Business Incubator Opens Doors With Help From Funding Panel

550 Brewing

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

By Finance New Mexico

When Aztec community leaders envisioned a downtown co-working space and retail-business incubator, they made a plan, found a building and identified initial sources of funding for the project. But they needed additional money to get it off the ground. They turned to New Mexico FundIt, an informal group of federal and state government and nonprofit agencies that meets regularly to help identify capital and fill funding gaps in economic development projects.

FundIt was created by the New Mexico Economic Development Department from a suggestion by a blue-ribbon panel convened to identify ways to streamline development projects in the state. Continue reading

Tularosa Hat Maker Stays Put With USDA Loan

By Finance New Mexico

Bronco Sue Custom Hats gets lots of walk-in traffic. Situated at the crossroads of New Mexico State Highways 54 and 70 in Tularosa, the retail store is a must-stop for those visiting south-central New Mexico tourist attractions such as White Sands National Monument, the town of Ruidoso and Lincoln Historic Site — the most visited state monument in New Mexico.

So when Kenneth and Lu Lyn Brasher, the owners of Bronco Sue Custom Hats, had the opportunity to purchase the building that’s home to their antique hat-making equipment and retail store, they jumped at the opportunity. Like many rural residents, the Brashers didn’t finance the property through a bank. “The people that we bought it from were the ones carrying the paper,” said Lu Lyn. Continue reading

Communities Look to Airports to Spur Economic Development

By Finance New Mexico

Even in the age of the Internet and videoconferencing, a lot of business must be done face-to-face. In Northern New Mexico, that just got a whole lot easier. In December, direct flights between Phoenix and Santa Fe were inaugurated, making it fast and effortless for residents of the Valley of the Sun to reach New Mexico, and vice-versa. Continue reading

Rural Development Grant Program Fosters Job Growth

The tribal administrative offices and community center of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, which received RBDG funds

By Finance New Mexico

Nonprofit organizations and government agencies in rural communities have economic development funds at their fingertips through the Rural Business Development Grant program (RBDG) of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. The program is designed to support job creation and economic development efforts of nonprofits and public entities, though small and emerging private businesses can access those funds for certain projects. Continue reading

Hospitality Disrupter Eyed for State, Local Revenue

AirBnb

By Finance New Mexico

AirBnb is not just another billion-dollar Silicon Valley start-up, although with a market value estimated at $30 billion, the company certainly qualifies. No, AirBnB is a disrupter, a company that has caused a fundamental change in the hospitality industry. And like any change, this one has produced winners and losers.

The winners include almost 3,500 people across New Mexico who have turned their spare bedrooms — and second homes — into a source of income. In Santa Fe, for example, there are nearly 1,000 people renting space. Continue reading

Local Buying Gets Boost From Internet Platform

yellCast

By Finance New Mexico

Bill Foster is a digital marketing master. The serial entrepreneur developed keyword and search-engine ad revenue for pioneering companies such as Infoseek and Excite and now wants to use his experience and knowledge to help local businesses compete with national chains and internet behemoths.

Foster is a founder of yellCast, a New Mexico startup that connects buyers with local merchants by providing search-engine results that go a step beyond Yelp, Google and Bing and offer an interactive portal where buyers and sellers communicate directly.  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

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

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

A Month for Manufacturing: New Mexico Stretches out Mfg Day Celebration

By Finance New Mexico

Manufacturing Day 2015 tour at Santa Fe Spirits

Manufacturing Day 2015 tour at Santa Fe Spirits; photo by Jane Phillips

Manufacturing is so important to New Mexico that sponsors of this year’s statewide Manufacturing Day (Mfg Day) celebration are dedicating the entire month of October to raising public awareness and appreciation of this bedrock industry.

Aside from organizing the facility tours that have been central to New Mexico’s participation in the nationwide event since 2013, the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) is collaborating with maker spaces, museums, schools and youth groups to develop interactive activities to inspire young people to pursue manufacturing careers. Continue reading