When the Mindpower surpasses the Manpower

How the Orion Technology Park builds people and businesses of the future of Chihuahua City.

Original post: El Heraldo de Chihuahua and edited by Dani Rubio.

The history of Tec de Monterrey is quite particular. It seems it was yesterday September 6, 1943, when in a house, marked with 858 number in the area of the Barrio Antiguo in the City of Monterrey, the dream of a group of people willing to transform their environment became reality. 75 years later, we find ourselves through these words, sharing one of the many stories that have been constructed from that date and that dream.

Dreaming is easy, however, to bring those dreams to reality, it’s up to some. It is difficult for us to imagine the origin of many of the things we see today: cities, buildings, pieces of art, companies, technological changes, and the course of history. Generally, that origin is summarized to people capable of changing their environment and their dreams to achieve. As Don Eugenio Garza Sada wrote to León Avalos at the time:

“You claim that it will be very expensive to set up an Institute like MIT in our country — as if I did not know them too well, but tell me if it is not more expensive than young people lack quality options or should go to educate themselves elsewhere. To do it we do not occupy “willing portfolios”. — As you say — we need determined people who believe that education can do everything, and even if they do not believe it, there are some …”

History is changed by determined women and men who believe education as a mean to transform our environment.

This formula was repeated in Chihuahua, August 1976, the month in which the Tecnológico de Monterrey opened its doors in our state. Today, with 42 years of life and endless achievements, the Chihuahua Campus is a reference of academic quality, innovation, and leadership in the city.

The entrance of the new century accelerated the changes derived from the economy of knowledge, innovation, technology, and globalization. The need to train conscious leaders, capable of learning, adapting, and transforming their environment, presented unknown challenges for universities. On the one hand, the formative role of the academic institution and on the other, the commitment to impact and develop the community. Once again, the merge of ideas and the will to change the course of history brought to light the Technological Park project.

Probably the people who participated in the project, from the managers, businessmen, government officials, students, entrepreneurs, and all those who believed in the project, never imagined the impact it would have in such a short time and much less the one that probably will have.

Many do not consider it that way, but the first effort of the model was born in 2004 with the Visteon Technical Center that unites teachers and students to a real environment of technology development. Then, faced with the need to develop new companies, in 2009 the PIT2 building opens and finally in 2013 the PIT3; buildings that as a whole form the complex of innovation, entrepreneurship and technological development known as the Parque Tecnológico Orión del Tecnológico de Monterrey.

The name Orión comes from the inspiration of Dr. Antonio Rios, then director of the Park, in reference to the similarity of the three buildings with the Orion constellation. The curious case was given to the following months when a professor explained that Orion was the only constellation capable to create new stars, which fits perfectly with one of the vocations of the Park, the creation of new companies.

A few years after its creation, the Technology Park is a reference in the country and in the Tecnológico de Monterrey System. This due to the union of the university, with a spirit of excellence, and the hands of the Chihuahua’s community, talented people with the conviction of achieving high goals and of contributing through their actions to the improvement of society.

Beyond the infrastructure, in this place we can find a whole community of companies and people in a first level infrastructure with processes, programs, events and initiatives that provoke the interaction of the university, with its professors, students and researchers; the private initiative through its entrepreneurs and investors; and the Government through initiatives that promote the generation of talent and economic development.

This community has three specific objectives: 1. Be the learning model of the 21st century, 2. Promote and carry out scientific and technological activities, and 3. Development and creation of new businesses.

I once heard someone in the park that his mother asked him: “what do you do?”. His answer was simple: “I work with a group of crazy people, who believe they can, and therefore imagine and work every day to change Chihuahua and the world”. In reality, that is what happens in the Park. Every day you can see, in the corridors and in the companies, high school students, professionals, entrepreneurs, consolidated entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, and the curious, trying to achieve their goals; they fall, get up, help each other, try, achieve, celebrate, reveal themselves, learn and, live every day of their dreams. The energy they transmit is contagious, makes you believe that you can, and not only that you believe it, but you try it, and that, that’s what we need.

Creating and maintaining that environment is not an easy thing. It is the kind of project that scares, involves risks and attracts detractors. However, these risks have become challenges that the developers of the project, the Tecnológico de Monterrey, the entrepreneurs, and businessmen who are there, have managed to overcome.

Several of these challenges are coming from the environment, the times of crisis, the difficult access to incentives of the Federal Government to entrepreneurs, insecurity, among other things, makes the picture difficult, but also makes it more necessary to have projects like this one. Challenging times are coming, we need more than ever leaders who have a human sense, a desire, character and entrepreneurial spirit with the qualities and capabilities to compete globally and that is what the Tecnológico de Monterrey does day by day, philosophy and objective that is transferred to the entrepreneurs and companies of the Technology Park.

The Park has managed to establish the conditions for companies to create high-value jobs, attract technology companies, promote investment, the development of new products, the evolution of people and of course, complement the training of students with characteristics unique, that go beyond the classroom, skills of problem solving, resilience, tolerance to failure, detection of opportunities, and social commitment.

In addition, the Park has made it possible to establish a global connection and value relationships with mentors, incubators, investors, and universities in Mexico and around the world. This has resulted in the positioning of the Park, the Tec and the City. At a time, a national media outlet, made a note of the Park with the heading “Decentralize the entrepreneurship”, comparing the projects with what is done in the big cities of the country such as Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey.

Even if the achievements don’t seem important enough (the buildings and the ecosystem), there’s also this:

  • Approximately 150 annual company projects,
  • Practically, 650 fixed users between entrepreneurs and employees
  • The almost twice that represents the average salary of the employees of the Park companies compared to the average for the city
  • More than 1000 companies served, and 2,500 jobs generated
  • About eight hundred thousand dollars invested in technology startups
  • Patents generated
  • Students impacted
  • Wealth generated

And most importantly, the inspiration of many people, who create the stories told in this place.

If you ever visit the Park, give yourself the opportunity to meet TGC, a Chihuahua software company with the CMMI 5 category; Gama Partners, recently named Great Place to Work; or Lienzo, the videogames studio that has put the Rarámuri culture in the eyes of the world, with its videogame, Mulaka; or Seiry and Leo with their organic biofertilizer that in 10 months managed to create a company valued at two million dollars even as students; or Felipe, a fifteen-year-old boy in high school who programs artificial intelligence solutions; or the teacher Martha Mao, who teaches her financial students with real cases of companies in the Park.Anyway, any of the more than six hundred people who are in the Park are interesting and rich stories of listening.

The Technological Park project is a project that has demonstrated that it’s possible. You can generate innovation. You can promote technological development. You can be a catalyst in the students’ formation during their university. You can create an entrepreneurship ecosystem in a city with less than one million people. Yes, you can. It’s a matter of talent, people, and ideas that are visionary enough.

The future is a perfect opportunity for Chihuahua to be an important destination to train students, develop innovation, technology, companies and to be a protagonist player in the new reality of Mexico and the world.

Even if you are not interested in the focus topics of the Park, it is a must stop for its infrastructure, that goes beyond its sustainable design and friendly with the environment, it is an infrastructure that inspires and invites.

Just as Don Eugenio Garza Sada never imagined the magnitude of his project Tec de Monterrey, every day in the Orion Technology Park are born projects that his creators today do not imagine that will define our future and that of our children.