FARMINGTON — San Juan College is partnering with New Mexico State University to establish a student business acceleration and incubation program in the Four Corners.

NMSU received $350,000 grant from the Daniels Fund to expand “Studio G,” according to a press release. San Juan College is one of six colleges throughout the state to benefit from the business acceleration and incubation program expansion grant from the Denver-based philanthropic organization.

Judy Castleberry, the director of San Juan College’s Enterprise Center, championed the program’s expansion to the Four Corners and is helping establish the office in the Quality Business Center on Campus. She said the program could be a valuable resource to the local and state economy.

“I really, really love their vision, which is basically to create a network of support for the next generation of entrepreneurs,” Castleberry said. “I think it’s so needed in this day and age. … The younger generation is not creating as many businesses as the baby boomers did, and this is a real problem for our country and especially a problem for a poor state like New Mexico. We need to figure out ways to help people create businesses, because you can’t create jobs without creating businesses.”

Studio G was also expanded to University of New Mexico’s Albuquerque campus, Western New Mexico University’s Silver City campus, Eastern New Mexico University’s Roswell campus, New Mexico Tech’s Socorro campus and Santa Fe Community College, according to the press release.

“This collaboration is very exciting, because it brings together all these colleges and universities to support student entrepreneurs,” Studio G Director Kramer Winingham said in the release. “We are stronger together, and we look forward to inspiring and supporting a new generation of entrepreneurs to drive economic development and increase opportunity in New Mexico.”

Studio G is available at no cost to students currently enrolled in the participating schools or people who have graduated from those schools within the past five years, Castleberry said. The program provides resources for potential business owners, including access to a network of various professionals in many different industries throughout the state.

The program’s ‘Enterprise Advisers’ include seasoned entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, investment bankers, marketing experts, engineers, intellectual property lawyers, accountants, graphic designers and product developers that are available to help you launch your business, according to the release.

Castleberry said the program’s physical location could connect student-entrepreneurs to valuable resources, too. The Studio G office is in the same campus building that hosts the Enterprise Center, WESST, Small Business Development Center and the Center for Workforce Development.

“We decided to dedicate this space (to Studio G),” Castleberry said. “It can be a virtual program, but we want people to use the space, and we want to encourage San Juan College students to come over here and make it theirs.”

The Daniels Fund grant also supports a student staff member at each of the new Studio G locations. Business student Chantelle John is the San Juan College Studio G student marketing assistant, and she hit the ground running. The expansion program was announced on Feb. 9, and John had an event organized before the end of her second week in the role.

San Juan College will host a Studio G Bootcamp from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on March 1 at the Quality Center for Business. The workshop will cover tips to developing an elevator pitch and investor presentations, to understand business finances and financial planning, and to provide access to advisers, according to an event flier.

Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her 505-564-4621 or

SOURCE: Farmington Daily Times