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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $800,000 in American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Training and Development of Tribal Entrepreneurs in New Mexico

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding an $800,000 grant to UNM Rainforest Innovations, Albuquerque, New Mexico, to assess and support training programs for tribal entrepreneurs. This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

This grant will identify gaps and barriers for tribal entrepreneurship and seek solutions to those barriers. The EDA investment will be matched with $200,000 in local funds.

“President Biden’s American Rescue Plan provides direct support to our communities, particularly those who were hit hardest by the pandemic, as they build back stronger,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will support UNM Rainforest as it expands its training, mentoring, and strategy development programs to create new opportunities for tribal entrepreneurs and build a diverse and robust regional economy.”

“The University of New Mexico’s Rainforest Innovations is a great launchpad for Tribal entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses,” said Senator Martin Heinrich. “I’m proud to welcome these investments from the American Rescue Plan that will open up opportunities for Tribal economies and careers.”

“I’m pleased to see this strong federal investment going to UNM Rainforest Innovations to support its expansion in creating new economic opportunities for tribal entrepreneurs,” said Senator Ben Ray Luján. “UNM Rainforest Innovation is a unique complex that fosters collaboration between scientific and economic fields, and this investment will bolster their capabilities while strengthening our state’s economy.”

“The American Rescue Plan continues to deliver critical investments in our communities to build a more sustainable future,” said Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury (NM-01). “I am grateful that this investment deepens resources for Indigenous entrepreneurs so we can continue to foster economic entrepreneurship and opportunities across our communities. I am looking forward to the work that UNM Rainforest Innovations will bring to our communities to diversify our economy and build a brighter future for New Mexico.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Mid-Region Council of Governments (MRCOG). EDA funds MRCOG to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

This project is funded under EDA’s American Rescue Plan Economic Adjustment Assistance program, which makes $500 million in Economic Adjustment Assistance grants available to American communities. The Economic Adjustment Assistance program is EDA’s most flexible program, and grants made under this program will help hundreds of communities across the nation plan, build, innovate, and put people back to work through construction or non-construction projects designed to meet local needs.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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