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Arrowhead Center spearheads entrepreneurship and innovation with $2 million grant

New Mexico State University's Arrowhead Center will host an award presentation to accept a $1 million check from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration, with NMSU and its partners matching the awarded $1 million. The ceremony will take place from 9-10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, in the Genesis Center, Building C, on the NMSU campus. The public is invited.


U.S. Senator Tom Udall and U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce will be featured at the presentation, along with Pedro R. Garza, Economic Development Administration's southwest regional director, and other federal, state and local dignitaries from New Mexico and Texas.

The award to NMSU is a result of the i6 Challenge, a national competition to spur innovation, accelerate commercialization of ideas to market, and create companies and jobs through support of proof of concept centers. In addition to expanding Arrowhead Center's proof of concept program, Launch, the $2 million grant will fund the creation and development of the Arrowhead Innovation Network, a support network for Launch that will provide technical assistance from experienced business people, connections, better access to investment funds and other services.

"This confirms what we at EDA have known for a long time, that New Mexico State University is one of the premier educational institutions in this Region," said Garza. "NMSU received this i6 Challenge Award following a rigorous national competition that involved many of the leaders in the proof of concept center field. The award serves to affirm New Mexico State's emergence as a leader in technology commercialization and business development in the region. It is a tribute to the dedication, vision and commitment of former Governor Garrey Carruthers and Dr. Kevin Boberg that the university has received this acknowledgement, and we're confident the Arrowhead Innovation Network will generate lasting returns to the region."

"I am pleased the Department of Commerce is recognizing New Mexico State University's innovative work and exceptional leadership," Udall said. "Combining the expertise of our educational communities with private sector innovation is exactly the kind of partnership we need to create a sustainable hub for high-tech job growth in this area. I am eager to thank all of the partners in person and look forward to the great work that will come out of Launch and the Arrowhead Innovation Network programs in the future."

"I commend all those who have made the Arrowhead Innovation Network a reality. As an Aggie myself, I'm proud to see NMSU continue to lead the state in economic development and innovation. Business is the key to growth and job creation in New Mexico, and I am confident that the results of this project will have a powerful impact on the state and region for decades to come," Pearce said.

"The i6 Challenge, along with other innovation-driven initiatives in the region, signal unprecedented collaboration taking place to build the regional economy," said Boberg, director and chief executive officer for the Arrowhead Center.

As part of the i6 Challenge grant, El Paso's Hub of Human Innovation is teamed with Arrowhead Center to provide entrepreneurial mentoring to start-up businesses in the region.

Carruthers, vice president for economic development and dean of NMSU's College of Business, said the grant is important to the economic growth and development of the university, state and region.

"The grant funding is an immense investment and will boost the development of Launch," Carruthers said. "This commercialization process will propel our faculty's research and technologies from the laboratory/development stage to the current markets. The grant is well deserved and it exemplifies the exceptional work of the Arrowhead Center team."

While reservations are not required, anyone planning to attend is asked to contact Zetdi Runyan at ati@nmsu.edu or call 575-646-7833.