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Arrowhead Center at NMSU welcomes new entrepreneur-in-residence

Release Date: 16 Mar 2021
Arrowhead Center at NMSU welcomes new entrepreneur-in-residence

Arrowhead Center, housed at New Mexico State University, is welcoming its new entrepreneur-in-residence Yun Li. In her role, Li will explore a holistic approach with entrepreneurs, encouraging them to be concrete about what they want for their businesses and how to best focus on finding the solutions.

“We can build an economic power force around NMSU, and leadership has bold initiatives to drive that,” said Li, who is the interim CEO of Filtravate and managing director of VIC Technology Venture Development’s New Mexico branch.

Li started like many other entrepreneurs. Formerly a physicist who worked in the semiconductor industry for nine years, Li felt unhappy and realized that there was no longer a direct fit for her in the industry anymore. She decided to explore beyond the corporate environment, investigating how personal relationships are essential for developing businesses. As a consultant in her first business, Li focused on leadership training programs and seminars.

“I found my true skills were very complimentary; I’m very technical but understand the need for interpersonal relationships,” she said. “I love people who are brave and courageous about being an entrepreneur.”

Li said she’s seen people who may have had all right the skills to build a company, but who get stopped by their mental roadblocks. Those beginning entrepreneurs have internal doubts, like where they can get the money to start the company, something that Li and Arrowhead Center has the resources to help find.

Kathryn Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center, wants clients to feel comfortable with advisers who have been on the same path and came out to be successful like Li.

“Li can relate to someone who was at the very beginning of their journey, someone who knows they have a valuable idea but has doubts about getting it off the ground,” Hansen said. “The environment at Arrowhead Center is not just for those who are already on their way, who have a prototype or who have hired people, but also for those who need to wrap their minds around what it means to be an entrepreneur.”

“There are two things for entrepreneurs to do right, to have the true skills set and overcome a lot of internal doubts,” Li said. “The first of those being a more internally driven conversation centered around cultivating a personal ethos. Anyone who wants to start a business has to know themselves. Of course, they want it, they have the motivation, but they must be very clear about why they want it.”

Li said sometimes it’s checking in with your body and trusting your gut.

“My mind can tell me to quit for many reasons. I have kids. I need money and healthcare. It’s a counterproductive conversation,” she said. “When I calmed the voice in my head and focused on the decision to start my business, I felt relief. That’s listening to your gut.”

The second part of becoming a successful entrepreneur centers around understanding the logistics, economics, finance, and other external factors that defines their business.

“The second need is to discover the technology and develop the business acumen, but those are just problems to be solved,” she said. “For example, investigating value proposition, how do you position yourself that different from others? We can help clients think through things like what market segment should be the first one for their business.”

Li said she hopes to help prospective entrepreneurs consulting with the Arrowhead Center to find this harmonization.

“The entrepreneur-in-residence role is envisioned to be supportive on many levels,” she said. “I will help an entrepreneur start to have those internally resolved conversations, find practical and action-based solutions to external challenges, and everything in between.”

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