Makerspaces Nurture Business Development by Offering Workspace, Tools

By Finance New Mexico

FUSE Makerspace

Photo courtesy CNM Ingenuity Inc Facebook page

Uncertainty about the commercial viability of an innovation or idea — in addition to the cost of renting or buying the machinery needed to build a working prototype — has stifled many an entrepreneurial impulse. But the makerspace movement that’s gaining a foothold in several New Mexico communities is trying to change that.

Makerspaces offer access to expensive equipment and expert mentoring that innovators need to turn a concept into something tangible. Their advocates see them as cauldrons of entrepreneurism and economic development — as early-stage business incubators. Continue reading

Written Terms: The First Step Toward Avoiding Disputes

Signing a contract

By Finance New Mexico

A legal contract that spells out the responsibilities and relationships of partners in a business venture protects the interests of all parties involved, and it can guard against the messy disputes that can potentially sever friendships and family ties when an entrepreneur relies on friends and relatives to be his initial investors or workers and things don’t turn out as expected.

A term sheet can serve as a template and preliminary document for such a contract. Commonly used by professional investors when negotiating their involvement in a business venture, a term sheet can also be used by small-business owners to start discussions of investment and responsibility terms with family members. Continue reading

PNM Investments Drive Economic Development Initiatives

By Agnes Noonan, President, WESST

By Agnes Noonan, President, WESST

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. Continue reading

SCORE Offers Entrepreneurs Free Mentoring, Low-Cost Training

Albuquerque SCOREBy Finance New Mexico

Considering all the business smarts stored in the brains of seasoned executives, it would be a shame to let it go to waste.

SCORE gives entrepreneurs the key to that stored knowledge by pairing them with volunteer mentors who have decades of expertise in all aspects of starting and running a business. It also hosts workshops and seminars that teach basic and advanced skills that are crucial for a business owner to have. Continue reading

Conference Enlightens Veterans About Business Opportunities, Resources

VBOC logoVeterans come to the private-sector workforce with a lot to offer, including advanced training in specialized fields such as logistics, security, information technology, personnel management and administration. They understand the complexities of doing business with the U.S. government and the importance of following instructions and protocol.

Veterans have a mission-driven mind-set and work well under pressure. They appreciate the need for teamwork and leadership. Continue reading

LANS’ Fund Gives Native American Businesses Traction for Growth

By Kathy Keith, Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory Community Relations and Partnerships Office

By Kathy Keith, Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory Community Relations and Partnerships Office

After a successful trial run of its new arts and farmers market last October, Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council Inc. (ENIPC) solidified plans to make the markets a weekly event each Saturday this year from July 9 through the Columbus Day weekend. To maximize the economic benefits to market vendors — Native and non-Native farmers and artists from Northern New Mexico ENIPC — knew it needed to expand marketing to reach potential customers during the busy tourist season.

So ENIPC applied for — and received — funding from the Native American Venture Acceleration Fund (NAVAF), a pool of money distributed by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, and the Regional Development Corporation to help Native enterprises create jobs, increase their revenue base and diversify the Northern New Mexico economy. Continue reading

Accion Teams With National Craft Brewer to Coach Local Entrepreneurs

By Justin Hyde, New Mexico Market Manager, Accion

By Justin Hyde, New Mexico Market Manager, Accion

Nico Ortiz needed money in 2001 after exhausting the startup capital that helped him launch Turtle Mountain Brewing Company in Rio Rancho two years earlier. But without a five-year track record, he said, “no lender would touch me.”

Loan officers suggested Accion New Mexico, and there Ortiz’s luck changed. “It wasn’t a big loan,” he said. “Maybe $20,000. But it enabled me to get over the hump” and sustain the business until its fifth birthday, when traditional lenders were willing to lend. Today the company employs nearly three times as many people as it did in 1999, and its gross revenue has quadrupled.

“Accion is critical, because the (business) failure rate for zero to five years — especially for restaurants — is ginormous,” Ortiz said. “They help fine companies survive.” Continue reading

Old-School PR Can Raise Business Profile Without Stretching Its Budget

By Sandy Nelson, Team Member, Finance New Mexico project

By Sandy Nelson, Team Member, Finance New Mexico project

Small businesses that lack the bloated advertising budgets of their larger competitors can raise their profile with some old-school public relations techniques. Before launching a PR campaign, however, they should understand that PR is different from advertising.

When a business advertises, it pays to place its message on a highly visible medium — a newspaper, magazine, Internet website or billboard — or it pays for airtime on radio or television. It has complete control over the message, as long as the content doesn’t violate industry standards.

By contrast, the public relations approach aims to generate positive news coverage about the business by presenting newsworthy material to a media outlet in hopes an editor will reprint the press release as written or assign a reporter to write an original piece. Continue reading

New Mexico Shrimp Farmers Secure USDA Grant to Expand Market Reach

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Lemitar is pretty far from the Pacific, but Tim Ott and Abigail “Judy” Armendariz are growing shrimp native to that ocean in a climate-controlled aquaculture plant just north of Socorro.

Their company, Southwestern Seas LLC, has been selling New Mexico-farmed white Pacific shrimp at the Santa Fe Farmers Market for about a year.

The business partners in late November received a $49,500 value-added producer grant from USDA that they plan to use to market their unconventional “crop” to other farmers markets around the state and thus increase sales. Continue reading

Free Online Tool Aims to Help Businesses Succeed in Las Cruces

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

The City of Las Cruces wants local entrepreneurs to know about a new software tool that can help them succeed by accurately assessing how their existing or prospective business compares to industry competitors.

The Web-based program, SizeUp, gives users immediate access to reliable data from public and private sources that they can use to make informed business decisions and write reality-based business plans.

SizeUp has an interactive map that allows businesses to benchmark their performance against that of their competitors, decide where advertising messages are most likely to be seen by their target audience and identify where to find customers, competitors and suppliers. Continue reading