WASHINGTON— U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) has awarded an American Indian Business Enterprise grant to the Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in conjunction with Navajo Technical University.
The $260,000 grant will fund the Arrowhead Center’s support for young Native student entrepreneurs statewide by extending the American Indian Business Enterprise (AIBE) project. The capacity-building skills taught in AIBE’s business accelerator center are designed to teach inclusive and culturally relevant courses that incorporate hands-on training. The process of AIBE is designed to honor Native heritage crafts while pairing startups with the technology they need to jumpstart small businesses in Tribal communities.
“As the vice chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, one of my top priorities is ensuring Native communities have the tools they need to grow their economies and expand opportunity across Indian Country and New Mexico,” Udall said. “The funding awarded today will help Navajo Technical University and NMSU find innovative ways to support Native students and collaborate with Native entrepreneurs as they power the economic engines of their communities.”
"I have witnessed Arrowhead’s ability to successfully link students to technology and the tools needed for commercialization at NMSU," Heinrich said. "This well-deserved funding will allow NMSU to continue its enterprise development programs while also allowing for collaboration with Navajo Technical University in an effort to reach more students throughout New Mexico. As a proud supporter of our tribal communities, I will continue to fight for our state’s higher education systems and look for ways to empower native students to become the next generation of business leaders."
“Supporting Native American students and expanding technology opportunities at New Mexico’s universities is vital for our economic success. I’m proud to support these investments to bolster entrepreneurship and economic development for Tribal communities across New Mexico,” said Assistant Speaker Luján.
“Any person who has a great business idea and a plan should be able to get the help they need to start their business, but resources aren’t always accessible to Native entrepreneurs. With this grant, the Native tradition of building businesses based on our culture and the needs of our families will be supported with technology and training that help develop successful businesses,” said Congresswoman Deb Haaland, Co-Chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus.
“The Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University and Navajo Technical University empowers young Native student entrepreneurs as they pioneer new technologies, innovations, and collaborations to solve local problems. This grant funding will uplift students and businesses, ensuring they have the tools they need to grow our local economy,” said Torres Small. “I’m committed to expanding opportunity for the Tribes and Pueblos I represent.”