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NMSU's Studio G looks to spark new student-run businesses

Having trouble finding a job? It may be easier to create one instead. New Mexico State University's Arrowhead Center is already helping a handful of students get their ideas off the ground, plus there's room for more.

Earlier this year, the Arrowhead Center created Studio G, the first business incubator in New Mexico targeted toward college students at any level from all academic disciplines. Since February, two clients, one profit and one nonprofit, have joined the operation. Studio G has space to accommodate five more clients.

"It's important to really get students to think outside the box as to what they want to do with their career," said Sara Pirayesh Sanders, entrepreneurship director for the Arrowhead Center. "I think the most important thing we provide is mentorship, aimed at helping students grow businesses."

She said a recent study showed companies coming out of an incubator are 84 percent more likely to succeed than those that do not.

"I'm really excited about this," said Brittain Catron, an MBA student at NMSU working to bring "The Jimmy Hook," a utility hook designed by his grandfather, to market. "I know it's tough out there and the chances of new businesses flourishing are small, but this program will hopefully help me make fewer mistakes along the way."

Catron's background is in chemical engineering, not business. He said Studio G is helping him figure out how to start a company, fill out the necessary government forms and contact suppliers as well as product designers.

"This is really nice, because I can learn how to do all this as a student and I don't need a lot of funding to back me up," he said.

Studio G's other tenant is La Semilla Food Center, a nonprofit business working to build a sustainable food system in the Paseo del Norte Region of Southern New Mexico and West Texas.

Studio G is open to current NMSU students and those who have graduated within the past five years. The application process is ongoing, with innovative ideas more likely to be selected. Applicants should have at least a two-person operation. After an applicant is selected, they will receive workspace, phone and Internet lines, a conference room and other administrative resources needed to start a business. In return, students must be willing to dedicate 10 hours a week to their operation.

The selection process is competitive, with a limited number of spaces available. Students interested in applying or learning more about the program should call 575-646-7036 or email npirayes@ad.nmsu.edu. Additional information is available at http://www.studiognmsu.com.