Making Manufacturers: Events Aim to Inspire Next-Generation Workers

By Sandy Nelson for Finance New Mexico

Young people can be hard to impress, but students from Albuquerque’s Academy of Trades and Technology (ATTHS) charter school were visibly stoked by a tour of Rader Awning during 2016 Manufacturing Day events.

ATTHS students during Manufacturing Day 2016 tours at Rader Awning (left, center) and OGB Architectural Millwork; photos Jane Phillips Photography

Before-and-after shots of the 15 ATTHS students who visited the factory where Rader manufactures awnings, shade panels and fabric products illustrate what can happen when young adults get a close look at the world of manufacturing: a transformation from bored detachment to delighted engagement. Continue reading

Summer Camp for Job Creators

By Damon Scott for Finance New Mexico

Silver City economic development course 2016 participants

2016 participants; courtesy © Western New Mexico University

The last day of a typical kid’s summer camp is usually reserved for the wacky and fun talent show. Silver City’s adult version, instead, culminates in the presentation of an economic development case study.

The New Mexico Economic Development Course at Western New Mexico University (WNMU) July 23 – 27 in Silver City offers much more than the title suggests. The intensive week involves a series of lectures, workshops, training, activities and instruction — all designed to motivate attendees toward one overarching takeaway: spur job creation in their communities. Continue reading

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. FundIt aims to be a one-stop source of start-to-finish financing for projects that will help with community infrastructure development, job creation and small-business development. 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.

Time passed, the business grew, and the Brashers built their credit history outside of the conventional banking system. When their private lender passed away, they needed an institutional lender to refinance the building. 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

Rio Rancho public art

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.”

The payback can be enormous, Chamberlain said, even if it’s hard to measure. 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.

The NMSBIC lending program also provides funding to the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority for construction loans and to Rio Vista Growth Capital for mezzanine growth funding to enable communities and businesses to grow. Continue reading