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Arrowhead Center at NMSU Receives Grant for Outdoor Recreation Business Accelerator

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New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center has been awarded $20,000 by the New Mexico Economic Development Department (EDD) to establish an Outdoor Recreation Sprint business accelerator focused on starting and growing outdoor recreation businesses in southern New Mexico. The free sprint, open to 10 businesses, will begin on July 6 and run for six weeks.

The New Mexico Outdoor Recreation Division, a division of the EDD, created the grants to fund accelerators with a proven track record and well-developed plan to help individuals and outdoor recreation companies improve their business plans, hire New Mexicans and amplify the state’s reputation as a leader in the outdoor industry.

“The Outdoor Recreation Sprint will create economic impact for southern New Mexico, through the creation of new jobs and private investments in outdoor recreation businesses,” said Arrowhead Center Director and CEO Kathryn Hansen.

Sprint accelerators emphasize a model grounded in the individual needs of each business. The Outdoor Recreation Sprint is differentiated from similar accelerator programming due to its accessibility. Cohorts are structured for 100 percent online delivery.

“Our virtual programming is positioned to help businesses immediately, even while social distancing is still mandated,” said Dana Catron, Arrowhead Center director of Strategic Operations.

Businesses in the sprint will gain access to high-quality curriculum and mentorship from Arrowhead Center staff and their network of enterprise advisers, who are experts in business development and entrepreneurship. The Outdoor Recreation Sprint emphasizes customer discovery, market insight and e-commerce. Businesses will gain knowledge on product and business uniqueness, customers and competition, product and market fit, equity, online branding, marketing and social media, and funding or other resources.

“Southern New Mexico has the natural resources to make outdoor recreation businesses viable, but has fewer outdoor recreation businesses and resources compared to the northern half of New Mexico,” Catron said. “To grow the outdoor recreation economy in this region, businesses need access to tools and resources that will help them start and grow.”

To increase impact, Arrowhead Center will partner with the City of Las Cruces Economic Development Department, with which it already works closely on a range of initiatives serving the business and entrepreneurial community.

“Outdoor recreation is a major asset in our region with many entrepreneurial and job opportunities for our community members,” said Griselda T. Martínez, director of the City of Las Cruces Economic Development Department. “We are ready to highlight the hidden treasures southern New Mexico has to offer and ready to support the businesses to provide the services and goods for this growth.”

The City of Las Cruces is dedicated to developing the outdoor recreation economy. In 2019, a full-time outdoor recreation sales manager, Hilary Dutcher, came onboard to act as a direct link between business owners and stakeholders seeking outdoor recreation opportunities in the region.

“Visit Las Cruces is excited about the outdoor recreation business accelerator, which will be a valuable resource to Las Cruces and southern New Mexico’s outdoor recreation businesses,” Dutcher said. “It makes marketing of our many amenities even more successful. The business that will come out of the sprint will help to strengthen and create services for residents and visitors so that they can explore, experience and discover the many outdoor opportunities we have to offer.”

To find out more about Arrowhead Center and the different sprints currently available, visit https://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/program/sprints/. Applications for the Outdoor Recreation sprint will open in early June. For more information, contact Catron at dderego@ad.nmsu.edu or 505-469-8411.

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