UNM Rainforest Innovations

Angelo McHorse is a tribal liaison for the New Mexico Tribal Entrepreneurship Enhancement Program. The liaisons are essential to the program; they connect with established and aspiring entrepreneurs within tribal communities across the state to serve as navigators, dedicated mentors, and connection points to within the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

UNM Rainforest Innovations was awarded an Economic Development Administration (EDA) American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance grant in April 2022 to help break down barriers and generate opportunity through entrepreneurship in historically underserved communities in New Mexico with a primary focus on coal-impacted tribal communities. Through this grant, the program aims to create new jobs, higher incomes, and inclusive growth through entrepreneurship by linking resources and assisting entrepreneurs in filling voids.

Angelo McHorse is the Operations Manager of Bison Star Naturals, a family operated body care company in Taos, NM using organic, natural, and locally sourced ingredients. He comes from the Red Willow People of Taos Pueblo and is passionate about community organizing through entrepreneurship.

What has been your professional journey so far?

After college, I tried many different options. Fresh out of college, I managed a three-acre farm and farmers market at Taos Pueblo, worked as a carpenter for a general contractor in Taos, I almost became a wilderness ranger for Taos Pueblo, and I have even tried my hand as a landscaper and woodman. After trying on all those hats, I have found my passion in building business and entrepreneurship. Bison Star Naturals has been an amazing journey and steep learning curve as my wife and I have been building this business from the ground up. I enjoy the continuous challenges that entrepreneurship brings daily.

What interested you in the tribal liaison position and what do you hope to accomplish through the position?

I was most interested in the Tribal Liaison position because I love to connect fellow entrepreneurs to available knowledge, trainings, and resources for building business. I love to talk business and since I am on the ground running with Bison Star Naturals, I have access to all established and up and coming entrepreneurs in the southwest. Since I attend many large events throughout the country, I have the opportunity to directly reach out to entrepreneurs in my area. It brings great satisfaction to see entrepreneurs be encouraged to pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors when they can see a clear pathway to move forward with the suggested programming and resources that UNMRI’s NMTEEP provides.

Do you have any personal achievements or contributions you are most proud of?

Creating a healthy family environment with my wife Jacquelene and daughter Judith is my most valued personal achievement. Being raised in an impoverished, broken family household has shown me the importance of having a strong family unit for the success of my lineage. I am proud that I am creating a safe environment full of abundance for my lineage so that they may be fully supported and succeed in achieving whatever their dreams may be. I am happy to be breaking unhealthy cycles in my family history, restoring balance, and enabling more access and opportunity for future generations in my community.

What would you say to an aspiring entrepreneur or small business owner just getting started?

Entrepreneurship is way more work that one could ever imagine. My best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to find your desire for building business. When a strong desire is present, one can more easily work toward their goals with passion. When one works with passion, energy levels are high and barriers and obstacles will be manageable, and the learning curve will not seem as steep. Work through your fears and face problems head on, your mind and spirit become stronger with every small victory you experience in your entrepreneurial journey. Ask for help when you need it, but only to those who are where you want to be and have experience in your field of inquiry. Do not be afraid of failure, take the L quickly, pivot, and adapt to make new moves. For every yes you receive, you will have endured 10 no’s beforehand. Keep trying! Take the leap and try your entrepreneurial endeavor full time, if you find that entrepreneurship is not for you, its ok, there will always be 9-5 job opportunities waiting for you. It is better to try and find out it’s not for you than to wonder about it all your life and have regrets later that you didn’t give entrepreneurship a go!

Connect with Angelo McHorse at amchorse@bisonstarnaturals.com

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