PNM and the PNM Resources Foundation contribute more than $3 million to New Mexico nonprofits and community partners each year to support economic, educational and environmental initiatives in the communities the company serves.
One of its core partnerships is with WESST, a non-profit small-business development organization committed to cultivating entrepreneurship throughout the state through training, consulting, incubation and lending.
“Through our economic vitality giving efforts, we focus on economic-development collaborations, support of local chambers (of commerce) and providing assistance to low-income-qualified families through programs that increase their energy efficiency options and reduce their utility bills,” said Amy M. Miller, director of community, environment and local government for PNM. “We consider WESST to be one of the best partners we have in the economic-development arena.”
Creating jobs and businesses is critical in New Mexico, Miller said, and PNM likes what WESST is doing to bring economic stability and higher living standards to the state’s diverse communities.
As part of its Job Growth Initiative, PNM helped WESST launch the Technology Toolkit, a program that helps New Mexico entrepreneurs effectively use technology in their businesses and provides streamlined, low-interest loans of $500 to $5,000 for tech purchases such as hardware, software and Web development.
“PNM understands the vision that WESST has to provide entrepreneurs with access to learning and loans that help them incorporate technology tools into their businesses,” said Julianna Silva, managing director of the WESST Enterprise Center, one of 7 certified small business incubators in New Mexico. “These resources are so pivotal in today’s ever-changing digital landscape and play a key role in how New Mexico entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.”
Toolkit workshops offer intensive training and consulting in online marketing, low-cost tech and financial applications and business uses for tablets like the iPad. Sample classes include break-even and cash flow analysis using custom Excel models, selling online using ETSY, mobile tools for marketing and productivity and QuickBooks basics.
“WESST is able to help New Mexico entrepreneurs use technology wisely to grow sustainable businesses,” Silva said, “and the support of PNM has amplified our capacity to offer these important resources to small businesses in New Mexico. PNM has always been a tremendous partner in our work to advance economic development in the state.”
PNM’s collaboration with WESST goes back to the organization’s creation: Two of WESST’s three founders were PNM employees, and PNM employees and company officers continue their involvement with WESST.
Besides PNM’s organizational support, Miller said, “some of us provide personal contributions to the organization (and) two of our officers also continue to be active in board and committee work to further WESST’s mission in New Mexico,” Miller said. “WESST has a proven track record in creating a wide array of support to help entrepreneurs succeed in all parts of New Mexico. This is so critical when it comes to improving the economic health of our state.”
In 2015, WESST provided training, consulting, incubation and financial services to 3,025 New Mexicans from its offices in Albuquerque, Roswell, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Farmington and Las Cruces. WESST clients employed more than 1,470 people, created 238 new jobs and generated more than $88 million in annual revenues.
For more information about the WESST Technology Toolkit, visit https://www.wesst.org/business-training/wesst-technology-toolkit/.