A Program of New Mexico Community Capital
Recognizing a need to develop and grow Native American entrepreneurial businesses, the Native Entrepreneur in Residence (NEIR) program was formalized in 2014 by the nonprofit, Albuquerque-based, New Mexico Community Capital. NEIR is unique as an accelerator or business incubator. It is by, for and about Native Americans. Its sole mission is to bring financial literacy, business skills and a network to Native entrepreneurs and their communities.
NEIR provides a culturally appropriate, supportive place for participants to gain confidence, grow and become successful. The program’s management team, board of directors and advisory board are comprised of Native American business leaders, along with a variety of entrepreneurs, educators and mentors. NEIR graduates continue to be involved as a resource, and in so doing, give back to their communities and pay it forward to the next generation of graduates as part of a peer-to-peer advisory team.
The program’s goals:
· Reduce “economic leakage” in tribal communities
· Retain and grow circulation of money earned via development of local entrepreneurship
· Create tribal economic diversification, growth and sustainability
· Strengthen entrepreneurial and business skillsets for sustainable profitability
· Move from a state of “possibility” to a state of “probability” in tribal economic growth
· Grow the reality and awareness of high performance of Native American entrepreneurs throughout the U.S.
Since 2014, 24 entrepreneurs have graduated the six-week mentorship experience. Eighty-four new jobs have been created, $7.365 million in gross revenues have been generated, and four companies have received further investment as a result of their NEIR work. Program Director Peter Holter says that 61 percent of the program’s participants to date have been women and that the average age is 31. In addition to New Mexico, the program also serves people from nations, tribes and pueblos in Arizona, California, Montana and Oklahoma.
NEIR has received long-term grants and funding from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA-SEEDS), the Native American CDFI Assistance Fund, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.