Keywords: Startups, innovation, health sector, Nodo Binacional, Research, IMSS, UNAM, Instituto de Biotecnología, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos
The closing seminar and the Binational NODO Health Innovation program’s graduation, were held on the 29th and 30th of June. The entrepreneurial program dedicated to the creation of Startups within the health sector in Mexico using I-Corps methodology is a multi-institutional effort by the EGADE Business School at Tecnológico de Monterrey, the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS), the Independent University of the State of Morelos and the UNAM Biotechnological Institute. During the seven-weeks duration of the program, the 22 teams have validated the viability of their projects in the market by interviewing various potential clients about the commercialization of their innovations in the health sector."
NODO wants to influence the startup generation and the application of scientific research in Mexico, promoting a practical focus among researchers aimed at innovating and resolving social issues.
Dr. Fernando Moya, the Project Leader and Director of the Executive MBA at the EGADE Business School, described the program as very satisfactory. “This project is just beginning, and it is now time to start thinking of how we can grow it for these companies and products to help generate a knowledge-driven economy in the country”. He also underlined the benefit for the students at the EGADE Business School, who have the opportunity “to participate in highly technological undertakings and innovations, and to interact with researchers from all four institutions, which will contribute immensely to their training and increase their chances of success when bringing it to the market”.
Dr. Teresa de León, the Technical Secretary of the Technological Innovation Fund, and Director of the Technological Commercialization of Conacyt, explained that “through the use of I-Corps, this initiative aims to educate, train and raise the awareness of scientific personnel on the commercialization of technology. This is the beginning of a watershed that we hope to achieve, with scientific personnel beginning to talk about the market, industry, strategic allies and production processes.”
“We hope that by these scientific personnel incorporating these elements that allow them to provide relevance to their technological developments, we will be able to better manage the risk of the projects that we receive in Conacyt or other existing funds and provide participants with the instrumentation they need to increase the value of their initiatives to trigger high value business ideas.”, said Dr. de León.
Dr. Gerardo Corzo from the UNAM Biotechnological Institute, stated that the program had been very revealing. “Addressing a real-life situation has helped us to analyze the market from the customer’s perspective and opened up our business level.
"We have realized that, within the pharmacological development sector, there are areas of opportunity to create manufacturing organizations that are dedicated to taking on projects, evaluating them and proposing an infrastructure to generate a sellable product”, Dr. Corzo added.
Dr. Fátima López, the Head of the IMSS Technological Innovation Division, an institution which participated with 6 innovation projects across different therapeutic areas, said that “the program has increased the researchers’ knowledge of unknown areas and they have learned about the value of their innovations in the market. This program complements the innovative strategy initiated by the IMSS almost 4 years ago, where one of the objectives was to look for an opportunity in the market and a confirmation of the research. Additionally, we have also identified the necessary steps to achieve successful licensing and industry interest in the acquisition of these technologies”.
Marta González, a participating student from EGADE Business School on the “Intelligent White Stick” project, affirmed that “I-Corps was a great opportunity to learn a methodology that really works. We learned to understand people, and that was really rewarding as it made us improve our product to have a worldwide impact”.
Mario, a researcher who is developing a respiratory illnesses diagnostic test (Team 11), stated that “the experience of participating in the Binational NODO Health Innovation program was rewarding in both terms of learning and team work, as every team member played an important part in the development of the process. As researchers, we now know how to tackle issues from a business perspective”.
The program’s graduation ceremony took place in the Tecnológico de Monterrey’s Congress Hall at their Santa Fe campus, concluding the validation process of the business models of the various projects in the medicinal, biotechnological and nanotechnological fields.
The program has I-Corps instructors appointed by the National Science Foundation in the United States along with EGADE Business School teachers, to help train and educate the teams on the methodology.
Beyond the conclusion of the program, NODO wants to influence the creation of startups and the application of scientific research in Mexico, promoting a practical focus among researchers aimed at innovating and resolving social issues.
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