The U.S. Economic Development Administration is sending nearly $400,000 to the New Mexico Community Capital (NMCC) in Albuquerque to support online digital skills training for Native-owned enterprises.

The NMCC's Stabilizing Native Enterprises with Digital Skills and Online Markets program is designed to train Native entrepreneurs in digital media and online marketing skills. The effort is meant to foster partnership opportunities with the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, New Mexico State University, Native Women Lead and others.

U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich, D-NM, and Ben Ray Luján, D-NM, welcomed the announced funding.

"Bridging the digital divide for Native-owned businesses can be accelerated with skill-training programs from local partners like New Mexico Community Capital," said Heinrich in a statement. "That's why I'm proud to support this funding, so that more Native-owned enterprises can develop the skills necessary to establish a successful digital presence."

"Having an online presence is essential for any modern business - especially in the age of COVID-19. As our economy recovers, business owners who are unable to compete digitally risk being left out," said Luján in a statement. "This critical investment in New Mexico Community Capital will help Native entrepreneurs and business owners compete in the online world and give New Mexico businesses an edge as our economy recovers and our communities rebuild from the pandemic."

"NMCC will be able to leverage powerful partnerships with Google and the National Congress of American Indians to bring cloud-based tech training, access to new online markets, and other cutting edge-tools to Native-owned enterprises in central and northern New Mexico," said Liz Gamboa, executive director of NMCC in a statement. "We are so grateful for the opportunity to empower and strengthen Native-owned businesses during this critical time."

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic uncertainty it brought with it, the New Mexico Community Capital launched IndigiExchange, an online marketplace for Native entrepreneurs. Launched in the spring of 2020, the exchange was offered to Native business owners who went through NMCC programs and needed help setting up their businesses online.

For more information, contact NMCC Executive Director Liz Gamboa at 505-924-2820 or at liz@nmccap.org.

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