Use Caution When Lending Startup Money to Family

Happy family

By Finance New Mexico

It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to start even a small business, and raising that kind of startup capital is challenging to someone with little savings, a blemished or nonexistent credit history or a loan rejection from a bank. If that someone is a relative, there’s a good chance you’ll be approached for a loan.

If you have the means, it’s hard to refuse such a request — especially if you believe your family member has the potential to build a successful, profitable business. Continue reading

Streamlined Food Prep Helps Local Chain Expand

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

Rolling pizza doughAs Albuquerque-based Dion’s restaurant turned its entrepreneurial vision toward larger markets outside New Mexico in 2014, owners of the privately owned chain thought it was a good time to review operations with an eye to improving efficiency in its 20 existing outlets.

So Dion’s asked the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership to offer its expert assessment of how the restaurant was preparing and serving food and to suggest how it could modify the process to give the restaurant more value for its efforts. Continue reading

Business Altruism Pays Off Even When Payoff Isn’t the Point

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

For many businesses, philanthropic giving has an element of self-interest: It’s giving with the expectation of getting something back in the form of tax breaks and image building.

But more and more businesses are discovering that unselfish giving has a value that’s immeasurable and that reverberates throughout the community, the workforce and the economy. Continue reading

Air Force Veteran’s Business Growth Enabled by Accion

Firefighters training on extracting crash victims from a car wreck

By Finance New Mexico

Gary Peterson’s Albuquerque auto shop is a profit-generator with philanthropy at its heart.

Peterson, a 22-year Air Force veteran, started One Community Auto in Albuquerque to refurbish rundown vehicles and donate the sales proceeds to a variety of charities, from Assistance Dogs of the West to veteran suicide-prevention and domestic violence prevention programs. He calls this aspect of his business “social entrepreneurship.” Continue reading

Veterans Get Break on Contract, Vendor Bids

Boots to Business

By Finance New Mexico

Business-savvy veterans already know the benefits of becoming a federal government contractor.

Through initiatives like the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Boots to Business program, active-duty service members who are transitioning from military to civilian life and want to launch or build a business receive training in the basics of being an entrepreneur. And they learn about special low-interest loans, veterans’ preferences and other resources designed to help former military personnel succeed in the business world. Continue reading

Public Art Is Tool for Economic, Community Development

By Finance New Mexico

Rio Rancho public art

“Titan Rising” by artist Greg Reiche in Rio Rancho

Public art has been a force for economic development in New Mexico at least since the Great Depression, when the federal government paid hundreds of unemployed artists to create murals, sculpture and other artworks that grace federal buildings to this day.

Nearly a century later, many New Mexico cities are using public art projects to promote economic vitality by creating a foundation for community identity, centralizing disparate neighborhoods with a collective vision and attracting the attention of businesses that value culturally vibrant communities. One of those cities is Rio Rancho.

“Public art speaks to our culture and how we value the places we live in,” said Daniel Chamberlain, an architect with FBT Architects and chairman of Rio Rancho’s volunteer Arts Commission. “It is a wonderful negotiator of vision. It’s a quality-of-life driver.” Continue reading

Federal Reserve Wants to Hear From New Mexico Businesses

By Finance New Mexico

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City wants to hear from small businesses in New Mexico about the experiences they’re having in the credit market.

Every year, most banks in the Federal Reserve system’s 12-bank network participate in a national Small Business Credit Survey to get the data they need to provide policymakers, business representatives and service providers with up-to-date information about business financing and credit conditions. Northern New Mexico falls under the jurisdiction of the Kansas City district, while Southern New Mexico is under Dallas’ district umbrella. Continue reading

Economic Development Mandates Drive State’s Nonprofit Lenders

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

Economic development is what motivates New Mexico’s nonprofit lenders: The Loan Fund, Accion and WESST. All three organizations promote grassroots economic development by lending money to businesses that need cash to get started or to expand.

Designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as certified community development organizations (CDFIs), they support economically disadvantaged communities and provide loans to small businesses that lack access to traditional funding. Funding for these loans is provided by the New Mexico Small Business Investment Corporation (NMSBIC). The Legislature created NMSBIC 15 years ago to generate new job opportunities and support new or expanding businesses in New Mexico. Continue reading

Value Stream Mapping Boosts Productivity for Awning Maker

Rader Awning shade sails

Rader Awning shade sails; courtesy Rader Awning

Sometimes it just takes a fresh perspective — and expertise in lean manufacturing — to help a respected manufacturer streamline productivity and increase profitability.

The owners of Rader Awning & Upholstery Inc. requested that type of feedback when their 70-year-old company, New Mexico’s leading supplier of quality custom awnings and shades, faced challenges satisfying growing demand. Continue reading

Aztec’s Retail Incubator Aims to Nurture Downtown

By Finance New Mexico

The incubator's first tenant, 550 Brewing; photo courtesy 550 Brewing

The incubator’s first tenant, 550 Brewing; photo courtesy 550 Brewing

Aztec isn’t the only town in New Mexico whose residents want a vibrant and stable downtown business district, but it’s one town where leaders are moving forward with plans to create that environment.

Spurred by the city’s economic development advisory board, the Four Corners community is opening a retail incubator in a downtown building to nurture fledgling businesses until they’re ready to stand on their own.

The Aztec Business Incubator (also called the Aztec Business Hub) will host businesses in various stages of development and provide member businesses access to the expertise of service providers from the Small Business Development Center, WESST, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Four Corners Economic Development and the San Juan College Enterprise Center. A representative from each of these organizations will staff the hub one day a week. Continue reading