March 24, 2010 by Justin Bannister NMSU NewsCenter
Networking is an essential skill for most businesspeople, and New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center wants to help make those connections. Arrowhead Center’s Entrepreneurship Institute has created the New Mexico Entrepreneurs Alliance, an online network for entrepreneurs across the state.
“The site is designed to assist aspiring entrepreneurs and those who have been in business for a while to communicate with others and make important connections,” said Danielle Carver, an NMSU graduate student currently working for Arrowhead Center’s Entrepreneurship Institute. Carver designed and built the Web site from the ground up.
“The ability to network is a large indicator of success when it comes to business,” said Sara Pirayesh Sanders, Arrowhead Center’s entrepreneurship director. “When you have the support system that networking provides, you have a better chance of achieving your goals.”
The Web site, www.nme-alliance.com, officially launched late last year, about 10 months after Carver first began researching the project. Those who register with the site can access a full range of business resources, including current and relevant business articles, information on regional workshops and conferences, and links to entrepreneur-focused Web sites.
The site is based off the Ning social network platform and still has room to grow, with a number of additional applications possible. The site also has a blog function and allows members to post specific business questions that other users might be able to answer.
Carver, an education major, said she plans to implement a similar network for her future classroom for students and their parents to access more information about the class, such as assignments, rules and information about activities. She has previous Web development experience with a local newspaper.
Carver is one of about 30 graduate students who are currently working for Arrowhead Center. In addition to encouraging economic development, Arrowhead Center is also designed to provide students with directed-learning opportunities – a chance to learn real-world business skills while still in college.
The Entrepreneurship Institute was created in 2008 to enhance the ability of businesses and emerging entrepreneurs in New Mexico to thrive. The customized business assistance provided by the institute has helped more than 250 nonprofits and small businesses in New Mexico across several industries. The institute is funded by a three-year, nearly $1 million grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration and made possible by New Mexico’s congressional delegation.