A $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) will be matched by $1 million in New Mexico state investment for the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center to build a Native American makerspace and business incubator on its growing campus in Albuquerque. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the grant last week.
The makerspace and business incubator, known as the Indian Pueblo Opportunity Center (IPOC), will be an inclusive, collaborative space serving members of the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, along with non-Native community members who are interested in starting businesses in the areas of agriculture, food-based production, and other creative industries including jewelry and pottery. IPOC participants will have access to tools, acquire skills, further knowledge, and receive support and training from local experts.
Groundbreaking for IPOC is expected to begin in April of 2020, with an estimated completion date of April 2021.
In addition to production areas, the makerspace will also include smart classrooms and the technology resources for individual learning, designing, and marketing. IPOC will partner with other organizations such as Central New Mexico Community College’s FUSE Makerspace, South Valley Economic Development Center (SVEDC), and Native Entrepreneur In Residence (NEIR) to maximize the services and programming offered at the Center. To further stimulate participants’ success, retail outlets for IPOC entrepreneurs will be available across the street at the Pueblo-owned Avanyu Plaza.
“We believe the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is in a unique position to provide Native Americans and other members of the community the opportunity to gain training, experience, and increased employment opportunities,” says Beverlee McClure, VP of Cultural and Community Engagement at IPCC. “Being the Gateway to the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico for our visitors, we feel we can also serve as the gateway to opportunity for all New Mexicans through business creation and growth.”
“Emerging Native American entrepreneurs want to create economic and social opportunities, but they often don’t have access to the latest tools or training,” said Rep. Deb Haaland in the EDA press release announcing the grant. “This grant for the makerspace will help the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center serve artists and entrepreneurs by providing access to cutting-edge equipment, skills training, and technical support in areas such as woodworking, jewelry-making, and graphic design so they can start and grow businesses and create jobs in our community.”
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Mid-Region Council of Governments. EDA funds the Mid-Region Council of Governments to help 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.
Founded in 1976 by the 19 Pueblo tribes of New Mexico, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is a world-class museum and cultural center located in the historic 19 Pueblos District. The IPCC’s mission is to preserve and perpetuate Pueblo culture, and to advance understand by presenting with dignity and respect the accomplishments and evolving history of the Pueblo peoples of New Mexico. Visitors can learn fascinating history, shop for Native jewelry and art, watch a cultural dance, hear Native languages, and experience the flavors of traditional and contemporary Native cuisine. To learn more, please visit:www.facebook.com/IndianPueblo and www.indianpueblo.org.