Business innovation doesn’t stop during a crisis, and New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center wants to make sure that businesses have the marketing skills they need during the economic shifts created by COVID-19.
Arrowhead will be offering their popular BizSprint business accelerator program earlier this year to make sure New Mexico businesses know how to get themselves in front of a new targeted online audience.
Applications for the sprint are due April 17, and the cohort of businesses will start May 2.
“Arrowhead understands the challenges and hardships our New Mexico businesses are facing at this unprecedented time,” said Kathryn Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center. “We decided to run our popular BizSprint program earlier in the year, in the hope that participants will be able to apply what they learn in real time, pivoting their business to meet these challenges head-on. This cohort of BizSprint will include micro-grant funding and help them create a strong web presence.”
The eight-week accelerator program is designed to launch successful businesses in the State of New Mexico and offers participants micro-grants to accelerate their business, through funding from New Mexico Gas Company, an Emera Company. Teams do not need any prior NMSU affiliation to be considered.
“We are adding an additional marketing component this round,” said Del Mackey, Arrowhead Center senior economic development officer. “The hope is that these teams will look at a potential segment they never thought about – their online customers.”
BizSprint has funds available to set them up with a website domain, a website host, and work with them on creating that website, including logos and start-up content. The organizers will walk teams through online start-up issues such as:
– How to maximize their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for online searches.
– How to set up a digital brand and how to create an authentic business persona.
– How to use social media effectively and across different platforms.
“Businesses may not have considered that online piece yet and will need to figure out how to get that presence up fast,” said Mackey. “Given the current situation, this move toward a stronger digital footprint will likely be a ‘make-or-break’ piece for many companies.”
Mackey said, “BizSprint will also be valuable for those who are just starting an at-home business due to layoffs or furloughs.”
Each team will also receive access to additional follow-on funding through Arrowhead Innovation Fund and mentorship through Arrowhead Innovation Network Ventures. To learn more and apply, go to arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/bizsprint.