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Spotlight on one of our Clients: Chris Munoz and Tigua Inc.

On February 23, The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development will host a Native Edge Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. One of the attendees will be Chris Munoz, the CEO of Tigua Inc. and a client of the New Mexico office of our American Indian Procurement Technical Assistance Center (note: PTACs are rebranding as Apex Accelerators – a new name, but same mission. Stay tuned for more information). Tigua is the economic development arm of the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, based in El Paso, Texas. Tigua focuses on technology and facility services, construction, and even operates a smoke shop. It has contract sites in 30 states.

We asked Chris to share his story in advance of NEI New Mexico. Check out what he had to say – and make sure to join us for NEI New Mexico!

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your business.

I am a tribal member of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. I am the first tribal member to serve as the CEO of Tigua Inc. I have been with the organization for 11 years. Founded by our Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, Tigua Inc.’s mission is to provide world-class services to our customers, thereby advancing and enhancing the lives of the Tigua Nation.

Specializing in information technology, construction, and facility services, our companies excel at providing our customers with innovative solutions to complex, global challenges and opportunities.

Our Small Business Administration 8(a) certification, as well as the DoD Indian Incentive Program (IIP), uniquely positions us to provide superior pricing and cost-effective solutions. We have offices in El Paso and in Washington, DC.

  • If you were to tell any small business owner about starting and growing their own business, what would you like to share with them or what advice would you give them? Advice specific to Native entrepreneurs?

In short: team with a good network and utilize the SBA! Making sure you have a great team around you – one that’s committed to the mission of the business – is vital to success. You should also utilize your existing network, especially as you’re just getting started. And perhaps most important, don’t shy away from federal programs and support, particularly at the SBA. The National Center’s PTAC team has been particularly helpful in this aspect, always making sure we had the information we need to get the right certifications and access to programs that will take our business to the next level.

  • What barriers have you had to overcome when starting and growing your business?

Entering the government contracting space can be incredibly challenging and difficult. But once you’re in, there are significant opportunities for growth. I strongly recommend using all available resources, including working with organizations like the National Center and their PTAC. There’s no substitute for hard work, but you also don’t have to do it alone.

  • Did Covid-19 impact your business? If so, how did you handle it?

We changed some of our strategy to focus on winning contracts that were essential during the pandemic, or otherwise required essential workers to perform the work. This helped us weather the pandemic without a significant impact to our business’s productivity or our workforce.

  • If you have ever attended RES in Las Vegas, how was that experience?

I have attended RES throughout the years and the experience has been great! The networking tables, where you are able to meet multiple federal agencies in one location, is a must. I look forward to attending the upcoming Native Edge Institute in Albuquerque to get some great updates on business and federal contracting.

  • Where and how can our readers learn more about your company and services?

I encourage you to visit www.tiguainc.org to learn more. Or feel free to email robert.vandivort@tiguainc.org or call (915) 298-0700.

  • Anything else you want to add?

It has been an honor and a privilege to work for my Pueblo. To grow this business into a successful organization has been a life’s honor.