Sarkar Defence brings new meaning to the phrase “product endorsement” as its CEO tests one of Sarkar’s stab and ballistic vests on himself. Watch as Sam gets shot with a Winchester 9mm FMJ (center mass), slashed with a machete, and stabbed with a tactical knife.
Ruskat Medical Equipment selected as Manufacturer of the Year honoree for the 2013 Extraordinary Minority Awards
Congratulations to Ruskat Medical Equipment who was selected as Manufacturer of the Year honoree for the 2013 Extraordinary Minority Awards (EMA). The Series is designed to honor minority small business owners for their diversity and success in the El Paso business community.
By Daniel Perez
UTEP News Service
The leader of a team that won $10,000 at the Paso del Norte Venture Competition at The University of Texas at El Paso March 9 called the experience a “rush” for her, and a testament to the caliber of students at UTEP.
Eva Deemer, a doctoral student in materials science and engineering, and her teammates Alex Pastor and Diego Capeletti will take their business plan to provide “environmentally sound water recycling options at affordable prices” to two additional venture contests in coming months where the first prize is $100,000.
Deemer, a native El Pasoan who earned her bachelor’s in chemistry from UTEP in 2008, worked in research and development for several El Paso-based energy companies after graduation. She returned to UTEP a year ago and was encouraged to enter the fifth annual venture competition by her faculty mentors.
She teamed with Capeletti, an M.B.A. student, and Pastor, a junior economics major, in November and began to carefully craft a business plan for American Water Recycling (AWR). The team’s preparations included watching YouTube videos of similar competitions conducted at Duke University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“By the time we were done I felt as if we could compete with anyone in the country,” she said a few days after her team’s victory. “The competition was tough, but it was fun. The experience teaches you the tough realities of the business world.”
The key is AWR’s use of graphene, a carbon-based substance that is thin, strong and an efficient conductor of heat and electricity. Deemer said the company easily can pivot and use the same technology to tackle some of the world’s other environmental problems.
“We are on the verge of something big. This is not a joke technology. The sky is the limit,” she said during an interview in the UTEP offices of the Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce, which helped sponsor the contest. The center is a joint venture between UTEP’s colleges of Engineering and Business Administration.
The AWR team competed against other participants from UTEP, New Mexico State University and the Instituto Tecnológico Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Tec de Monterrey), whose projects included mobile wellness technologies, cloud-based collaborative platforms, cyber and energy security, the next generation of interactive advertising, solar technology and green construction materials. Each team had to create plans that involved forecasting, market research and financial cash flows. One new wrinkle this year was the inclusion of a professional track that allows some local companies to compete.
“The goal of the competition is to improve the entrepreneurial spirit and enhance our region’s economy,” said Aaron Cervantes Herrera, coordinator of the Loya Center. “Additionally, we try to compliment classroom theory with hands-on experience.”
Among the judges was Federica Pericle, Ph.D., chief executive officer of EP Pharma, and a part-time staff member at UTEP’s Center for Research Entrepreneurship and Innovative Enterprises (CREIE). After one presentation, she offered positive reinforcement and suggestions to improve the project’s scope and chances of future success.
“To sell a product, you just need to understand the product,” Pericle said during a break. “(She and her fellow judges) ask the questions that will improve their presentations and give them a competitive advantage. It’s an interactive process. It’s fun to see the creativity in action.”
Robert Nachtmann, D.B.A., dean of UTEP’s College of Business Administration, likened venture competitions to moot court in law school where students research a case, analyze all sides, and practice formulating concise ideas and ways to express them. The judges in the UTEP competition are in the business of launching businesses, so they know what to look for, the right questions to ask and the right advice to give.
“The University teaches the different disciplines needed to run a business, but this exercise helps students learn how to grow a business,” he said. “They need to learn how to pitch what they know to individuals and groups who could provide financial support. When you run a business, you deal with all kinds of operations, but you have to learn how to launch a business. That could be the most difficult thing of all.”
The successful synergy between the business and engineering students was the vision of the Loya Center, said Richard Schoephoerster, Ph.D., dean of UTEP’s College of Engineering. He praised the competition as a perfect environment to learn what it takes to grow an idea through its various stages of development.
He wants the competition to have an impact on the region’s economic development, where winners will be in a position in the next five to 10 years to build their companies with highly qualified UTEP graduates, thus helping drive the region’s economy.
Among the other top competition sponsors were The Hub of Human Innovation and TVO North America.
Dan O’Rourke, with KTSM, recently did a story about The Hub and our mission. Like us on Facebook and check out the video!
POSTED: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 – 7:09pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 – 7:10pm
EL PASO — El Paso City Council today approved more funding for HUB of Human Innovation, which is in the business of helping other imaginative businesses get started. It offers consulting on various levels for both local startups and established companies from far away. Its latest clients include a company from France and another from Scotland which manufactures body armor for law enforcement. When those companies agree to headquarter or manufacture in El Paso, they may qualify for help from HUB.
The city hopes that when such businesses succeed here, they will grown hire more local employees, and circulate profits through the local economy.
HUB, however, is not for local business like restaurants and dry cleaners that do local business sales only.
To contact HUB, call (915) 321-3125
Don’t miss a great opportunity to invest in yourself and your business.
The Hub Advanced Entrepreneurship Program, launching in April, goes “beyond the basics” to guide entrepreneurs through the creation and growth of a company that has a global marketplace and high income potential. Many participants will launch a business during the program. The deadline to apply is April 1. (No fooling!)
We’re recruiting up to 25 entrepreneurs, with previous entrepreneurship training and business experience. Anyone who has managed a team and a budget, and who wants to launch or grow a company beyond local markets, will benefit from this program.
The Hub has previously collaborated closely with the successful RampCorp advanced program for women entrepreneurs in El Paso. The new Hub AEP has evolved and expanded to include men.
In this new program, participants will receive 14 weeks of hands-on instruction and individual coaching from experienced investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders. Sessions will feature panelists and guest speakers.
By the end of the program, participants will have prepared and presented a pitch for their businesses, including business model, marketing strategy, financial model and funding strategy. They will also develop their professional skills.
The Hub AEP will meet Tuesday evenings for 14 weeks at The Hub of Human Innovation, 500 W. Overland. Participants will also complete a one-hour Webinar or other virtual training each week.
The cost is $1,500. Payment plans and limited scholarships may be available. Please visit hubofhumaninnovation.org to apply.
The Hub of Human Innovation incubator works with entrepreneurs who have “scalable ideas” to bring those ideas to market. Hub staff, partners and volunteers also work with companies based outside the region, seeking a “soft landing” to launch new products or tap new markets from here.
The “Hub Works” Monthly Workshops, open to the public, take place the fourth Thursday afternoons of most months and are followed by “Hub After Hours” networking to connect innovative companies with know-how, talent, technology and capital.
The next Hub Works Workshop on March 28, “Law School for Startups,” will feature legal experts to guide entrepreneurs.
If you are interested in any of the Hub programs, please attend our next networking session at 5 p.m. March 28. For more information, please check hubofhumaninnovation.org, email email@example.com or call 915-321-3125.
Cathy Swain is the executive director of The Hub of Human Innovation. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2013 6:00 pm
By El Paso Inc. staff
Three local businesses poised to grow global operations based in the region, along with three teams of UTEP students, were the big winners in the Paso del Norte Venture Competition March 9 at UTEP’s College of Business Administration.
This is the fifth year for the student competition, but the first time local non-student start-ups were part of a professional track organized by the Hub of Human Innovation, a technology incubator in Downtown El Paso.
In the professional track, LIMBS International, an El Paso-based non-profit providing low-cost, high-quality prosthetics around the world, took home the top prize: $10,000 and other in-kind services, including one year of affiliate incubation services at the Hub, with a value of $3,600, and $500 in accounting services from White, Samaniego & Campbell.
“We are a growing organization looking to make a difference in the El Paso-Juarez-Las Cruces region and worldwide,” said Trevor Bergman, LIMBS executive director. “The prize money will help us increase our local impact, as well as go a long way in helping us engage communities and restore lives through sustainable, affordable prosthetic solutions.”
Second place went to for Ruskat Medical, which is commercializing its innovative Hospital in a Box technology worldwide. It won $3,000 cash and six months of affiliate incubation services at the Hub, with a value of $1,800.
For taking third place, Traction Jack will receive three months of affiliate incubation services at the Hub, a $900 value, to market their patented device that helps vehicles escape from being stuck in mud, snow, sand, etc.
“We are that ecstatic 24 companies from all corners of the Borderland applied for this competition and 13 finalists competed with very high quality 10-minute pitches,” said Cathy Swain, the Hub’s CEO and executive director. “The goal is to nurture each of these innovative ideas and help them become major players in our regional economy.”
The student contest was made up of nine teams from the El Paso-Juarez-Las Cruces area, including teams from UTEP, NMSU and Instituto Tecnológico Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. The teams varied in scope from water recycling and mobile wellness to cyber security and leadership building.
In addition to the $10,000 cash prize for first place, UTEP’s student team American Water Recycling will receive affiliate incubation services at The Hub for a year.
“We aim to help the student innovators get their ventures off the ground to become part of the entrepreneurial fabric that is the core of every economy around the country,” Swain said.
American Water Recycling also gets to compete for the $100,000 prize in cash and in-kind services in the University of Texas at Austin’s Global Venture Labs Investment Competition in April. The top four UTEP teams will also compete in the UT System’s new contest, which features another $100,000 prize.
Second place in the student competition and $5,000 in cash went to UTEP’s Mobile Wellness Technologies, plus United Bank of Paso del Norte awarded them $500 for the best business plan.
A third prize of $1,000 went to UTEP’s CyberShark team, which also won $500 from UTEP’s Center for Research entrepreneurship and Innovation Enterprise for the best elevator pitch. Challenge round winners Ludus and EcoLogix teams each received $500.
The Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce hosted the PDN Venture Competition. The Hub of Human Innovation sponsored and coordinated the professional track, while United Bank and CREIE sponsored the student contest. Several other general support and in-kind sponsors included White, Samaniego & Campbell and TVO North America.
By Vic Kolenc / El Paso Times
Posted: 03/14/2013 12:00:00 AM MST
UTEP’s American Water Recycling team, aimed at low-cost water-recycling products, won the student competition and now gets a shot at a $100,000 prize in the University of Texas’ global venture competition.
Limbs International and the UTEP team each won $10,000 and a year of incubation services at The Hub of Human Innovation.
Ruskat Medical, an El Paso startup with a portable diagnostic unit trademarked as Hospital in a Box, was second in the company category, and won $3,000 and six months of Hub incubation. UTEP’s Mobile Wellness Technologies team, aimed at health-management products, was second in the student category and won $5,500.
Posted: Sunday, March 10, 2013 6:00 pm
By Robert Gray El Paso Inc. staff writer
There’s a professional boxer turned entrepreneur, a biotech startup that’s developing technology to print human skin, and a non-profit that produces inexpensive artificial limbs for the developing world.
Another venture would transform a vacant, $11-million medical building into an outpatient health care center.
Those budding ventures and nine others, all located in or around El Paso, are competing in El Paso’s first-ever venture competition for professionals this weekend.
The entrepreneurs are hoping to win $10,000 and a spot at the HUB of Human Innovation, and hoping that El Paso’s only business incubator will turn their idea into big business.
For years, college students have competed in the Camino Real Venture Competition, pitting their business plans against each other. But this year the competition was renamed the Paso del Norte Venture Competition and split into two tracks – a student track and professional track.
The 13 ventures make 15-minute business pitches to a panel of judges comprised of angel investors, bankers and venture capitalists at the University of Texas at El Paso. The best pitch wins.
Cesar Valenzuela, a professional boxer from El Paso, and his partners are developing a website,grattic.com, that combines e-commerce and social networking. It would promote the work of independent artists, musicians and fashion designers.
“Whether we win or not, we are still getting exposure, and that is what we want,” Valenzuela says.
The startup needs $50,000 to $55,000 to launch, according to Valenzuela. His partner, David Ramirez, owns the NY Bagel Café & Deli in Far East El Paso.
Thomas Boland, sometimes referred to as the “grandfather of bio-printing,” is developing technology to print biomaterial such as living skin cells. He is a professor of metallurgical and materials engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso.
CEO Laura Bosworth says the company, TeVido Bio Devices, is seeking $50 million to $60 million in venture capital.
Right now, the startup is developing a natural breast implant for breast cancer patients who have undergone a lumpectomy. Bosworth estimates the product is 10 years away from market.
While the technology is still in its infancy, biomedical engineers hope it could one day be used to print entire organs for transplants.
Like Valenzuela, Bosworth, says the competition isn’t just about winning.
“Soon we will be trying to approach hospitals and recruit doctors. This is just a fabulous way to get some publicity and community support,” Bosworth says.
LIMBS International produces inexpensive prosthetic limbs for the developing world.
The non-profit works in prosthetic clinics in Asia, Latin America and Africa, but is hoping to raise $2 million over the next three years to broaden its reach, says LIMBS executive director Trevor Bergman.
“We’re not limited by opportunities, we are limited by resources like any startup,” Trevor says.
Other competing ventures include Intagliati, which creates digitally fabricated wood products; Pasolus, which helps companies become more energy efficient; Ruskat Medical Equipment Corp., which produces a “Hospital in a Box”; and Traction Jack, which makes a device that helps vehicles become unstuck.
One-stop medical shop
Jay Butler, chief operating officer, says he is working to form a multi-physician outpatient health care center called Butler Healthcare in El Paso. It would be located in the building at 4532 N. Mesa abandoned by the Center for Integrative Cancer Medicine in early 2011 after it ran into financial troubles and filed for bankruptcy.
Butler is seeking $29 million in startup capital to buy the building, equipment and hire physicians.
“This is what is important. There are lots of places to get health care in El Paso. The problem is they don’t have everything you need under one room,” Butler says.
Butler Healthcare would be that “one-stop shop,” he says.
There’s also Urban Station, an innovative shared office space; EP Pharma, a biotech startup developing drugs to treat immunological disorders; Danportt Enterprises, which has developed a unique table for truckers; 2Ten Coffee Roasters, which is a coffee supplier; and Asymptopia Software, which produces education software.
The competition is sponsored by the Hub of Human Innovation, which was launched almost two years ago amidst a cluster of technology companies in the Transtelco Building in Downtown at 500 W. Overland.
The Hub aims to turn baby startups in the region into high-growth global companies.
E-mail El Paso Inc. reporter Robert Gray at email@example.com or call (915) 534-4422 ext. 105.
Paso Del Norte Venture Competition widens scope
By Paula Monarez Diaz \ El Paso Times Posted: 03/09/2013 12:00:00 AM MST
The Paso Del Norte Venture Competition, an event that offers people the opportunity to create or grow a startup company, has expanded its focus this year.
The event, held at UTEP’s Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce this weekend, has opened its doors to private startups for the first time. In the past, only university students participated. “We are excited to be hosting the 2013 Paso Del Norte Venture Competition,” said Sacnite Ramos, UTEP’s assistant director of the Undergraduate Programs for the College of Business Administration, in an email. “This venture competition gives local students and entrepreneurs the opportunity to create or grow a startup company, and provides professional direction and mentorship for their venture.”
This is the fifth annual competition to be held UTEP, said Nancy Lowery, assistant director of the Hub of Human Innovation, a competition sponsor. “We have nine teams from universities in the El Paso, Ciudad Juárez and Las Cruces region,” Lowery said in an email.
“There will be 13 local companies participating in the PDNVC.” Participants from UTEP, New Mexico State University and the Instituto Tecnológico Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (Tec de Monterrey) have been working for five months on their plans, which involve forecasting, market research and financial cash flows. Their subjects include mobile wellness technologies, water recycling, cloud-based collaborative platforms, cyber and energy security, the next generation of interactive advertising, solar technology and green construction materials, said Aaron Cervantes Herrera, coordinator of the Loya
The competition is a platform for entrepreneurial minds to find new ways to become active players in the regional economy. Panels of judges, which include bankers, investors and entrepreneurs, will pick the winner. All presentations will be in the Business Administration Building.
The interaction between the teams and the judges is similar to that on the popular ABC reality show “Shark Tank,” where a panel of successful entrepreneurs consider investing in startup companies, he said. However, in the competition, the judges will provide professional direction and mentorship. “The goal of the competition is to improve the entrepreneurial spirit and enhance our region’s economy,” Herrera said in an email. “Additionally, we try to complement classroom theory with hands-on experience.”
The winning team will receive $10,000 cash, plus in-kind services. Additional prizes will be given for best business plan and best elevator pitch. In addition, the overall winning team will receive an invitation to participate in the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business Venture Labs Investment Competition. The winning team of that competition receives a $100,000 mixture of in-kind services and cash. In addition, the four top UTEP teams will be invited to compete in the UT System’s new competition, where they also have an opportunity to win $100,000.
Information: Aaron Cervantes Herrera at 747-6157 or pdnvc.org
The Hub of Human Innovation business incubator is searching for entrepreneurs and start-ups in the region with big ideas, interested in competing in El Paso’s first ever venture competition for professionals.
For years, college students have competed in the Camino Real Venture Competition, pitting their business plans against each other. But this year the competition has been renamed the Paso del Norte Venture Competition and split into two tracks – a student track and professional track. “We wanted to expand this opportunity to entrepreneurs
in the community,” says Hub director Cathy Swain. “Our belief is the entrepreneurial culture here is alive and very, very well.”
Intent to compete forms are due Monday, Feb. 11, the competition entry forms are due Feb. 25, and the competition is March 9 at the Mike Loya Center for Innovation and Commerce at the University of Texas at El Paso. The top 10 ventures will have the opportunity to make 15-minute business pitches to a panel of judges comprised of angel investors, bankers and venture capitalists. The best pitch wins.
First prize includes $10,000 and a year of incubation at the Hub. The second-place prize is $3,000. To be eligible for the professional track, the business must be incorporated and located in the Paso del Norte region and must meet two of these three criteria:
• Have been in business no longer than three years
• Have no more than $250,000 in total annual revenue
• Have less than five full-time employees.
“We want businesses that can actually scale beyond the region. They are going to base, here but their impact extends beyond the region,” Swain says. “So we aren’t looking, for example, for local restaurants or dry cleaners, which are a critical part of the economy
here and are served by a lot of other organizations.”
The Hub of Human Innovation, located amidst a cluster of technology companies in the Transtelco Building in Downtown at 500 W. Overland, will coach entrepreneurs and help them perfect their pitches. The startup factory, launched close to two years ago, aims
to turn baby startups in the region into high-growth global companies. “We are trying to get people to lift their head a little bit and see what is possible out there,” Swain says. “There is a real global opportunity, and we are so strategically located to capture it right here in the border region.”
Paso del Norte Venture Competition
Saturday, March 9
Mike Loya Center
University of Texas at El Paso
Information: (915) 321-3121