Original Article | Cassie McClure | cassie@mcclurepublications.com | Feb 02, 2022

The Minority Business Development Agency recently awarded New Mexico State University’s American Indian Business Enterprise (AIBE) a $600,000 grant over two years to increase and support Native American student entrepreneurs across New Mexico.

AIBE partnered with Navajo Technical University, New Mexico Community Capital and Indian Resources Development to help provide services to the indigenous community with a focus on culturally appropriate and relevant content.

“A historical lack of under-investment by the public, private and nonprofit sectors in Indigenous communities have inhibited the development of robust policies, resources and infrastructure needed to leverage entrepreneurial talent for sustainable economic development,” said Henry Jake Foreman, New Mexico Community Capital program director. “This grant will continue to support Indigenous businesses and bolster local entrepreneurial ecosystems by enhancing digital and financial literacy skills as well as growing a network of mentors and subject matter experts. We at New Mexico Community Capital are grateful for this collaboration with AIBE to grow together.” 

As part of the Arrowhead Center and NMSU, AIBE grants clients access to all the resources Arrowhead Center offers, while leveraging organizational knowledge and assets to better serve the people of New Mexico’s 19 pueblos, three Apache tribes and the Navajo Nation. Selected AIBE clients will be able to complete the pathway program with partners New Mexico Community Capital and Indian Resources Development. The program includes classes on financial business basics and digital media marketing, and culminates with the five-week Native American Sprint. 

“Indian Resources Development in the NMSU College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences congratulates its partner AIBE for the hard work of starting and growing the program during the pandemic,” said Claudia Trueblood, director of Indian Resources Development. “We are thankful to the Minority Business Development Agency for continuing their support of Native American entrepreneurs across New Mexico. Indian Resources Development is committed to continue working with AIBE in their effort to support more businesses and help them connect with other valuable partners.” 

“We plan to continue advocating for Native communities in ways of entrepreneurship. Connectivity is one distinction that makes Native culture unique,” said Rachel Livingston, Arrowhead Center program specialist and Diné of the Naaneesht’ ézhi Táchii’nii. “It is about being inclusive, expansive and universal. AIBE will continue to provide resources that value unique ideology and worldviews by seeking input from Native leadership and community.”