Lobo Rainforest News

August 19, 2021

AED and UNM Anderson School of Management Launch a Regional Innovation Series

For Immediate Release
Date: August 2, 2021
Contact: Danielle Casey, dcasey@abq.org

Albuquerque Economic Development is collaborating with UNM Anderson School of Management for the first of a series of action-oriented competitiveness programs with a focus on regional collaboration and innovation.

[GREATER ALBUQUERQUE, NM, August 2, 2021] – A new series of sessions focusing on working together to advance the New Mexico economy will kick off Sept. 16 with a half-day session featuring a showcase of research and analysis projects recently completed by UNM Anderson in support of AED strategic initiatives.

“Anderson’s partnership with AED aligns with our commitment to help advance New Mexico’s economy,” said Mitzi Montoya, Anderson School dean. “This series of working sessions is part of a larger vision to combine the energy and ingenuity of our business leaders, policy makers, educators, nonprofits and stakeholders to work collectively toward achieving inclusive prosperity.”

Early in the process, the AED team developed a list of areas of research and analysis needed, and Anderson fellows have been tackling each item, all through a regional lens. “

Having students as well as the talented faculty overseeing their work delve into research on topics from business retention to innovation assets and talent attraction best practices has been very insightful, as they have the ability to look at opportunities and challenges through a fresh lens,” commented Danielle Casey, president & CEO of AED.

In addition to project presentations that will include breakout group discussions with a goal of identifying actionable next steps, guest keynote speaker Christiana McFarland, PhD, research director for the National League of Cities Center for City Solutions, will discuss the findings of a recently published national report regarding developing regional economic connectivity and the interdependence of urban and rural segments of regional economies.

The program will also include a panel discussion of local experts reflecting on the student presentations, the criticality and interconnectedness of regions and mega-regions, and steps to developing a truly inclusive innovation ecosystem for New Mexico.

For more information or to register for this program, visit www.ABQ.org/events.

About UNM Anderson
The Anderson School of Management at the University of New Mexico is dedicated to excellence in professional management education. At Anderson, faculty, staff and students are committed to shaping the intellect and character of the next generation of business leaders, advancing the knowledge and practice of management, promoting economic development, and building a vibrant intellectual community that serves the highest and best interests of all our stakeholders. Founded in 1947, Anderson offers more than a dozen concentrations at the BBA and MBA levels and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business in the top 20% of business schools in the nation. For more information, visit mgt.unm.edu.

About AED
AED is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to recruit business and industry, help local companies grow and generate quality job opportunities throughout the Albuquerque metro area. AED provides confidential assistance to businesses considering the area for expansion and new investment. Since its creation in 1960, AED has recruited more than 250 companies and more than 35,000 jobs to the Albuquerque metro area. AED also provides retention and expansion assistance to existing industry. For more information about AED, visit www.ABQ.org.

July 1, 2021

Entrepreneurial Capabilities Certificate Recipient Finds Opportunity in the New Mexico Rainforest

When it comes to entrepreneurship and university economic development programs, the goal is to cultivate a mindset that drives students not only to get a job, but to create them.

Entrepreneurship is no small feat. It requires drive, discipline, risk and the ability to seize opportunity. Entrepreneurs are not afraid to fail and are usually those who reach out for help, utilizing the people and resources around them to learn, grow and succeed. This is the case when it comes to former UNM student and Entrepreneurial Capabilities Certificate recipient Christian Slough (CJ).

In February 2020, prior to the state Covid-19 shutdown CJ participated in a CTSC Health Hackathon where he and colleague Amelia Bierle brainstormed an idea for a “Smart Inhaler.” From this hackathon came a chain of events that eventually led to the formation of the start-up company, Thuvia Systems LLC. As this venture unfolded, CJ discovered all the resources and trainings available to student entrepreneurs through the NM Rainforest University Center, a program funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, to provide entrepreneurial training and technical assistance to individuals or small businesses who are looking to start or grow their idea.

In August 2020, CJ participated in the Create.Sell.Bank! for the Community Course where he learned various eCommerce techniques and strategies which are essential skills for any entrepreneur to learn especially in today’s economic climate. Additionally, CJ engaged with the NM Rainforest University Center content, videos and officer hours. The training videos and office hours helped him gain valuable insight regarding important aspects of entrepreneurship and in December 2020 he earned his Entrepreneurial Capabilities Certificate after viewing 7 webinars and completing each of their associated quizzes.

Based on concepts learned through the University Center videos and advice received while attending Virtual Mentoring Office Hours, CJ realized that a key step to help drive the Smart Inhaler and Thuvia Systems LLC forward was to engage in in-depth customer discovery. Mentors from the University Center advised CJ to begin engaging in customer discovery through customer interviews and encouraged him and Amelia to apply for the Spring 2021 Lobo Rainforest I-Corp Cohort where they received further guidance.

“In addition to the mentoring and trainings received from University Center, I-Corp really helped our idea evolve. Through customer interviews we realized that if we wanted to fully deliver our value proposition, we needed to bring in all players in our ecosystem; from the physicians and patients, to the pharmacists and caregivers,” CJ states.

Since their final I-Corp presentation, CJ and Amelia have helped Thuvia Systems apply for an STTR grant and the startup has partnered with Dr. Ramiro Jordan’s Why Lab at UNM.

Most recently, through connections made within the NM Rainforest Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, CJ has started a position in sales and marketing for the New Mexico startup company Build with Robots, who builds turn-key robotic solutions that enable the world’s workforce to be healthier, more productive and more fulfilled.

Over the past year, CJ has learned and benefitted from the multitude of opportunities provided through the NM Rainforest University Center and the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Albuquerque. As he reflects he states:

“One thing I’ve learned is that there are so many resources here in New Mexico and through UNM, it’s just a matter of letting yourself be vulnerable, going to mentoring office hours, reaching out via email and not being afraid to ask questions or reach out for help.”

One of the goals of the NM Rainforest University Center is to help students like CJ develop an entrepreneurial mindset and access the resources available to them in order to help their ambitions and ideas thrive.

If you are interested in earning your Entrepreneurial Capabilities Certificate, attending office hours or connecting with any of the programs and resources mentioned above, email Cecilia Pacheco at cpacheco@innovations.unm.edu. UNM Rainforest Innovations will help get you started.

July 1, 2021

EDA NM Rainforest University Center Activity for April, May and June 2021

During the months of April, May and June, the U.S Economic Development Administration (EDA) New Mexico Rainforest University Center held nine mentoring office hour sessions with the various University Center mentors and hosted three webinars on various entrepreneurial topics.

Did you miss these webinars? If so, the recordings, handouts and quizzes are available at: http://loborainforest.com/nmrainforest/videos/. The webinars included:

Patent Protection in 2021: A Primer presented by Henry Coleman 

Learn the basics of patent protections in 2021 – all the important points and pitfalls that you need to know from U.S. patent attorney, Henry D. Coleman.

Applying Creativity Techniques to Your Small Business presented by Stacy Sacco 

This webinar shows participants various creative techniques that can be used to create and grow a business from the ideation phase to second-stage growth.

User Research 101: Focus on Product Users presented by Charley Wilhite

Getting your product right is as important as getting the business right. In this session we will dive into User Research (UX): understanding what you need to know, drawing out assumptions and gaps, prioritizing your learning, methodologies for collecting data, and making sense of it all.

Do you want to get connected with the EDA NM Rainforest University Center? Here are some of the upcoming events:

  • Virtual Rainforest Mentor Hours – July – Come to 1:1 virtual mentoring with Stacy Sacco where he will provide guidance, coaching, perspective, and connections to enhance entrepreneurship and connections to resources at UNM and in the community. There are many resources available to those who have ideas that they may want to turn into a business! Come by and learn more about what is available and which connections are the best fit for you.

If you are interested in learning more about the EDA NM Rainforest University Center Program and Resources contact Cecilia Pacheco at cpacheco@innovations.unm.edu.

Additional Press Releases Relating to University Center:

NM Rainforest University Center Student Uses EDA Funded Program to Supplement Education and Jump-Start Entrepreneurial Pursuits

NM Rainforest University Center Works to Build Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Rural New Mexico Through Partnerships with UNM Branch Campuses

An Entrepreneur’s Journey – EDA NM Rainforest University Center

New Mexico Recovery Course Helps Small Business Strategize, Survive & Thrive Through Pandemic

May 25, 2021

Albuquerque Business First’s Women of Influence Awards Honors Susan Cornelius

Albuquerque Business First has announced their honorees for this year’s Women of Influence awards, including Susan Cornelius, Principal of Accelerate2Solutions. Honorees are chosen each year based on the positive impact they have made in the New Mexico business community.

Ms. Cornelius has worked with UNM Rainforest Innovations for over 6 years and has provided tremendous value to our local innovation ecosystem. She serves as a site mentor for the New Mexico Rainforest University Center and provides regular mentoring office hours and webinars to the UNM community. The University Center program provides entrepreneurial training and technical assistance to individuals and small businesses who are looking to start or grow their idea.

She is also involved in the Lobo Rainforest I-Corps program and serves as a Lead I-Corps Mentor for teams learning how to transition their STEM-related technologies to the marketplace. The University of New Mexico became an I-Corps (Innovations Corps) site in fall 2017 and has now completed its eighth cohort. Ms. Cornelius has served as a mentor during all eight cohorts.

Ms. Cornelius is also the Principal of Accelerate2Solutions, an innovative, small, high tech company focused on creating successful, lean startup-ups. Ms. Cornelius has coached more than 71 companies, and created seven start-up companies, ranging from $500M to $150,000, helping them emerge as successful high tech, and life and health sciences companies. She brings 30 years of experience in start-ups, mergers, acquisitions, and successful, entrepreneurship in healthcare, research, enterprise software service solutions, medical devices, national defense, and high-tech sensing devices for homeland security.

The Women of Influence virtual awards event will be held on July 15 and honorees will be included in a special section of Business First that will be published July 16.

See also, “Meet Albuquerque Business First’s 2021 Women of Influence,” on the Albuquerque Business First website at https://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2021/05/18/meet-business-first-2021-women-of-influence.html


April 21, 2021

NM Rainforest University Center Works to Build Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Rural New Mexico Through Partnerships with UNM Branch Campuses

Home to multiple national labs and several top tier research institutions, New Mexico has come to be known as the State of Innovation. In addition to the presence of strong STEM institutions, the inhabitants of New Mexico have a long history of engaging in entrepreneurship activities. Whether it’s selling piñon and firewood on the side of a northern New Mexico road, showcasing Native American art and jewelry under the portal in downtown Santa Fe or Old Town Albuquerque, running a food truck at a Navajo flee market in Gallup, or developing the next renewable energy technology at the Los Alamos  National Labs, New Mexicans have the spirit of entrepreneurship running through their veins.

However, in a state with a population of under 3 million and more small rural communities than urban metropolitan hubs, it can be hard for New Mexico entrepreneurs, especially those living in the more rural parts for the state, to capitalize on their business pursuits.

As a result, upon the receipt of a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Association (EDA) in 2018, the NM Rainforest EDA University Center is working to bridge that economic gap. The University Center focuses on developing eCommerce based entrepreneurial training and uses The University of New Mexico (UNM) branch campuses to help spread eCommerce knowledge and training to the more rural parts of the state.

Participating UNM branch campuses include Los Alamos, Valencia, Taos, and Gallup and the EDA University Center has tailored its programming to uniquely work with and meet each campus’ individual needs with the ultimate goal of helping each community establish its own entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Since the establishment of the NM Rainforest EDA University Center program in 2018, several branch campus communities have been very active and engaged with the University Center:

Victoria Gonzales, who has served as the main point of contact for UNM-Taos, states “UNM-Taos is very grateful to the University Center for support given over the last few years – we have enjoyed the technical expertise offered by entire main campus team. UNM-Taos students and entrepreneurs have taken part in the great programs offered by the Center including the Create, Sell, Bank class and the Pitch Deck Competition and have gained invaluable knowledge from these opportunities.

Since the launch of the NM Rainforest University Center program, UNM-Taos has worked to acquire their own set of funding to establish the Taos Hub of Internet-based Vocation and Education (HIVE). The Taos HIVE has established its mission on “combining small business coaching and mentorship, a coworking space, and community college classrooms to support any stage of learning in an accepting, accessible, and community-led atmosphere.” This effort will help the community of Taos continue to develop its own innovation ecosystem independent of the NM Rainforest University Center.

UNM-Valencia has also been a dedicated and engaged member of the NM Rainforest University Center through the efforts of one of its prime business professors, Stephen Takach.

When asked to reflect on the University Center’s partnership with the UNM-Valencia branch campus Stephen states:

The University Center comes alongside me as I work toward one of my longstanding goals of bringing entrepreneurial experiences into the UNM Valencia community and ultimately is a comfortable destination that I constantly refer my students to with their entrepreneurial goals which expands and enhances their educational experience.”

UNM Rainforest Innovations and Innovation Academy will continue a collaborative effort so that the NM Rainforest University Center can continue to support the development and solidification of eCommerce training and the creation of thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems throughout both urban and rural New Mexico.

If you’d like to learn more about the NM Rainforest EDA University Center or engage further with the program and its efforts please contact Cecilia Pacheco at cpacheco@innovations.unm.edu.