Press Release, cont’d
Lee Gruber, Chairman of the Southwest New Mexico Arts, Culture and Tourism board said, “Rural communities face particular challenges in maintaining a healthy, diverse and sustainable economy that provides a future for its youth and jobs for its current workforce. We have a bounty of creative opportunities here in Silver City and Grant County; our cultural history and wilderness, along with a strong artistic and artisan presence, which can only prosper and be supported by the grant that we have received. Thanks to Colleen Morton at SWNMACT and the USDA for helping to make this grant possible.”
The consulting firm that will be carrying out this work is Creative Startups of Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The team will be headed by Dr. Alice Loy, who is well known in Silver City for her work with several local small businesses and with WNMU. Dr. Loy and her team will begin work in September with research on all aspects of incubators and maker spaces in rural areas, and follow up with a trip to Silver City to conduct surveys and interviews. They will be assisted by the staff of SWNMACT and our in-kind sponsors, WNMU and the Carter House. The study is expected to last eight months.
The Town of Silver City and Grant County have both signed on as supporters of this project as it fits well with their goals of building the creative economy in this region. The Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments (COG) was also critical to the success of this application to USDA. Priscilla Lucero, Executive Director of the COG said, “I am excited about the USDA award and look forward to the opportunities it can bring to the area.”
Jane Janson, Director of the Small Business Development Center at Western New Mexico University, said that the SBDC will serve as a resource by contributing knowledge of the local business environment to the feasibility study.
Create Startups is planning to engage deeply with small businesses and “makers” in Silver City and other towns throughout the county. Public announcements will be made well in advance of the arrival of the consulting team in Silver City. In the interim, if you are interested in learning more about the project, please do not hesitate to contact SWNMACT at (575)538-5560 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.