By Lisa J. Adkins, COO & Director, The BioScience Center and FatPipe ABQ
The potential to create startups from the research and technology we have sitting right here in our backyard is too big of an opportunity to overlook.
A few years ago, after City Alive’s planning year, poet Hakim Bellamy wrote, “There’s a city inside me, and it’s alive.” I couldn’t have said it better. Our work and our city are living, breathing and changing all the time. As the new chair of the Business Development and Commercialization Action Team at City Alive, the work can feel, in less poetic terms, like drinking from a fire hose. There’s constant change, collective action work is complex and there is a lot to do to grow Albuquerque’s economy. But our shared vision to accelerate job creation and economic mobility through supporting and growing innovation and entrepreneurship in Albuquerque holds us steady on course. And there’s progress worth getting excited about.
The Business Development and Commercialization Action Team at City Alive is focused on supporting entrepreneurs as they move inventions and technologies from Albuquerque’s laboratories and research facilities into the marketplace. While this process can lead to successful, high-growth companies, the beginning is often slow and daunting for the entrepreneur. It can require extensive investment, patents, licensing, more research, declassification, and the list goes on. Our Action Team is working to make startup and growth for these companies easier wherever possible by establishing resources, exploring new ways to allocate existing resources and looking into changes in regulations and policies that impede business creation and growth.
As a team, we are launching two new resources this month: the Tech Navigator Program and the ABQ Tech Navigator Challenge. Our partners in these efforts include the Air Force Research Lab, Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratires, STC.UNM, The BioScience Center, ABQiD, CNM and the innovationAcademy at the University of New Mexico.
The new program coordinator for the Tech Navigator program, Dorian Rader, will be working directly with entrepreneurs as they navigate everything from venture capital and funding to business plans and market research. As the vice president of New Mexico Angels and executive director of NM Startup Factory II, Dorian is well equipped to support and guide founders and innovators through the process.
We are excited about our partnerships in this effort to test a strategy and measure the results, and believe there is a real possibility to see homegrown businesses start, grow and create meaningful jobs across our city.
Background on why technology commercialization:
Technology commercialization has been a focus since even before City Alive began in 2014. The possibilities to grow Albuquerque’s economy through commercializing research from Sandia National Laboratories and the University of New Mexico were key reasons why Living Cities took interest in Albuquerque as an Integration Initiative city. Now, as one of only five cities across the country participating in Living Cities’ Integration Initiative, the opportunity for economic growth through bringing research and technology from these public institutions into the marketplace is a recipe for the creation jobs.