Texas Tech University

Commercialization Expert to Moderate State Department Webinar

Eli Velasquez

Eli Velasquez

Eli Velasquez, Texas Tech University's director of venture development within the Office of Research Commercialization, will serve as moderator and panelist for a U.S. Department of State webinar next week focusing on how innovative new companies can carve out their niche.

The TechConnect webinar, “Disruptive Innovations: Making Competition Irrelevant,” is scheduled for 10 a.m. CDT Tuesday (Aug. 9). As part of the State Department's Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) program, the event will give insight from a panel of experts on how startup companies can create new, uncontested market space for their products instead of entering a market already saturated with competition.

Panelists will discuss their strategies based on research from hundreds of successful startups used to build and sustain lucrative companies.

In addition to Velasquez, the panelists are:

  • Hemai Parthasarathy, scientific director of the Thiel Foundation
  • Shintaro Kaido, Kauffman Fellow and director of Drexel Ventures, Drexel University
  • Duygu Oktem, venture adviser for the European Investment Fund and founder of DO Consultancy LLC

The TechConnect webinars began after President Barack Obama's June 2009 speech in Cairo in which he stressed the importance of providing opportunities for education, innovation and economic development for people, young and old, in developing and war-torn countries. The State Department created the quarterly webinars as a means of disseminating knowledge across the world.

“For me, it is a privilege to represent Texas Tech on a global stage and share knowledge and insights from what some would consider a geographically isolated community,” Velasquez said. “Yet, through the power of technology, we can reach the furthest corners of the world. Our university's motto could never be truer: From here, it is possible.”

Velasquez's selection for the panel is the latest in a series of ongoing efforts at Texas Tech to promote and expand its innovation and technology commercialization opportunities:

  • Texas Tech Innovation Hub at Research Park: This 40,000-square-foot facility is designed to become a resource for the faculty, students and entrepreneurs of both Texas Tech and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center as well as community members interested in launching new ventures.
  • Texas Tech Accelerator: This intensive launch program provides mentoring, grants and education to startups and discovers licensing opportunities based on innovative and world-changing technologies developed in research labs at Texas Tech, NASA and Crane Naval Labs.
  • I-Corps: This intensive NSF program is designed to enable scientists and engineers to identify paths to market for inventions. Central to the program is the validation of commercialization hypotheses through a process of customer discovery.
  • Texas Tech Innovation Mentorship and Entrepreneurship (TTIME): The organization is designed to create a culture of entrepreneurship across campus and is open to all undergraduate and graduate students from all majors. The group is a foundational effort to provide students with resources and support to turn their innovative ideas into reality.
  • Red Raider Startup: This is a 72-hour, learn-by-doing, campus workshop that teaches entrepreneurial skills to university students in an extreme hands-on environment.
  • Hub Camp: This is a 72-hour workshop focusing on how to articulate and develop a compelling business model in preparation for raising startup capital.
  • Global Laboratory for Energy Asset Management and Manufacturing (GLEAMM): This collaboration connects unique field testing, certification and manufacturing facilities with university innovators and industry leaders to research, develop and commercialize technologies, services and next-generation power electronics.
  • Texas Tech Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Resource Center: The federal SBIR/STTR programs provide funds for early-stage research and development at small U.S. businesses. The Texas Tech SBIR/STTR Resource Center serves the rural West Texas community and provides assistance to those starting small businesses with a technology research focus.

View the webinar here.

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