New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center recognized Native American Heritage Month by opening the American Indian Business Enterprise Center which was created through a grant from the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency.
The $260,000 grant will expand Arrowhead’s Studio G by creating the AIBE Center which will assist American Indian entrepreneurs start new businesses and establish themselves in the industry by providing a resources for Native American students, according to Studio G and AIBE Deputy Director Brooke Montgomery.
“Some of those resources for example, are about 40 to 50 professionals in the city that give free time to advise and mentor students such as accountants, patent attorneys, business law and just very experienced people that can help guide them with their businesses. We also have a prototyping lab connected with the Aggie Innovation Space to help build prototypes with students or their ideas,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery said Studio G and Arrowhead are collaborating with Navajo Technical University in an organizational partnership through the AIBE Center.
Ben Jones, director of NTU, said the partnership will give NTU a presence on the NMSU campus and assist future inventors and entrepreneurs in the business aspect that in the end can help the community.
“In essence, were attempting to grow our own and being proactive with the kids to orientate them about entrepreneurship so they can be motivated to become business owners, help them understand the concept of going out and using what they created to market. While helping them generate income and, as a result, generate jobs,” Jones said.
Jones said he believes the partnership will allow the program to better serve the Native American community.
“This is a program to recognize Native Americans and work with Native Americans. You can work with communities in New Mexico, but when you work with native communities there are different, unique challenges. So, I think with this partnership. We can be able to bring some services that we may not offer at this time like intellectual property or business advice,” Jones said.
Michael Ray, director of the American Indian Program at NMSU, said AIBE is an opportunity for students in NMSU and transfer students at NTU.
“This is an opportunity for transferring students in Navajo Technical University or NMSU–Alamogordo to continue their business that they’ve been doing, creating a business or going through that incubation area. Just because they transferred to NMSU–Las Cruces doesn’t mean that they have to stop the work that they’ve been doing. It just means that they have an opportunity to continue it on our campus,” Ray said.