Planning continues for the Innovation Academy, UNM's new academic program to provide entrepreneurial training to students campus wide who are interested in starting companies. The academy will be a component of the Innovate ABQ project to development an innovation district in Albuquerque.
A mixture of faculty members, venture capitalists, local economic development officials and members of the business community recently met at the University of New Mexico’s Student Union Building to discuss ways to work together.
The group explored the startup process, a problem solving template for launching startup companies and projects, and discussed ways that process might provide a framework to connect students and faculty members with entrepreneurs from Innovate ABQ and the broader Albuquerque Innovations District. In addition to enriching the learning experience for students by encouraging work on real world problems, the groups could see many ways in which their collaboration could also help faculty and students with good ideas start their own companies.
UNM is already working on an Innovation Academy, which is meant to bring faculty and students in different university departments together to work collaboratively on projects. This event was an effort to make sure interested members of the local business community have a way to help shape the collaboration process.
“I would like to thank the business people form ABQid who took time from their busy schedules to meet with us," UNM Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Carol Parker said. "Many UNM faculty already use experiential, problem-based learning methods in their classes. But by involving local entrepreneurs, from Innovate ABQ and the broader Albuquerque Innovation District, in the process of planning for the Innovation Academy, we can crease more opportunities for students to acquire the skills they will need to succeed after they graduate – creativity, critical thinking and the ability to solve problems – by working to solve actual problems through trial and error”
The event was sponsored by STC.UNM. The university is still in the process of purchasing seven acres of property at Broadway and Central, west of the university to help give UNM a physical space to bring students and the business community together. At least part of the space may be used for Innovation Academy activities.