ORIGINAL ARTICLE: http://newscenter.nmsu.edu/Articles/view/14323/nmsu-s-arrowhead-center-working-with-city-of-las-cruces-economic-development-to-create-local-business-accelerators

New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center will offer two free business accelerators designed to help Las Cruces businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Las Cruces BizSprint will run two eight-week sessions for 30 local companies in the late summer and fall, and will focus on best practices in business management and e-commerce training.

“We are together working to help our small businesses adapt and find new opportunities,” said Griselda Martinez, City of Las Cruces Economic Development director. “Our local businesses are the core of our economy and the source of jobs for our community members. When they grow stronger, it helps us all. We are committed to continue to find ways to assist and support.”

New Mexico businesses and industries have been devastated by the effects of elements such as mandatory closure of non-essential businesses, stay-at-home orders that severely curtailed business patronage and foot traffic, and consumers forced to spend less due to reduced income.

“We’ve seen a shift in the needs of businesses that come to Arrowhead Center to pivot their business model because of the pandemic,” said Kathryn Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center. “Our programs are flexible in that they shift to build on the needs of each cohort for different sprints.”

Each cohort will support 15 businesses and each session will last eight weeks. BizSprint will offer participants intensive, cohort-based experiences that guide entrepreneurs through business creation, pivot and growth, with an emphasis on customer discovery, market insight and e-commerce. There will also be time dedicated to teaching the basics of economics, building an online presence and cash management.

Participants will gain access to high-quality curriculum, exposure to resources, connections within the NMSU system, different opportunities, one-on-one assistance and mentorship from Arrowhead staff members and the organization’s large network of Enterprise Advisors – experts in industry sectors and/or business development areas necessary for successful entrepreneurship.

“We designed the Las Cruces BizSprint program to assist local businesses affected by COVID-19,” said Dana Catron, director of Strategic Operations at Arrowhead Center. “This programming will help participants maintain solvency at present and build capacity for resilience in future times of economic uncertainty.”

Because BizSprint is delivered virtually, the program is positioned to help businesses immediately, even while social distancing is still mandated.

Applications for the first cohort are being accepted, with a start date in mid-August. Apply for the free Las Cruces BizSprint at https://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/program/sprints/las-cruces-bizsprint/.

For more information, contact Isabella Pedicone at iped@nmsu.edu.