Future New Mexico State University Aggies from the Santo Domingo Pueblo pose with representatives from the NMSU Indian Resources Development program and NMSU’s American Indian Program. | Photo courtesy NMSU
Native American communities will have a new home to explore their business ideas at New Mexico State University.
Arrowhead Center, NMSU’s entrepreneurship and innovation center, has been awarded a grant by the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency to establish the American Indian Business Enterprise program.
The $260,000 grant will expand Studio G, a business accelerator for students and recent alumni, to the American Indian Community. AIBE harnesses Arrowhead Center’s network of business experts, offers training via online and in-person classes and has workspaces for start-up businesses to find a foothold in their industry.
“These grants affirm MBDA’s long-standing commitment to economic development in Indian Country,” said Henry Childs II, MBDA national director. “There are many examples of economic success in Indian Country. This includes areas such as energy, tourism, and gaming. Indigenous communities are a vital part of regional economies but are often disconnected from efforts to promote regional and rural development.”
Childs added, “This disconnect contributes to disparities in socio-economic outcomes experienced in Indian Country. MBDA’s investments will help link Indigenous communities with regional and rural development efforts.”
Locally, both the NMSU Indian Resources Development program and NMSU’s American Indian Program are eager to take part in the development at Arrowhead Center.
“The American Indian Program is excited to work with AIBE,” said Michael Ray, AIP director. “As our Aggies share their plans for shaping the future, we know they will have great guidance and a strong support system.”
Claudia Trueblood, IRD director, said that the mission of IRD is to connect New Mexico indigenous youth with educational and on-the-job opportunities in business, agriculture, natural resources and engineering.
“Arrowhead Center’s AIBE program, in partnership with IRD, will afford more opportunities for Native American students to start and grow their own businesses which in turn will inspire other students and contribute to the economic development of tribal communities,” she said.
Brooke Montgomery, Studio G and AIBE deputy site director, said that Arrowhead Center already has a network of 14 sites throughout the state and in Tribal Countries to work with the program.
AIBE also has a student ambassador, Keanu Jones of Navajo Tech University, who is excited to get started.
“As a student at Navajo Technical University, I’m looking forward to the future developments of this great opportunity,” Jones said. “Economic development is a huge issue across Indian Country and by taking small steps to develop avenues for entrepreneurs to grow and sustain could be an answer.”
Join in the celebration with Provost Carol Parker, Navajo Technical University director Ben Jones and Arrowhead Center staff for the official ribbon cutting of the AIBE at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at Arrowhead Center, 655 Research Dr. in Las Cruces. Register for free online.
For more information about the AIBE, contact Brooke Montgomery at firstname.lastname@example.org or 575-646-1859.
Author: Cassie McClure – NMSU