Innovate El Paso & Texas Tech

Not everyone knows the world of commercialization, emerging technology, startups, or venture capital. Think of Shark Tank. Imagine yourself, a burgeoning entrepreneur, sitting on the cusp of the next greatest invention that would disrupt industry as we know it. Certain cities are considered “entrepreneurial hubs”, such as Silicon Valley, Boston, and Boulder, Colorado. But in the seemingly dusty, West Texas plains of El Paso, Texas, the most seasoned of entrepreneurs might raise an eyebrow if they knew the potential for innovation.

Rosey is not just a grant writer. She’s a strategic thinker, a strategic planner. – Eli Velasquez

During its younger years, Incite encountered a unique non profit – Innovate El Paso. The non-profit was charged with spurring innovation, invention, research and access to capital for the nine most west Texas counties.

After reviewing the organizational structure, methods of revenue, and sustainability efforts, it was clear that the potential for this organization was in reach – but not through the current architecture of the organization.

Eli Velasquez, then Director of Innovate El Paso listened to the needs assessment for Innovate El Paso to become acquired by a larger organization in order to survive the market changes and funding requirements.

Rosey recognized the clouds on the horizon, and she steered us toward a more sustainable, scalable plan.

After much deliberation and review of potential partners, the roots of Innovate El Paso now reside within Texas Tech University System, Office of Technology Commercialization.

Rosalinda, so inspired by its mission, remains with the organization as Director for its El Paso based office. From this office grew new programs and initiatives. Innovate El Paso became Innovate West Texas, a vast, informal network of universities spanning the greater 2/3 of West Texas. Accelerator programs such as the Techcelerator are grooming future entrepreneurs and pushing out startups with licensed technologies.

In 6 short months, the office pitched four funding proposals. Three were approved, totaling 1.4 million in three-year renewable grants. The Office of Technology Commercialization went from an annual budget of $250,000 to $2.5M, and the opportunity to do more than what was expected–what was thought to be possible–continues to amaze others.

Eli is quick to quantify the results of Rosalinda’s strategy: “Today, our budget is ten times larger, and we have a wider scope. Our mission is the same; we just have a much greater influence.”