Arrowhead Center lends businesses a helping hand

Feb. 2, 2009 by Denise Nava Round Up

Promoting entrepreneurship and local economic development is only a small fraction of the several opportunities that the NMSU Arrowhead Center offers to New Mexicans and students.

The Arrowhead Center helps out a wide variety of businesses around the state by providing them with a schematic to develop or initiate their ideas.

“Our mission is to promote economic development in New Mexico by generating jobs and wealth for New Mexico citizens and bring companies to our local area,” said Sara Sanders, director of entrepreneurship at the Arrowhead Center. “We’ve helped start salsa businesses with homemade recipes and created a business plan for the New Mexico Spaceport.”

However, the Arrowhead Center is quite different because most business research projects are developed and created by NMSU students.

“The experience at Arrowhead that students get is unlike anywhere else on campus,” Sanders said. “It exposes students to all different types of industries, business sectors, local and statewide companies. It provides networking opportunities for students and gives them large exposure to research and business plans.”

Albert Mays, a graduate student in economics, has been working at Arrowhead for almost a month.

“I am a research analysis employee,” Mays said. “We help out various companies with developing business and marketing plans. Also, we help out the state with future economic projections.”

Currently working on a policy analysis of sexual education for the Deming School District, Mays is researching different ways to teach sexual education like contraceptive education and abstinence-only education.

“I am getting statistics and I will eventually present them with an analytical report [to the Deming education department],” Mays said.

Also working on developing a future project for NMSU, Deanna Bonjione is a graduate student in accounting.

“I’m working on implementing a new research laboratory, somewhat like a library, which is going to be used by all the grad assistants that work here,” Bonjione said. “It will be for any of the clients that come [to Arrowhead]. It’s going to have a lot of useful resources for them to help them start up their own business.”

Arrowhead helps by providing graduate students with real world experiences and community businesses with feasible marketing plans.

“We work with small business owners, existing businesses and anyone looking at starting a business in New Mexico,” said Matt Elgersma, business research and outreach coordinator for the Arrowhead Center. “Typically what we offer to our clients in business plans is feasibility studies, marketed analysis and strategic plans.”

Elgersma explained if someone is looking into offering a new product or service and want someone to see if it is a viable opportunity then the Arrowhead Center can offer that opportunity.

“We do about 12 to 15 projects per semester as well as in the summer,” Elgersma said. “People can find project submission forms online and how many students we have [coincides] with how many projects we can accommodate.”

Sanders said she highly encourages NMSU students if they have a business idea or looking to join the team to contact the Arrowhead Center.

Elgersma said the center typically looks for graduate degree-seeking students.

“We are always open to a diverse work group,” Elgersma added. “We would like to try to get the most competitive students possible to fill our positions. This is one of the best graduate assistants on campus, as far as I am concerned.”

He explained the hours are flexible and students can gain good work experience, but are very selective in their decision.

“I would like to have all colleges represented beside the business college,” Elgersma said. “We have high expectations and we produced high quality work. If somebody is really interested in what we do, in either working here or presenting a project, I heavily encourage them to come down and talk to us; we’re here for the community.”

For more information about the Arrowhead Center visit the Academic Research Center or check out

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