NMSU’s Arrowhead Center Entrepreneurship Institute to spur economic development

October 14, 2008 by Justin Bannister NMSU News Center

Current and potential small business owners will soon have a new resource for obtaining the information and training necessary to be successful. This month, with the aid of funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center will launch the Arrowhead Entrepreneurship Institute.

“This supports NMSU’s statewide economic development mission,” said Sara Pirayesh Sanders, entrepreneurship director at Arrowhead Center. “By helping small business owners across New Mexico, it ensures that we are helping everyone in the state.”

The program will focus on three areas including fostering emerging entrepreneurs, creating an entrepreneurship laboratory and establishing an entrepreneurship network within the state. Funding for the program will come from a three-year, nearly $1 million grant made possible by the New Mexico congressional delegation.

“We want to entice entrepreneurs to pursue innovative business opportunities that will keep New Mexico’s economy diversified and on the cutting edge,” Pirayesh Sanders said. “We also want to encourage our graduates to stay in New Mexico, and instead of finding a job, making a job.”

The institute will be dedicated to engaging youth in entrepreneurship activities, expanding college-level entrepreneurship training and creating a certification in entrepreneurship for professionals.

NMSU already collaborates with New Mexico MESA Inc. on the Innoventure program, showing middle and high school students what it takes to build their own companies from the bottom up. Students from around the state compete each year and travel to NMSU to show what they have learned. The Arrowhead Entrepreneurship Institute will expand those kinds of opportunities.

The entrepreneurship laboratory will include tools for entrepreneurs, including books, manuals and online resources. Special business simulation software will be available for business managers to make decisions and see the likely outcome of those decisions before trying them out in the real world. Laboratory resources will be made available to NMSU students, faculty, staff and the general public.

The entrepreneur network will be designed to help new entrepreneurs contact those who are more established in the business world and can provide guidance and mentorship.

“So often, people don’t even know where to begin when it comes to starting a small business. This network will help those people find their way,” Pirayesh Sanders said. “We want the culture of the institute to be about New Mexicans helping New Mexicans – so we can create a vibrant culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Arrowhead Center is an organization within NMSU. It is designed to help promote small business and economic development in New Mexico.

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