7 Jun 2021

GGEDC helped the NM Rainforest University Center, which operates through the University of NM (UNM) and UNM-Gallup Branch locally, to connect to the local entrepreneurial/SBDC networks in Gallup and to identify a local mentor with whom they could collaborate. The network includes the Small Business Development Center at UNM-Gallup, Gallup MainStreet/Arts & Cultural District, and gallupARTS. These are some excellent resources for building small businesses & entrepreneurial ideas in Gallup! GGEDC welcomes the additional training opportunities and resources the NM Rainforest University Center is able to offer to support entrepreneurial development in McKinley County and we continue to direct small business owners to these local resources.

In March 2019, the EDA NM Rainforest University Center kicked off its first seminar at UNM-Gallup on “How to Generate a Business Idea” presented by Sandra Begay. In that Gallup auditorium sat, Virginia Primozic, a UNM student, aspiring artist and entrepreneur. Inspired by the seminars and resources provided by the University Center, Virginia embarked on a new entrepreneurial journey. As one of the most dedicated initial participants in the NM Rainforest University Center Program, Virginia earned her Entrepreneurial Capabilities Certificate in December 2019 for attending 7 or more University Center seminars throughout the year and successfully completing their associated quizzes. In addition to earning her certificate, as a UNM student, Virginia was able to participate in the Lobo Rainforest NSF I-Corp Site Program to engage in 10 weeks of customer discovery regarding her invention the “CoverJack.”

Before becoming a part of the University Center, Virginia had helped her sister with the role of “caregiver” for their bed-ridden mother. As caregivers, they noticed the problem of bedsores that their mother faced from having to lie down in bed and under the covers all day. From this problem, Virginia’s business venture and invention of the “CoverJack” was born. The CoverJack was a device that Virginia and her sister created that patient’s bedding could be placed over in order to create a tent for the feet, eliminating the weight of bedding, reducing points of contact and friction on the bed ridden patient. This allowed for the caregiver to adjust the canopy for a customized fit in an effort to reduce bed sores.

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