Incubators and Accelerators Nurture Entrepreneurs

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Isolation is the scourge of entrepreneurship — a dark echo chamber that amplifies setbacks and blocks critical feedback, encouragement, ideas and resources.

Business incubators and accelerators are the antithesis of that negative space, and New Mexico is home to about a dozen of these business-nurturing organizations. Both prepare businesses for growth, but they use different models and often intervene at different moments in the life of a company. Continue reading

Office of Business Advocacy — a One-Stop Shop for Clearing Bureaucratic Roadblocks — Will Now Help Entrepreneurs Launch and Grow

By Angela Heisel, New Mexico Economic Development Department

By Angela Heisel, New Mexico Economic Development Department

Governor Susana Martinez and Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela established the Office of Business Advocacy (OBA) in January 2011, and have been extremely pleased with its success. Since then, the OBA has saved or created more than 2,000 jobs by helping businesses navigate the sometimes complicated processes of permitting and licensing that can slow job creation and business growth. Now the OBA is expanding its mission.

“The Office of Business Advocacy has done remarkably well helping small businesses that may not have the time or resources to sift through the regulatory, licensing and permitting process or address policy issues affecting their operations,” Secretary Barela said. “As a result of regulatory reforms, leading to less bureaucratic red tape than when the governor first took office four and half years ago, we’re expanding the OBA’s role to include proactively helping entrepreneurs start businesses and grow.”

Leslie Porter, the director of the OBA, is moving the office in that direction. “OBA will take a more inclusive approach and will also function as the Business Resource Center (BRC) instead of just focusing solely on resolving unnecessary delays in permitting and licensing,” Porter said. “This will streamline the process and achieve the goal of making both OBA and BRC more approachable.”

While the OBA is evolving, it won’t lose sight of its original mission and will continue to reach out to businesses. “I will increase exposure and communicate that OBA is a resource for small-business owners that will not only work to resolve red tape barriers but will also help guide entrepreneurs through the process.”

The agency also cultivates strategic partnerships with the New Mexico Small Business Development Center, the U.S. Small Business Administration and other service providers. The New Mexico Economic Development Department’s regional representatives work with local chambers of commerce, economic development organizations and small businesses to increase OBA’s reach.

OBA advocates have firsthand knowledge of intergovernmental affairs and know decision makers in all agencies that intersect with the business community. These relationships make it easier to solve conflicts — sometimes by doing something as simple as making a phone call to set up a meeting with the right person. Advocates operate as caseworkers to facilitate movement of paperwork through the system, and they don’t close cases until they’re resolved.

“I will travel the state, introducing the office to areas where either owners may not have been aware of this resource or may not have access to it,” she said. “We are continuing to increase office exposure and let small-business owners know that OBA is open for business — that the state is open for business.”

Visit the Office of Business Advocacy at www.NMforBusiness.com. To initiate a case, call 505-827-2486 or email business.advocacy@state.nm.us.

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Loan Helps Couple Open Studio to Enrich Clients’ Physical, Spiritual Lives

By Metta Smith, Vice President of Lending and Client Relations, Accion New Mexico

By Metta Smith, Vice President of Lending and Client Relations, Accion New Mexico

Empowerment is the core of Mira Rubiano’s mission-driven life. After graduating with a degree in economics from Mount Holyoke College, the Minnesota native worked at the State Department and the World Bank, specializing in efforts to reduce poverty and increase social inclusion.

Now she and her husband, freelance photographer Eduardo Rubiano, are taking charge of their own financial destiny by opening a yoga and fitness studio that helps clients build their energy and well-being. Santa Fe Thrive opened in the Solana Center at the end of May with a commitment “to providing inclusive, community-conscious empowerment in the spirit of holistic health and vitality.” Continue reading

Industrial Revenue Bonds Offer Novel Approach to Economic Development

By Harold W. Lavender, Jr., Of Counsel, Montgomery & Andrews, P.A.

By Harold W. Lavender, Jr., Of Counsel, Montgomery & Andrews, P.A.

Industrial revenue bonds are a form of public-private partnership — a tool that governments can use to stimulate economic development, allowing them to offer tax subsidies for new or expanding businesses that create jobs and improve communities. Subsidies may include a property tax exemption; a gross receipts tax deduction and compensating tax exemption if certain equipment is purchased with bond proceeds; an exemption for bond interest from New Mexico income tax; and in some cases, an exemption of bond interest from federal income tax.

These types of bond issues have been popular as a way to help New Mexico cities and towns compete — without assuming financial liability — for capital-intensive projects by extending tax subsidies to reduce the risks and costs for a company to move here. New Mexico cities and counties are authorized to issue IRBs. Continue reading

Visitors Get Inside Look Into How Herbal Supplements Are Made

Claudia Infante

By Claudia Infante, Projects Coordinator, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The people who toured the Herbs Etc. manufacturing plant during New Mexico Manufacturing Day activities last October saw how the Santa Fe company converts plant parts into liquid extracts that customers can buy online or at 2,800 U.S. retail outlets to treat a variety of ailments.

Anyone who missed out on that tour will get another chance this fall, when the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership lines up a new round of tours to highlight the state’s manufacturing sector.

“We like to do these types of tours, because it allows people to see our operations,” said Glenna Warwick, director of production at Herbs Etc. Before the tour, “they have no concept of how a dietary supplement is made.” Continue reading

Preparation Matters When Applying for a Business Loan

By James A. McCormick, Senior Vice President Commercial Lending, Century Bank

By James A. McCormick, Senior Vice President Commercial Lending, Century Bank

Lenders let the documents do the talking when a business applies for a loan, which is why a well-prepared loan application articulates why the business needs the money, what it plans to do with it and what other obligations it has.

Most bank lenders have their own proprietary loan application paperwork for the borrower, but all lenders want the same basic information. While the lender will obtain credit reports and scores independently, documentation brought to the loan discussion will demonstrate the borrower’s ability to repay the loan. Continue reading

Data-Rich Repositories Can Help State’s Businesses Research Their Markets

graphs and charts

By Finance New Mexico

A business plan is incomplete without a financial section that forecasts how the owner expects the company to grow and how much revenue he believes the company will generate based on his reading of the market for its products or services.

But unless that projection is grounded in reality, it won’t make the desired impression on a lender or investor — or even on a landlord who wants some assurance the business will last as long as the commercial lease. Continue reading

Business Tools Empower Owners to Shape Financial Future

By Julianna Silva, Albuquerque Regional Director, WESST

By Julianna Silva, Albuquerque Regional Director, WESST

Entrepreneurs are naturally passionate about providing a service or product, but many avoid digging into the financial aspects of running a small business — perhaps because they don’t have simple tools that can help them understand their finances.

This avoidance can cost a business dearly, because financial success requires that the owner understand the target customer, how to price a product or service and how to keep track of cash flowing in and out of the business. Continue reading

‘Lean Startup’ Turns Traditional Business Model on its Head

By Sandy Nelson, Finance New Mexico team member

By Sandy Nelson, Finance New Mexico team member

Many innovators wouldn’t dream of launching a business without a plan and a pile of money, but that’s precisely the “lean startup” approach that advocates say is revolutionizing and democratizing entrepreneurship.

The methodology, introduced in 2011 by serial entrepreneur and startup coach Eric Ries, shuffles the traditional deck by putting the cart (the product or service idea) before the horse (the business organization), “selling” the wares before investing time and money building something that customers don’t really want.

If it sounds counterintuitive, it’s because the conventional business development template begins with a business plan, followed by a search for financial backing and recruitment of a core management team. Continue reading

Small-Business Champion Brings Lessons From Her Own Business Experiences

John Woosley

By John Woosley, New Mexico District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration

Julianna Silva was a small-business advocate well before she joined the staff of WESST and became the Albuquerque regional manager of the nonprofit business-development organization.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Management, Silva worked in marketing for various nonprofits, including the Trust for Public Land in Santa Fe. In 1996, she left that job to help her husband with his handcrafted furniture venture. “I got my MBA by building that store,” she quipped.

On May 12, Silva will receive the Small Business Administration’s New Mexico Women in Business Champion of the Year award in recognition of her work at WESST helping other New Mexicans start and sustain businesses of their own. Continue reading