2020 Campaign Supports, Celebrates Entrepreneurs

By Kathy Keith, Executive Director (center); pictured with RDC team members Monica Abeita and Gail Gordon

By Kathy Keith, Executive Director (center); pictured with RDC team members Monica Abeita and Gail Gordon

The Regional Development Corporation and its partners are launching the 20/20 Campaign to celebrate the entrepreneurs who have started small businesses in Northern New Mexico, creating jobs, driving innovative industries and providing a solid economic base for our communities.

The 20/20 Campaign aims to recognize and support 20 high-growth companies that could potentially grow to double or triple in size within eight years — by 2020 — to become major employers in Northern New Mexico. A handful of businesses every year will be selected by the collaborating partners, which are service providers, economic development organizations, city and county governments and entrepreneurial support organizations from Española, Los Alamos, Santa Fe and Taos. The first crop of 20/20 companies will be announced on October 4th, 2012 during a “Spirit of Innovation” event.

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Program Offers NM Herbalist Free Technical Help

Monica Abeita

Monica Abeita, Regional Development Corp. for NNM Connect

In the 29 years since he bought Santa Fe-based Herbs, Etc. from its founder, herbalist Daniel Gagnon has worked hard to meet demand from the more than 2,000 U.S. retailers that carry the liquid herbal extracts and herbal medicines he manufactures.

Because quality control was critical to establishing and maintaining the company’s reputation, Gagnon imposed rigorous anti-microbial standards for his potions. Traditionally, Gagnon eliminated unwanted microbes by processing his herbs with water and alcohol. But in 2000, he developed a way to remove the alcohol to produce an alcohol-free product using olive oil and soft gel encapsulation.

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National Lab Assists Dental Implant Developer with Technical Problems

Information Sessions Coincide with Next Funding Deadline

Monica Abeita

Monica Abeita, Regional Development Corp. for NNM Connect

Three New Mexico men – metallurgist Terry Lowe from Metallicum, a subsidiary of Manhattan Scientifics; designer and manufacturer Dan Blacklock from Danlin Products; and dentist and educator Walt Schuman from BASIC Dental Implants — recently collaborated to develop, manufacture, and market dental implants that use an enhanced variant of titanium made by Manhattan Scientifics. Titanium improves the way dental implants are anchored into the jawbone.

But the team needed special equipment and expertise to evaluate and describe the distinctive characteristics of their breakthrough material, which goes by the trademarked name of Biotanium. The partners applied for help from the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program – a joint project of Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories and the state of New Mexico. Continue reading

Fund Accelerates Product Commercialization

Monica Abeita

Monica Abeita, Regional Development Corp. for NNM Connect

A $100,000 award from the Venture Acceleration Fund in 2011 helped Santa Fe startup Vista Therapeutics speed up the commercial introduction of the NanoBioSensor, which employs nanowires to measure in real time the multiple blood proteins and other biomarkers the body produces in response to trauma or disease. Biomarker measurement is especially critical for emergency room doctors, who have little time to gauge the severity of a patient’s condition and choose a proper intervention. Benefits continue during recovery, when ongoing monitoring is essential.

As the first commercially available device capable of such on-the-spot analysis, the NanoBioSensor is expected to improve the lives of people and also reduce the suffering of research animals: Pharmaceutical scientists and other biomedical researchers often must sacrifice many animals to obtain sufficient blood or tissue samples for analysis of biomarker changes over time. The sensitivity and rapidity of Vista’s sensor will allow many biomarkers to be monitored with a simple nick of the research animal’s tail or ear.

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Partners Team Up to Host Entrepreneurs’ Discovery Day

 

Monica Abeita

Monica Abeita, Regional Development Corp. for NNM Connect

New Mexico innovators will pitch their discoveries to a panel of experts — and get a shot at up to $10,000 in funding — at the next HD3 Discovery Day on Dec. 8 in Santa Fe. The event takes place at the Railyard District headquarters of the High Desert Discovery District (HD3), a nonprofit entity that helps entrepreneurs give their discoveries a better chance at success in the marketplace. Discovery Day is a collaboration of HD3 and the Northern New Mexico Connect program’s Los Alamos National Security Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF).

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Funds Connect Growers to Burgeoning Industry

Monica Abeita

Monica Abeita, Regional Development Corp. for NNM Connect

Economic developers Robert Naranjo and Lucia Sanchez were pleased to see boutique wineries spring up along the high road to Taos. But when they discovered that grapes were being sourced from outside the immediate area, they jumped into action. With funding from Northern New Mexico Connect and the county of Rio Arriba, Naranjo and Sanchez helped organize local micro-growers – those with one quarter- to two-acre plots – into a grape growers association. Barely a year later, the group has received advice from multiple experts, pooled funds to order root stock in bulk and planted thousands of vines. In two years, when the vines reach maturity, the association plans to begin selling their combined harvest to local wineries.

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LANL Puts Students to Work for New Mexico Businesses

Monica Abeita

Monica Abeita, Regional Development Corp. for Northern NM Connect

When Scott Laidlaw and Jennifer Harris created Ko’s Journey, a game designed to teach math in middle schools, they weren’t sure how to get it into the marketplace. With help from MBA students participating in a summer internship program at Los Alamos National Laboratory, they are now better prepared. The students helped them target interested schools and made recommendations to market their product on the Internet.

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Small Businesses, Labs Celebrate Collaboration

 

Monica Abeita

Monica Abeita, Regional Development Corp. for Northern NM Connect

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program, created by the state Legislature in 2000 to provide technical help from Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories to small businesses throughout the state.

At the 2011 NMSBA Innovation Celebration, held April 7 at the Indian Cultural Center in Albuquerque, laboratory officials recognized 12 small businesses that have participated in the program. The businesses are in both urban and rural communities of New Mexico, and include agricultural companies, medical technologies and an irrigation district.

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