Tech nav­i­ga­tor pro­gram forges paths to mar­ket

Part­ner­ship cre­ates one-stop shop­ping

Albuquerque Journal - - BUSINESS - BY KEVIN ROBIN­SON-AVILA JOUR­NAL STAFF RE­PORTER

There’s a new crack team of ex­perts on the beat to help as­pir­ing en­trepreneurs and in­no­va­tors nav­i­gate the chal­lenges of tak­ing new tech­nol­ogy to mar­ket.

A newly an­nounced Tech Nav­i­ga­tor Pro­gram is cor­ralling some of New Mex­ico’s best and bright­est lo­cal play­ers in tech­nol­ogy com­mer­cial­iza­tion into a one-stop shop to help in­di­vid­u­als and star­tups con­nect with the re­sources they need to forge paths to mar­ket. The pro­gram in­cludes ex­perts from all of the state’s na­tional lab­o­ra­to­ries, the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico, the city of Al­bu­querque, and many of the lo­cal busi­ness and en­trepreneur­ship pro­grams now in­volved in build­ing an in­no­va­tion district in the heart of Al­bu­querque.

Pro­gram par­tic­i­pants will guide peo­ple di­rectly to lo­cal ex­perts and re­sources to as­sist them in nav­i­gat­ing ev­ery­thing from li­cens­ing new tech­nol­ogy from the labs to build­ing mar­ket­ing strate­gies and find­ing fund­ing for their en­deav­ors, said Dorian Rader, vice pres­i­dent of the New Mex­ico An­gels in­vestor group, one of the part­ner­ship’s found­ing mem­bers.

“We have a wealth of en­tre­pre­neur­ial re­sources and sci­en­tific tal­ent in New Mex­ico, but it can be over­whelm­ing if you don’t know where to start, and that’s where we come in,” said Rader, the new pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor. “En­trepreneurs and sci­en­tists alike can con­tact the pro­gram to find out ex­actly who has the re­sources to help them, while par­tic­i­pat­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tive pro­grams with our part­ners.”

The pro­gram will launch weekly of­fice hours at the new Lobo Rain­for­est build­ing Down­town.

“Peo­ple can stop by to get their ques­tions an­swered and re­ceive ori­en­ta­tion on where to go for as­sis­tance,” Rader said. “We’ll di­rectly walk them through ev­ery­thing and guide them straight to peo­ple and pro­grams that can help them.”

That in­cludes the ABQid busi­ness ac­cel­er­a­tor, the FatPipe ABQ startup incubator, and the Bios­cience Cen­ter, among oth­ers. The city also pro­vided some ini­tial fund­ing for web­site de­vel­op­ment and pro­gram pro­mo­tion.

UNM’s In­no­va­tion Academy is par­tic­i­pat­ing as well through a new, eight-week Tech Nav­i­ga­tor Chal­lenge in which stu­dent teams will de­sign busi­ness plans to com­mer­cial­ize univer­sity and lab tech­nolo­gies, cul­mi­nat­ing in a pitch com­pe­ti­tion for $25,000 spon­sored by the Air Force Re­search Lab­o­ra­tory.

“We are in­cred­i­bly ex­cited to pair our stu­dents with world­class tech­nolo­gies and or­ga­ni­za­tions,” said In­no­va­tion Academy Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Rob DelCampo. “UNM wants to be a model to oth­ers in open­ing up the world of tech­nol­ogy trans­fer for stu­dents.”

MARLA BROSE/JOUR­NAL

A new Tech Nav­i­ga­tor Pro­gram, housed in the Lobo Rain­for­est build­ing Down­town, helps con­nect en­trepreneurs and in­no­va­tors to lo­cal ex­perts and re­sources to as­sist in li­cens­ing and mar­ket­ing.

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