-intensive positions across the agricultural industry, he added. And finding people willing to do the back-breaking work of harvest is becoming more difficult.

"We don't see folks today growing up and wanting to work in the field," he said. They have so many more opportunities to grow into careers. Their first choice won't be in labor in a field setting. As we evolve into the future, we will see more mechanization. It will be a transformation of the workforce but will offer opportunities for education to people in new career paths."

The High Desert Discovery District (HD3) works to drive that innovative process by providing a forum for those involved to be heard and for their discoveries to be understood by a highly experienced group of business strategists, successful entrepreneurs and management executives and investors who want to contribute their knowledge and experience toward the improvement of the New Mexico agricultural economy. Witte said agriculture plays a vital role in the state's economy, with some $4 billion in raw production, 2.5 to 3 times that number in value-added production and is worth roughly $17 billion across the industry, considering infrastructure, transportation and retail income for the state.

Once a promising, market-validated discovery is identified, HD3 accelerates the discovery and works with the innovators and entrepreneurs to drive it along and gain successful outcomes.

"HD3 Discovery Day will further support the next generation of innovators and leaders in agriculture and food and we are so pleased to be a part of it," said Kathryn Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center at NMSU. "Because of our rich network of entrepreneurs and agribusiness leaders at NMSU and the Arrowhead Technology Incubator, Discovery Day is a very natural and significant progression of our support of agricultural entrepreneurs."

And that support comes in many areas across the evolving industry.

"It was a nice package of how agriculture is going to evolve down the road," Witte said. There will be "more efficiency in water technology, energy and heat use, more efficient use of nutrients. You've got these scientists not directly involved in agriculture ... the applications (can be) brought into agricuture and I see other implications in the medical field and others."

One struggle that will continue and worsen is the growing world population and the need to feed that many people with the same amount of land and continued pressures on water use and efficiency.

"Tech days like this, and the ability to make food production more efficient, that will really set the table for the future. It's technology that will evolve and continue to protect the environment, but will allow continued food production to take place."

All in all, a promising picture for New Mexico producers, Witte added.

"I think New Mexico is really in a great place to capture and really encourage and engage with these sciences as we move into the future," he said.

Jason Gibbs may be reached at (575) 541-5451. Follow him on Twitter @fjgwriter.

Events

Navy SBIR/STTR Workshop

When: December 6, 2016

Where: STC.UNM, 801 University Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106 United States

Time: 7:30 am - 12:00 pm

6th International Quantum Storytelling Conference

When: December 15 & 16, 2016

Where: Corbett Center Student Union NMSU 2795 - 2895 S Locust St Las Cruces, NM 88003 United States

Time: All Day event

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