The promise of what can be possible
January 31, 2024
Photo by Scott Gerdes
About 30 driven, like-minded participants described their business ideas and goals during the kickoff of UNM-Taos HIVE's incubator accelerator—the HIVE Pollinator—on Jan.29.
Let’s say you have an idea about a business you’d like to start in Taos. You’re passionate about it but aren’t sure how to get it off the ground, make it viable, and continue its growth. And how do you navigate financing, marketing, and advertising?
The promise of what can be possible happens at UNM-Taos HIVE. To introduce the HIVE’s Taos entrepreneur ecosystem focus, a kickoff of its incubator accelerator—the HIVE Pollinator—was held at the HIVE on Monday, Jan. 29. In partnership with the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI), HIVE Executive Director Rose Reza and CORI representatives Molly Pyle and Josh Trujillo invited the community for a focus group/community discussion about how the HIVE and CORI can help build Taos into an entrepreneurship- and tech-savvy rural community.
Using small business curriculums, events, mentoring, and networking, the HIVE and CORI help small-town entrepreneurs and potential entrepreneurs find their assets and provide them with the tools and guidance to enter the world of owning and running a small business.
“This is an open offering for anyone to come in and get the support in how to start something,” said Pyle, the head of entrepreneurship at CORI.
The main focus of the group discussion involved background, challenges, networking, mentors, and capital. About 30 driven, like-minded participants described their business ideas and goals from integrating tech and AI to help solve Taos’s housing issues to marketing an organic, homemade line of skin products. They shared their challenges and experiences. They spoke about what they did and didn’t know about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. The questions raised will steer how the HIVE and CORI create a model that will work well for Taoseños.
Another part of the mission is to increase tech job creation in Taos and around the county. Whether or not someone’s business idea is a tech startup, the digital world is here to stay and has a role in any new enterprise. It’s a part of marketing, advertising, distribution, bookkeeping, payroll, and human resources to name a few business needs.
“People in Silicon Valley don’t have all the best ideas,” Pyle added. “This is a special community. There’s so much talent and ideas. We don’t always get such a good turnout.”
The HIVE, through a competitive application process, was accepted into the Rural Innovation Network in January 2020. This network is currently made up of 38 rural communities throughout the United States, all focused on developing an inclusive tech ecosystem in their rural communities. The rural communities focus on the five direct drivers of economic diversification; inclusivity; tech culture building; access to tech jobs; tech workforce development and support; access to capital; and scalable tech entrepreneurship support and incubation.
CORI was instrumental in providing technical assistance for the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale grant that awarded the HIVE $1.4 million in 2022. The funding has allowed the HIVE to hire two program specialists, Steve Glovsky and Anya Slavina, who will be overseeing the development of an inclusive incubator accelerator that will serve Northern New Mexico startups and small businesses.
HIVE work spaces, guidance, educational opportunities, computer training, and events are free of charge.
“The HIVE is your community resource. Our team is ready to serve and support you on your entrepreneurial journey,” Reza stated.
To view CORI’s slide presentation, go to bit.ly/taoscommunity. For more information about the HIVE, email firstname.lastname@example.org or stop in at 1146 Gusdorf Road, across from Taos Middle School.