In 2016, the MCA Foundation partnered with the Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI) to launch the SPACE RACE, a Paso del Norte (PDN) Innovation Challenge designed to spur regional economic growth by launching new startups to advance and commercialize NASA’s commercially viable inventions.
CAI, a nonprofit organization based out of Bethesda, MD focused on accelerating commercialization and creating new entrepreneurial platforms is leveraging the new Startup NASA initiative, which offers startups the opportunity to license patented NASA technologies with no upfront fees. Startup NASA helps address two of the biggest challenges faced by startup companies: raising capital and securing intellectual property rights. The SPACE RACE will also help the PDN region address its biggest challenges to growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem, lack of commercially-viable deal flow and limited trained entrepreneurs.
In July 2017, the MCA Innovation Center selected 11 El Paso-based technology startups for its inaugural acceleration program to help bring their products to market. Participating startups were supported with nine months of facilities access, entrepreneurship training, specialized innovation programs and pre-seed funding from $5,000 to $50,000.
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