South Texas College (STC) has entered an agreement with the McAllen Chamber of Commerce to begin designing prototypes for those participating in its Inventors and Entrepreneurs Network.
STC and the Chamber held a signing for their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Dec. 7. The MOU establishes a cooperative venture to design and create 3D prototypes for inventors and entrepreneurs.
The agreement essentially paves the way for the college’s Advanced Manufacturing and Architectural and Engineering Design Technology Program to begin offering its facilities, 3D printers, and instructor expertise to design made-to-order prototypes for private firms and individuals.
“An important part of the college’s role is to be catalysts for economic development, and to help create jobs. This leads to prosperity for the entire community,” said STC President Dr. Shirley A. Reed. “It’s our job to partner with the Chamber, with local entrepreneurs, to provide this service and it’s a great opportunity for our students to get real world experience. I applaud you for reaching out to us, and I applaud Dean Reyna for facilitating this collaborative commitment. I think we have a great model. We just need to make it work.”
The McAllen Chamber utilizes a number of programs to bolster innovation in the community. It’s Innovation and Entrepreneur program has been established as a support system so inventors can bring their ideas to fruition. By partnering with STC, the Chamber has found a part of the puzzle that enables inventors and entrepreneurs to offer working prototypes to offer customers and investors.
“This is a huge part of the puzzle because one of the key elements that we have been lacking are working prototypes,” said McAllen Chamber President Steve Ahlenius. “I think the partnership with STC will give us an opportunity for local inventors to get their prototype developed at a reasonable cost that they can use to get their product into customers’ hands. From my perspective, it’s a gamechanger. It’s something that is long overdue, and it’s a great fit between STC and the Chamber as well as with the inventors and entrepreneurs we have in the community.”
STC’s Architectural and Engineering Design Technology program has been established to prepare the students for employment in architectural drafting, construction and manufacturing related industries. Students learn principles of drafting, architectural drafting, civil drafting, layout and design, application of the latest drawing software programs, current knowledge of building standards and codes, and construction materials and specifications.
“The partnership will continue with the Chamber. We will get more involved with the entrepreneurs and inventors network. We will talk to all the individuals that they select so we can help them design and create a prototype for the project they have,” said Mario Reyna, Dean for Business and Technology at South Texas College. “This is an exciting point in our development of the program because now we will have actual ideas from actual inventors and entrepreneurs who want to see a prototype they intent to commercialize.”