Opportunities abound for native entrepreneurs with the first cohort of the American Indian Business Enterprise Business Incubator Program at San Juan College and Networking Opportunities through the Southern Ute Economic Development Department. Ignacio’s School District announces the retirement of its Finance Director, Lucinda Lounge. You’re watching the Ignacio News Roundup, brought to you by Kroeger’s ACE Hardware and The Payroll Department. I’m Connor Shreve. In November 2022, San Juan College in partnership with New Mexico State University’s American Indian Business Enterprise Center received a $900,000 grant from the United States Department of the Interiors Office of Indian Development for a program designed to assist native entrepreneurs. The grant is targeted at entrepreneurs from the Jicarilla Apache, Navajo, Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Nations. The program will be run through the San Juan College Quality Center for Business with the aim of assisting 60 native entrepreneurs over the next three years, three cohorts of 20 people. If the program is successful, the grant will be extended for another three years and another $900,000. San Juan College is currently looking for 20 native entrepreneurs to join the first cohort. Participants will be able to take advantage of resources from San Juan College’s Enterprise Center, such as access to incubator space, software, conference rooms, membership to the Big Idea Makerspace at San Juan College, training in financial management and marketing, and one-on-one advising and mentorship. Ignacio’s School District announced that Finance Director, Lucinda Lounge, retired after five years with the school district at the end of June. Over the past five years Lounge helped guide the district through the COVID 19 pandemic with the assistance of federal grants and funds, and supported the refinancing of bonds to reduce tax payers burdens, while continuing funding of the schools. In a news release, Lounge expressed her gratitude to the Ignacio community saying, “In a world that often seems full” “of divisiveness and anger,” “Ignacio is a place that can be a haven” “of acceptance and kindness.” “Always choose to be a part of that.” Nancy Hansen, former bookkeeper, took over as Financial Director July 1st. Southern Ute Economic Development is offering a free networking event for Southern Ute tribal members who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. The virtual session is July 20th from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM and is open to registered members of the Southern Ute Tribe. Scan the QR code on the poster for the Zoom session. Learn more about these and other stories online at durangolocal.news. If you have an organization or event that you’d like to see featured in Ignacio, email us at [email protected]. Thank you for watching this edition of the Ignacio News Roundup. I’m Connor Shreve.