Small Business Saturday Benefits Local Communities

Rich Williams

By Rich Williams, New Mexico MainStreet Director and Arts & Cultural Districts Program Coordinator

Maria-Alicia Cordova cares about her business and the community it serves. Besides offering manicures, haircuts and other personal-care services at Al’s Styling Salon in Belen, Cordova serves on the board of the Belen MainStreet Partnership — a community effort to improve the appearance and economic vitality of the city’s downtown.

Small Business Saturday — the Saturday after Thanksgiving — draws attention to the important role that Cordova and other independent merchants in New Mexico play in the local, state and national economy.

“Belen has always been good to my business,” Cordova said of the venture her father started 57 years ago. “My father raised our family on salon work.” Continue reading

Venture Acceleration Fund Helps Native-Owned Businesses

By Kathy Keith, Executive Director, Regional Development Corporation

By Kathy Keith, Executive Director, Regional Development Corporation

Native-owned businesses in Northern New Mexico are eligible for grants of up to $25,000 to spend on specialized services that will help them increase revenues and create jobs.

One business, Than Povi Gallery, was awarded a Native American Venture Acceleration Fund grant in February 2014 to develop a marketing plan and ad campaign for the business, which moved in 2013 from San Ildefonso Pueblo to a site north of Santa Fe on U.S. 84/285. That move was partially enabled by a NAVAF grant in 2013, co-owner Elmer Torres said, and resulted in “a lot more foot traffic.” Continue reading

Entrepreneurs Build Creative Communities at NM’s Startup Weekends

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Steven Eiserling is an idea machine. Ever since he was a teenager, Eiserling has turned ideas into businesses — even during his 20-year career in information technology. Now the Chicago transplant studies business information systems at New Mexico State University and participates in entrepreneurial events. In Las Cruces’ Startup Weekend Oct. 24 to 26, he and his team pitched an application to link nonprofit organizations to volunteers through an online portal. Continue reading

New Mexico MEP Helps Wood-Floor Manufacturer Expand Business’s Reach

By Ron Burke, Center Director, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership

By Ron Burke, Center Director, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership

When the 2000 Viveash Fire burned through 17 million board feet of timber on his family’s homestead above Pecos, David Old drew on his experience as a sawmill owner-operator to make the best of overwhelming misfortune.

The company David Old built from the ashes of his family’s fire-damaged forest is now a top-drawer manufacturer and global exporter of fine wood floors made from reclaimed wood harvested from private and public lands using environmentally sound forest-management standards.

Sheer grit and entrepreneurial flexibility helped Old and his family-owned enterprise transform crisis into opportunity. In recent years, the Las Vegas, N.M.-based venture welcomed technical and training assistance from the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a nonprofit organization Continue reading

Workplace Safety Materials Put Accent on Spanish Speakers

Caution posting

By Finance New Mexico

Spanish-speaking people have been part of New Mexico’s work force for hundreds of years. But the dramatic growth of this population — driven largely by immigration — and the anticipated growth well into the future underscore the urgency of culturally tailored workplace safety training.

The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries has consistently shown higher workplace fatality rates for Hispanic workers than for workers from other racial or ethnic groups, and these rates are highest among Spanish speakers born outside the U.S. Hispanic workers also suffer higher rates of nonfatal occupational injury and illness. Continue reading

Agriculture Bill Brings Changes for State’s Farmers, Farmer’s Markets

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

The 2014 Farm Bill has something for every New Mexican who makes a living by farming or ranching. The bill, which became law in February, affects Department of Agriculture programs until fiscal year 2018.

Most significantly, the bill replaces direct and countercyclical payments to farmers with expanded crop insurance offerings.
The discontinued program subsidized farmers based on historical acreage and yields rather than actual yield, while countercyclical payments compensated farmers when crop prices fell. Continue reading

State Funds Give Businesses Access to Capital

Russell Cummins

By Russell Cummins, Executive Director and Investment Advisor, New Mexico Small Business Investment Corporation

Lots of small-business owners need cash to get their companies off the ground or pursue opportunities to build their client base. But some of those businesses can’t get loans from traditional sources that focus on established businesses.

These are the clients that the New Mexico Small Business Investment Corporation exists to serve. Since its creation by the Legislature in 2001, NMSBIC has distributed money from the Severance Tax Permanent Fund through its lending partner network to small businesses statewide.
Partner organizations apply their own underwriting standards when deciding which businesses to back, but they generally serve clients with a solid business plan, an ambitious owner or management team and a venture that seems likely to create jobs. Since 2004, the network has approved more than 3,000 loans to businesses in nearly every New Mexico community. Continue reading

Collaboration Aims to Streamline Funding for Economic Development Projects

By Antoinette Vigil, Finance Development Team Leader, New Mexico Economic Development Department

By Antoinette Vigil, Finance Development Team Leader, New Mexico Economic Development Department

When a New Mexico community wants to undertake a project for downtown revitalization, business incubation, housing or infrastructure, backers often don’t know where to look for financing and are easily discouraged or intimidated by the maze of government agencies they have to navigate.

The state addressed this problem in the “rural renaissance” platform of its five-year economic development plan, unveiled in 2013, by creating New Mexico FundIt — a federal-state partnership that aims to be a one-stop source of start-to-finish financing for projects that will help with infrastructure development, job creation and small-business development.

Through FundIt, communities can vet their development proposals before multiple state and federal infrastructure funding agencies at the same time. Continue reading

Statewide Biz Calendar Promotes Business-Building Connections

By Holly Bradshaw Eakes

By Holly Bradshaw Eakes

New Mexicans never have to wonder where they can go to widen their professional networks or learn the skills that will grow their businesses or advance their careers.

The online Business Calendar — or Biz Calendar for short — offers the most comprehensive cache of information about the business events, workshops, meetings, certification classes and professional gatherings that are happening anywhere in the state today, tomorrow, next week and later in the year.

Public and private service providers use the collaborative web-based calendar to inform Continue reading

Public Banking Gets a Hearing at Symposium

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

With tighter credit standards that have resulted in fewer loans since the recession of 2008, some are backing an effort to open a publicly owned and managed bank in New Mexico. These advocates are holding a symposium in Santa Fe on Sept. 27 to educate the public and decide how to proceed.

State Rep. Brian Egolf (D-Santa Fe) has pushed for a statewide public bank for years, arguing it would keep more money at home and make it easier for businesses to secure capital. Continue reading