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Air Force teams with UNLV to innovate

Air Force teams with UNLV to innovate. 7/31/17 (Christy Wilcox | KSNV)

On July 19, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson was at Nellis Air Force Base preparing to share information about a new program in the pipeline called AFwerX. The program will test collaborating with UNLV and the public to innovate ideas and for problem-solving.

Major General Pete Gersten said Nellis Air Force base was chosen for the program launch because it is the hub of tactics, technics, training, and advanced innovation. Gersten said they have access to just about every portion of the Air Force.

The Air Force is teaming with UNLV’s Center for Entrepreneurship.

They plan to open a new set of doors near UNLV to welcome innovators in 2018. There's as much to be gained by failing as there is succeeding said this is where the public will have a chance to work hand in hand with the Air Force.

“There may be a student or a civilian or a professor out there who says why do you do it this way? Maybe you should do it this way?” said Gersten.

Leith Martin is the Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship At UNLV. He said innovation is difficult in big organizations and it's easier to innovate those ideas in smaller organizations. Martin said events like Hack-A-Thons will be part of the effort to find new ways to accomplish tasks.

The Air Force will offer up problems and ask for solutions. They plan to push innovators until most fail, leaving a small percentage of people who move on to the next level. Some say this partnership will not only clear the run way for the Air Force but also help UNLV and Las Vegas take flight.

Martin said UNLV has a unique student base because most students have five years’ work experience. People with more experience are typically better equipped to start a company than a recent college graduate with less experience.

The Air Force is currently looking for a place to set up their store front near UNLV, where they will eventually open their doors.

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