UNM Rainforest Innovations

In 2018, STC.UNM and the Innovation Academy received a grant from the federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) to support student and community entrepreneurs and provide training and technical assistance at all UNM campuses.  The grant funds the New Mexico Rainforest EDA University Center, a training program in the fundamentals of entrepreneurship for students and community members at all UNM campuses around the state.

Over the past year, the program has produced 12 seminars that are now available for viewing online at the University Center website.  The posted seminars, presentation slides and additional materials are available free to anyone who wants to learn the basic ins and outs of creating and growing a business in New Mexico.

The seminars are presented at UNM’s main and branch campuses and are taught by site mentors and other community professionals who are experienced entrepreneurs and investors.  Participants have the option to attend in person or remotely via live webstream.  Best of all, the seminars are then posted to the website for anyone to view again or for the first time.  Additionally, the site mentors provide follow-up services through individual mentoring and connecting participants to resources that will help them to reach their goal of starting or growing a new business.

The posted seminars also include an online assessment that viewers can take if they want to receive class credit towards their degree or want to receive credit towards a Certificate of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Below is a list of the seminars now available for viewing on the website:

  • “Business Idea Generation”
  • “Pitching and Presenting Your Idea!”
  • “Market Analysis”
  • “Business Model Canvas”
  • “Collaborative Problem Solving Through Design Thinking”
  • “Networking and Business Development”
  • “Pathways to Success—Small Business Ownership”
  • “UNM-Gallup University Center Info Session and Meet a Mentor”
  • “Sustainable eCommerce Business for Students”
  • “How to Write, Practice and Record Your Pitch”
  • “Selling Without a Store”
  • “Taxes and Business Startups”

The next seminar will held at UNM Taos on December 9, 2019 and cover “Strategic Networking: Maximizing Your Connections to Grow Your New Business.” Registration is available at https://strategicnetworkingnm.eventbrite.com.

Students and community members also have access to a series of courses based on an eCommerce platform designed to help establish a digital presence by creating websites for their new and growing businesses.  The Create.Sell.Bank series of introductory and next-level courses are available in the fall and spring for undergraduate and graduate credit or credit towards the certificate.

A new community-focused, 16-week program, the “e-commerce Rainforest” will launch in January 2020. Participants will experience a variety of innovation based e-commerce processes for building a business online. The program is open to anyone for $47. Registration will be available at NMRainforest.com.

“The EDA funding has allowed us to spread the Rainforest program for developing innovation and economic ecosystems across the state to boost regional economic development,” said STC CEO Lisa Kuuttila.  “In just its first year of operation, the New Mexico Rainforest University Center Program has created strong rural-urban linkages and collaborations with our Native American and Hispanic rural communities, areas of focus that are especially relevant for New Mexico.  We anticipate even greater growth moving forward!”

 For more information about the New Mexico Rainforest University Center Program, contact Cecilia Pacheco at cpacheco@stc.unm.edu.

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