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Arrowhead Innovation Network continues to expand regional partnerships

When it comes to building a business from the ground up, the right relationships and interpersonal connections can mean the difference between a successful launch and a misfire.


Head shot of Beto Pallares
Beto Pallares is Investor in Residence in New Mexico State University's Arrowhead Innovation Network. (Submitted photo)

"You're going to do business with people you like and people you trust. That determines the speed with which you'll commit to things," said Beto Pallares, a venture capitalist, specialist in business incubation and the Investor in Residence in New Mexico State University's Arrowhead Innovation Network. "When people have a positive expectation that's backed up by positive past experiences, they're going to engage again, and that's how business is done."

Pallares is founder of Joseph Advisory Services, which advises and invests in early-stage technology companies and venture capital funds. He's also a recipient of the prestigious Kauffman Fellowship.

Pallares brings his extensive network of business contacts - including other Kauffman Fellows - to the Arrowhead Innovation Network, which is funded through 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 July, Pallares was part of the Paso del Norte Venture Expo, a partnership between Arrowhead Center; Joseph Advisory Services; The Hub of Human Innovation, an El Paso-based business incubator; the University of Texas at El Paso's Center for Research Entrepreneurship & Innovative Enterprises; Texas Tech University's Office of Technology Commercialization; and Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey en Ciudad Juarez.

Pallares said the Expo was one example of how getting involved with Arrowhead Innovation Network can help entrepreneurs begin to build the network of contacts they'll need in order to see their ventures come to fruition. Connecting the talent and resources that we have in the region, he said, will help attract attention from beyond the Southwest - something he said is a top goal for the incubator over the next few years.

"The next iteration of value-add to the region for Arrowhead includes the ability to draw in resources from outside the region, because it's built its trust base outside of the region as well," he said.

Rachael Ryan got a chance to talk about her company, Wildlife Diagnostics, at the Expo, and said she found the experience informative and rewarding.

"The Expo enabled us to connect with many regional investors with an interest in both local environment conservation issues and helping innovative emerging businesses in a way that would not have been possible at a larger national event," she said.

Mike Lisk of Remote Well Solutions LLC said he's grateful for the support Arrowhead Innovation Network has provided in terms of both advice and networking opportunities like the Expo.

"With the great pool of knowledge and wisdom they possess, they are able to give critical advice and guidance, as well as select opportunities that fit perfectly to the efforts of the particular technology," he said. "These opportunities open doors to the entrepreneur that would otherwise be closed."

Kramer Winingham, whose company, 35 Solar, is seeking funding to create a prototype of a new solar cell production technique, said he made some important contacts.

"The Expo was a tremendous opportunity to build connections with investors. It gave us the opportunity to present our idea to a great audience," he said.

For Arrowhead Innovation Network, Pallares said the goal isn't "replicating Silicon Valley," it's being comfortable with your own abilities and being ready to stand with other companies on equal footing.

"You must know how everyone is measured and compared across the world," he said. "You need to understand the bar for best practices - the common standard of success - and then meet it."

The key to that, he said is outreach like the Paso del Norte Venture Expo - opportunities to let other regions know what we have to offer, so that when they go looking for innovation, they look for it here.