UNM Rainforest Innovations

Funded by an American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance (ARPA) grant administered by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), the New Mexico Tribal Entrepreneurship Enhancement Program (NMTEEP) seeks to create broader opportunity, wealth and job growth through enhancing entrepreneurship in tribal communities throughout New Mexico, especially those effected by coal mine closures. To accomplish its goals, the program is creating authentic and sustainable relationships with New Mexico tribal communities and entrepreneurs through the four key components outlined below.

  • Tribal Liaisons

    The tribal liaisons serve as navigators, dedicated mentors, and connection points for entrepreneurs within tribal communities across the state. They support entrepreneurs by engaging in one-on-one interviews and discovery sessions where they identify needs and barriers that exist for tribal entrepreneurs. Based on feedback gathered during each interview, tribal liaisons seek solutions through connecting the entrepreneur to resources within the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Tribal liaisons conduct assessments, support the development of strategic efforts for entrepreneurial training, and work with community partners to facilitate the reimagining of entrepreneurship in tribes based on their indigenous roots.

  • Entrepreneurial Training

    Based on barriers and needs assessed during discovery sessions, tribal liaisons develop pathway opportunities for each entrepreneur by referring them to existing programs within the NM Rainforest Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. These programs include, but are not limited to, the NM Rainforest EDA University Center Program, mentoring office hours, local Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), the Small Business Administration (SBA), WESST, SCORE, New Mexico Community Capital, events/workshops, and opportunities for funding (local, national, state and federal).

  • The Entrepreneur's Journey

    In addition to discovery appointments and entrepreneurial training resources, the NMTEEP seeks to tell the story of “The Entrepreneur’s Journey,” specifically that of the Native American and tribal entrepreneur. This storytelling takes place through live video fireside chat interviews and podcasts featuring successful Native American entrepreneurs from New Mexico. The Entrepreneur’s Journey storytelling serves as a source of both information and inspiration regarding purpose, roots, challenges overcome, and what it’s like to start a business in Indian Country and beyond.

  • Entrepreneurial Connection Events

    Tribal Liaisons work together with the Program Manager and other partners within the various tribal communities to spearhead “Entrepreneurial Connection” events to highlight entrepreneurs from tribal communities, showcase their companies, feature role models, and generate relationships and community in an effort to nurture rural and tribal entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Overview video:

Interviews with Entrepreneurs

Check out our YouTube channel to watch interview videos with Native entrepreneurs and business owners. 


If you would like to learn more or discuss potential opportunities for collaboration with our program, please contact the Program Manager:

Cecilia Pacheco

Program Manager, NMTEEP

UNM Rainforest Innovations


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