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Entrepreneurship focused bootcamp at UTPA draws large attendance
By Gail Fagan, Public Affairs Representative
381-2741
Posted: 03/11/2010
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More than 200 people learned how to take their entrepreneurial ideas to reality at the second annual Technology Entrepreneurship Bootcamp held March 5 at The University of Texas-Pan American.

Organized by the Office of Innovation and Intellectual Property, the event provided business people, academics, venture capitalists, students, and economic development leaders an opportunity to network and learn from each other as well as from prominent speakers about how to start and grow new businesses and about the tools and resources available for successful technology commercialization.


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Cathy Swain, assistant vice chancellor for commercial development at The University of Texas System’s Office of Research and Technology Transfer, was a presenter at UTPA's second annual Technology Entrepreneurship Bootcamp held March 5.
Camp participants were welcomed by UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen, and heard a keynote address from Kimberley Watson-Hemphill, co-author of the book “Fast Innovation.” Watson-Hemphill, a globally known expert in innovation and operational excellence, shared her techniques for getting new products to market faster at substantial cost savings followed by a question and answer session.

Other speakers included Dr. John Lloyd, director of UTPA’s Rapid Response Manufacturing Center (www.utpa.edu/rrmc); Walter Bissex, an attorney who has represented universities, companies and investors in transactions regarding new company formation; Keith Patridge, president and CEO of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation, who described his organization’s services to foster new business and expansion of existing businesses; and Frank King of Am-Mex Products Inc., a company providing services to new companies not yet ready to set up operations in Mexico. An afternoon talk about raising capital was conducted by Teofilio Tijerina, executive director of EDCO Ventures, an Austin-based organization dedicated to funding new start-ups, and Mayte Mitre-Tunison, business consultant with extensive experience in new company formation and growth.

The challenges faced by new business owners were discussed by participants in a panel discussion titled “Lessons Learned from Regional Start-ups,” moderated by Tijerina. The panel included Carlos Morrett, founder and president of Regenevita S.A. de CV; Jaime Loya, founder of Innovei International; Hugo Diaz, director and co-founder of Biznet, Guatemala; and Charles (Chuck) Taylor, founder and president of Kenaf Industries of South Texas.


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Participants in a bootcamp panel titled "Lessons Learned from Regional Start-Ups" were business founders and executives (left to right) Carlos Morrett, Regenevita S.A. de CV; Jaime Loya, Innovei International; Hugo Diaz, Biznet, Guatemala; and Charles (Chuck) Taylor, Kenaf Industries of South Texas.
Declaring that the state of Texas leads the country in innovation, Cathy Swain, assistant vice chancellor for commercial development at The University of Texas System’s Office of Research and Technology Transfer, gave the final presentation of the day.

“The university role in economic development is a top priority in the state of Texas,” said Swain, who also pointed out the national focus now on the need for entrepreneurship education across the disciplines.

Swain described the UT System’s many activities to enhance university involvement in economic development and to access venture capital and angel investment for UT System startup companies. She said it was the goal of the University of Texas in general and UTPA in particular to lead the way to new business and job growth in South Texas.

Presentations from this year’s bootcamp will be available soon at the UTPA Office of Innovation and Intellectual Property Web site at www.utpa.edu/OIIP. The site also provides information and other resources regarding entrepreneurship and technology commercialization as well as lists of technologies available for licensing.