Communities Benefit From Black Friday When Shoppers Buy Local

Red River, NM

By Finance New Mexico

The arguments for shopping at independent, locally owned New Mexico businesses before bargain hunting at national retail chains are many — and they’re all good.

Local businesses are more than twice as generous to hometown nonprofits that fulfill community-specific needs, according to the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), and they are more loyal and accountable to the people they employ and live among. Local businesses are typically small, and this sector of the economy employs 48 percent of the private sector workforce. Continue reading

Education Turns Real for Tech School Students

By Jennifer Sinsabaugh, Interim State Director, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Technology Leadership High School students during the Sandia Science and Technology Park Manufacturing Day 2015 tour

Technology Leadership High School students during the Sandia Science and Technology Park Manufacturing Day 2015 tour

Like her classmates at Technology Leadership High School in Albuquerque, Paola Rodriguez always wondered what went on behind the doors of neighboring businesses in the Sandia Science and Technology Park. On Oct. 30, the 16-year-old freshman and about 60 other students and six teachers satisfied that curiosity on a tour organized by the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership as part of Manufacturing Day — a national celebration of American manufacturing.

“These buildings are all around you — businesses with names like ‘Air Products’ — and you wonder what they do,” Rodriguez said. “I was very curious.” Continue reading

Boots to Business Helps Veterans Start Personal-Security Venture

By Finance New Mexico, with the assistance of John Woosley, Director, U.S. Small Business Administration New Mexico district

BootstoBusinessLogoChris Sweetin was transitioning to civilian life after more than 20 years as an active-duty Air Force flight examiner, engineer and instructor when he heard about the Boots to Business program from a representative of the New Mexico Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC). Continue reading

New Companies Added to List of Growth Leaders

By Val Alonzo, Interim Executive Director, Regional Development Corporation

The staff of Santa Fe-based Mesa Photonics, which was recognized as a 20/20 company in 2013. Santa Fe Mayor Pro Tem Peter Ives is seated. Photo by Jane Phillips.

The staff of Santa Fe-based Mesa Photonics, which was recognized as a 20/20 company in 2013. Santa Fe Mayor Pro Tem Peter Ives is seated. Photo by Jane Phillips.

The Regional Development Corporation of Española is adding to its growing list of businesses it considers likely to add jobs and dynamism to the region’s economy by 2020. The economic development organization is hosting a reception Nov. 12 at the Santa Fe Hilton Historic Plaza Hotel to honor a select group of companies that are receiving its 2015 Northern New Mexico 20/20 Campaign Award.

Award-winners receive operational, financial and technical advice from nonprofit business-service providers that share RDC’s goal of identifying and nurturing robust companies with the potential to double their workforce and revenues by the end of the decade. Continue reading

Students Get Small-Business Experience

By Carole Rutten, Deputy Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory Community Programs Office

Highlands University natural resources management professor Edward Martínez, right, talks with Eliza Montoya about her research poster at Research Day 2015; photo by Margaret McKinney/Highlands University

New Mexico Highlands University natural resources management professor Edward Martínez, right, talks with Eliza Montoya about her research poster at Research Day 2015; photo by Margaret McKinney/courtesy NMHU

Preparing college students for a career involves more than just filling their heads with knowledge. It includes giving them a realistic idea of what employers will expect from them once they graduate.

Several students at New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) are getting this well-rounded perspective as part of a workforce development initiative of the university’s Achieving in Research, Math & Science (ARMAS) Center, the Las Vegas/San Miguel Entrepreneurial Network and Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Community Programs Office.

The collaboration supports small businesses in San Miguel County by providing meaningful work experiences for undergraduate students who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees at NMHU. Continue reading

New Mexico Film Conference Sheds Light on Entrepreneurial Opportunities

By Belle Allen, State Outreach Coordinator, New Mexico Film Office of the New Mexico Economic Development Department

The film industry in New Mexico offers numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs to get in on the “lights, camera, action!

To share information about state resources and growing industry trends with filmmakers, producers, accountants, studios, vendors, crew, actors and emerging media innovators, the New Mexico State Film Office is hosting the 2015 New Mexico Film and Media Industry Conference Oct. 29-31 at the Isleta Casino & Resort in Albuquerque.

Established players in the state’s vibrant film industry aren’t the only ones who could benefit from the workshops and sessions being planned: The event is a setting for savvy creatives and go-getters to find a niche in established service areas and to learn about unmet needs their products, properties and talents might fill. Continue reading

Small-Business Lending Bears Fruit Throughout New Mexico

Russell Cummins

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

The owners of Montoya Transportation in Silver City, Enchanted Smiles in Belen and Santa Fe Thrive in New Mexico’s capital city run vastly different businesses in separate parts of the state. But each of these entrepreneurs has borrowed money from the pool of capital managed by the New Mexico Small Business Investment Corporation (NMSBIC) and made available to borrowers through NMSBIC’s network of lenders.

Loans similar to these are among the 473 approved in the fiscal year that ended June 30. Those loans, totaling $8.1 million, supported 1,308 jobs throughout the state.

Since 2004, NMSBIC’s lending partners — including The Loan Fund, Accion and WESST — have delivered funding for 3,524 loans to virtually every community in New Mexico, including areas underserved by traditional lenders. These loans, totaling $56 million, have supported 9,379 jobs. Continue reading

Consultants Help Yarn Cafe Owner Raise Business Profile

By George Kenefic, Director of Enterprise Empowerment, The Loan Fund

About a year after she had secured a small-business startup loan through The Loan Fund, Deborah Grossman got a visit from two consultants who work for the nonprofit lender. The pair — Joaquin Amador and Andrew Carrabus — dropped by Grossman’s Santa Fe store, Yarn & Coffee, to ask if she needed help with marketing, financial record keeping or any of the other tasks involved in starting and sustaining a business.

The timing was fortunate. “I was trying to figure out how to get more people in the door,” Grossman said of her shop, where people can buy yarn, knitting and crocheting tools and accessories, patterns and books or take a needle-craft class — and enjoy a cup of coffee, tea or cold drink at the same time.

Grossman strives to create a community atmosphere at her business housed in a stand-alone building tucked behind the Pantry Restaurant on Cerrillos Road and Fifth Street. Continue reading

Evolving Business Returns to Accion for Commercial Real-Estate Loan

By Justin Hyde, Accion Market Manager

By Justin Hyde, Accion Market Manager

Cathy Schueler approached Accion, a nonprofit lender, in 1996 to secure her first business loan for her nascent business — a microloan of around $3,000 — to buy equipment and supplies for her private psychotherapy practice in Rio Rancho.  At the time, Schueler was a sole proprietor who wanted to build her new business.

By the time Schueler returned in 2015, she was planning to purchase a home for her thriving S corporation, Bosque Mental Health, in central Albuquerque.

“Cathy’s a great example of how a client can grow with us,” said Metta Smith, vice president of lending and client relations. “We’re able to work with a wide range of entrepreneurs — from those needing startup capital to launch, to the well-established business owner hoping to purchase a home for his or her business.” Continue reading

New Mexico to Join National Celebration of Manufacturing

By Claudia Infante, projects coordinator, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership

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

While emerging economies get a lot of buzz for their growing role in manufacturing, America remains a global leader in product innovation and fabrication. To draw attention to the industry’s continuing contributions to the domestic and world economies, the nation’s manufacturers invite the public once a year inside the 21st century “factory.”

Manufacturing Day began in 2012 as a coordinated industry effort to generate interest in manufacturing careers. At the time, U.S. manufacturing was in the second year of record job growth — a pace last seen in the 1990s — that added more than 700,000 jobs by 2015.

In nationwide events planned on and around the first Friday of October, manufacturers and their advocates get a chance to raise concerns about the shortage of skilled labor and to excite young people about engineering, design and production jobs. Continue reading