It’s happening throughout the country and New Mexico is no exception – businesses are moving online in new ways by embracing their Internet connectivity. New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center is using the same tactics to be the link to entrepreneurs who are working on ramping up their businesses during these challenging times.
Two Arrowhead programs – the Women Entrepreneurs Network and Innoventure Jr. – are meeting their clients directly through Facebook.
“Every month we host a morning coffee meeting in the community, a chance for a face-to-face conversation with other women business owners who can relate to specific hurdles, but also come together to celebrate successes,” said Kristin Morehead, economic development officer at Arrowhead Center. “We don’t want to lose the momentum of that shared experience so we’re moving into an online space.”
With a cup of coffee in her home office, Morehead welcomed others to share a photo of their beverage of choice and some introductions.
“It’s one person sharing that they are a local accountant,” she said. “That might catch the eye of an emerging business owner who thinks, ‘Oh, that’s a person I need to connect with as I start up.’ Even if we can’t mingle at a local coffee shop, business is still about connections and we just have to find new ways to build those.”
Through a free-to join and private Facebook group, “WE Mean Business,” members can share tips on how to work from home, how to navigate the financial crunch during the pandemic, and local and federal emergency resources that are expanding daily. Morehead aims to have live events in the next few weeks that will connect the community. Upcoming events will focus on the community’s needs as the situation continues to unfold.
Similarly, there is a need for parents to fill educational gaps for children at home during the shutdown of schools. Arrowhead Center’s Innoventure program – a suite of entrepreneurship educational programs for K-12 students – will be taking some of its materials to students through Facebook. Two live events are scheduled for parents to log in with their elementary students to learn about the skills that support successful entrepreneurs, like clear communication and teamwork.
“Part of the program is for students to get excited about solving a real-world problem with an item they could make and sell,” said Lydia Hammond, deputy director of Innoventure. “With all the changes that the kids are facing, this moment of clarity – that they can be someone to solve a problem – can help them shift their perspectives, especially now.”
And, thanks to technology, if parents can’t make the time, those videos will be available afterward for viewing, as well.
Arrowhead also plans to develop more videos for its YouTube channel, which will focus on business resources specific to working at home and news for what might be in development at the state level to help during this crisis.
“We are featuring all our online programs on our COVID-19 site. We have lots of programs being offered virtually with statewide reach, including our Sprint Accelerators, of which we will hold six over the next six months,” Morehead said. “Studio G and other programs operate virtually across the state. And, our Advisor Network is run virtually with volunteers from across the nation, with industry experts and entrepreneurs looking for ways to give back.”
Morehead said, “The more information we can get out to businesses, the better prepared they can be to hit the ground running when we come out the other end.”
To see upcoming Arrowhead Center videos, subscribe to their YouTube channel. Find the Facebook group by searching “WE Mean Business” and ask to join. For more information about Innoventure, go to https://www.facebook.com/pg/ArrowheadCenterInnoventure/.
For up-to-date information on Arrowhead Center and NMSU during COVID-19, bookmark https://arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu/covid19/.