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SkySong attracts innovative companies


March 05, 2007

Two innovative entrepreneurial companies from Mexico have announced their intent to establish U.S. operations at SkySong, the ASU-Scottsdale Innovation Center : Ensitech and Energy Ventures, both based in Monterrey, Mexico.

Ensitech is a software development firm offering on-demand solutions for e-business, e-commerce and Internet marketing products for small- and medium-sized businesses with low in-house technology capability. Ensitech provides e-commerce services to OXXO Inmuebles, the real estate developer for Mexico's largest retail chain, which is similar to America's Circle K stores.

Energy Ventures provides performance management services for companies committed to electric power production. As a General Electric spin-off, Energy Ventures provides thermal evaluation and project evaluation services to utilities in Latin America.

ASU Technopolis, ASU's program that educates, coaches and connects innovators, will be assisting Ensitech and Energy Ventures by providing them with entrepreneurial coaching and U.S. commercialization strategy expertise.

Both firms learned about the opportunities at SkySong while participating in a unique workshop held last fall at Tecnológico de Monterrey in Monterrey. The two-day workshop, titled “Building Successful Ventures in the United States,” was a collaborative effort of ASU's Office of Economic Affairs, the global law firm Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, and Grupo N (now Reister Multicultural). Mexican business leaders representing a variety of export-oriented firms attended the workshop.

“We are very enthusiastic to have this new opportunity for our company because it is a priority for us to participate in the business market that the United States represents,” says Jorge Ayala, director for Ensitech and an alumnus of Tecnológico de Monterrey. “We see SkySong as the gateway to connect with other global firms. It (SkySong) is our first step into the world marketplace.”

“After meeting with experts, we confirmed that our marketing strategies and products have a strong competitive advantage in the U.S. market,” adds Ricardo Montes de Oca Hernández, director of marketing for Ensitech. “Our entry strategy is to develop a partner network with companies interested in the U.S. Hispanic market.”

“The letters of intent (LOIs) from Ensitech and Energy Ventures set the initial framework to work with each company on a one-to-one basis,” says Julia Rosen, ASU's assistant vice president for economic affairs. “The LOIs grant the companies access to an array of ASU resource,s such as training and coaching programs, market-entry services, business development, and research and development collaborations.”

“The collaboration we observe here between business and university illustrates in a very positive way how two universities, that are engaged with their communities, can generate a binational relationship in and out of the classroom,” says Arturo Torres, associate vice president for business development and continuing education at the Tecnológico de Monterrey System.

The relationship between ASU and the Tecnológico de Monterrey began in 2003, prompted by the signing of the first memorandum of understanding to establish a Community Learning Center (http://clc.asu.edu/) at ASU. At that time, the president of the Tecnológico de Monterrey system, Rafael Rangel, accepted an invitation from ASU President Michael Crow to attend Mexican President Vicente Fox's historical visit to Phoenix. Tecnológico de Monterrey, often referred to as “the MIT of Mexico,” is the main and largest private institution in Mexico. It has a system comprising 33 campuses, as well as a virtual university.

ASU and Tecnológico de Monterrey are breaking new ground with an unprecedented collaboration across borders designed to pave the way for innovative global partnerships among institutions of higher learning.

On Oct. 11, both presidents signed an institutional agreement intending to help the development of strategic bilateral programs. This overarching agreement encompasses all existing programs and sets the framework for ASU-Tecnológico de Monterrey interactions. Joint collaborations will fall under four strategic clusters: entrepreneurship, academic programs, research and online collaborations

ASU also is developing relationships with institutions, businesses and entrepreneurs in Singapore, Ireland, China, Mexico and Germany as part of its strategy to make SkySong a place where international businesses will locate and interact with Arizona companies and university innovators. The first phase of SkySong is expected to open this fall.