LC Bulletin: Innoventure shapes futures

March 4, 2011. Retrieved online March 7, 2011 from Samantha Roberts, Las Cruces Bulletin

Camp encourages innovation and entrepreneurship

At New Mexico State University, students are encouraged to think beyond the classroom, especially in the fields of entrepreneurship and engineering.

The 2011 Arrowhead Center Innoventure competition, which will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 4, at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces, 705 S. Telshor Blvd., fosters the spirit of invention and challenges students to apply their skills in technical design as well as using their business skills, while following an annual theme.

“This year’s theme is to develop a product in a sustainable community,” said Sarah Pirayesh Sanders, entrepreneurship director for the Arrowhead Center. “We have named the community “Innoventure-ville” and students have to build something that relates to one of the six areas, such as water, transportation, building materials, etc.”

Middle and high school students are encouraged to compete and come from all across New Mexico, with a concentration of students from Las Vegas, Ruidoso, Deming, Carlsbad and Las Cruces.

“One really neat aspect is the event is (supplemented) with a social networking site (,”Sanders said. “The whole camp is actually run off this site, and students can chat with other participants and bounce ideas off each other throughout the year.”

With the goal of fostering creativity and ingenuity, the camp brings in people that will inspire the students.

“Last year, the theme was to develop a portable kit that can be used to help people in dire circumstances,” she said. “We paired the challenge with keynote speaker Blake Mycoskie of TOMS shoes.”

Mycoskie owns and operates a shoe company that designs and sells lightweight shoes. With every pair sold, TOMS donates a new pair of shoes to a child in need.

The previous year, Matt Roloff from “Little People Big World” visited the competition and students were challenged to invite a product that could be used by little people.

“This year, keynote speaker Leticia BritosCavagnaro from Stanford University, will be talking about creative design in the innovation process,” Sanders said.

The event will be at 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 4, and is open to the public.

But the benefits extend beyond meeting entrepreneurial celebrities.

“We are trying to get students to understand the importance of business and engineering as a pair,” she said. “There is also a heavy social component, such as building a company around doing something good.”

Read the Las Cruces Bulletin article.

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