NMSU’s Arrowhead Center helps New Mexico nonprofits succeed

Jan. 7, 2009 by Justin Bannister NMSU News Center

A good business plan is important for companies intending to make money. A good business plan is even more important for companies that don’t make money at all, but instead help the community. For that reason, New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center is actively helping nonprofit organizations around the area find the best ways to help those they serve.

“One of our most important missions at Arrowhead Center is to help the people of New Mexico,” said Sara Pirayesh Sanders, Arrowhead Center’s entrepreneurship director. “Most often we help through economic development, but we can also help in the social sector as well.”

Arrowhead Center specializes in promoting economic development and student engagement in New Mexico. Through Arrowhead, NMSU students formulate business plans, market analyses and feasibility studies for businesses, nonprofits and government entities. This experience not only helps their clients be more successful, it also makes the students more attractive to potential employers when they graduate.

Recently, Arrowhead Center helped prepare a business plan for the YMCA. They found development of one or more YMCAs within Las Cruces would offer educational, fitness and recreational programs that would meet the demands of the city’s diverse age population. Their research indicates that a YMCA can be successful in Las Cruces if the nationwide YMCA organizational model is followed and a substantial start-up fund can be established.

“Even socially oriented organizations need to be able to apply business principles to their day-to-day activities,” Pirayesh Sanders said. “They need some sort of business standard to be successful. They need to think like a business even though they are not necessarily concerned with the bottom line.”

Arrowhead Center also has helped prepare a business plan for the Mesilla Valley Habitat for Humanity ReStore. The store’s goal is to generate money to help Habitat for Humanity build more low-cost housing in Las Cruces by selling used building materials, appliances and furniture at a fraction of their retail cost. All items sold by the ReStore come from donations provided by private individuals and businesses.

Other Arrowhead Center projects include working with the Las Cruces Academy, an academically rigorous Pre K-12 school in Las Cruces that focuses on math and science for intellectually gifted and academically advanced students. Additionally, Arrowhead Center has worked with the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Centers, non-profit service agencies that intend to reduce homophobia and enhance the lives of individuals living in New Mexico who identify themselves in the GLBTQ community.

Funding for Arrowhead Center is made possible by New Mexico’s congressional delegation. For more information, visit http://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu.

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