Return on LEDA Investment Enriches NM Economy

LEDABy Finance New Mexico

For evidence of the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA)’s power to stimulate the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, New Mexico residents need look no further than the massive industrial building at 2600 Camino Entrada in Santa Fe.

The former home of CleanAIR Systems and Caterpillar Inc. is now the world headquarters for Meow Wolf Inc., a leader in the vibrant “experience economy” that expects to employ as many as 360 highly skilled workers over the next five years. Continue reading

VAF Info Sessions Prepare Companies to Apply for Funding

Venture Acceleration FundBy Damon Scott for Finance New Mexico

Early-stage businesses, or even those that are more established, often find it hard to land the right cash infusion, especially when traditional bank financing can be elusive. Under this common scenario, funding through the Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF) could be the needed boost.

Information sessions to help businesses apply for VAF are taking place in Northern New Mexico until Feb. 9, when the application process officially opens. Applications for funding will be accepted until March 12. Continue reading

WESST Wraps Banner Year; New Programs Expected in 2018

By Damon Scott for Finance New Mexico

Dineland

Dineland Protection Services Inc., photo courtesy Chris Hunter, WESST

WESST, the statewide nonprofit best known for consulting and training programs that support entrepreneurs and small businesses, hit a milestone in 2017: It made its largest loan ever. WESST loaned $150,000 to Dinéland Protection Services Inc. of Fruitland to help the company launch the security services it provides to the Navajo coal mine on the Navajo Nation.

While the bulk of WESST’s services focus on one-on-one consulting and deep-dive business workshops, WESST also wants to make sure its clients have the funds needed to grow their businesses. Kim Blueher, vice president of lending at WESST, said the loan program is about 10 percent of the overall services they offer, but it makes a significant impact. Continue reading

Cedar Crest Woman Brews Up Business With Help From Nonprofit Lender

Hannah Johnson in front of Cabra Coffee

Hannah Johnson

By Finance New Mexico

Hannah Johnson left Cedar Crest, New Mexico, to get a biology degree, and after a stint in shorebird conservation, she returned to start a coffee shop in her hometown in the eastern Sandia Mountain foothills.

The owner of Cabra Coffee, which opened in spring 2017, started making quality coffee at college. “My first job working in the industry was when I was going to school at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. It was just the coffee shop in the school, but we were getting coffee from a cafe in Seattle, and they would come down and train us. That’s where I first learned how to make coffee professionally.” Continue reading

Nonprofit Lenders Lower Startup Funding Risk

Business LoanBy Finance New Mexico

Entrepreneurs traditionally dipped into personal savings or tapped their friends-and-family network to fund a startup, and they used credit cards and home equity lines of credit to buy equipment or make payroll. If the venture stumbled and revenue evaporated, the owner faced years of compounding debt.

Those risks haven’t disappeared, but today’s business owners have more funding options, including a network of New Mexico nonprofit lenders. Continue reading

Steeled for Success: Las Cruces Company Grows With Help From Partnership Loan

By Taura Costidis and Sandy Nelson for Finance New Mexico

Mesilla Valley Metals owners Casey and Chancie RobertsCasey Roberts earned an MBA at the same time he was learning the family trade: welding. Today, the Las Cruces man and his wife, Chancie, own Mesilla Valley Metals, a manufacturer of pipes, structural steel, farm implements and custom-ordered metal products.

“My family has always been in the welding business,” Roberts said. “My dad was a rig welder in Farmington, where my uncle on my mom’s side owns a big fabrication shop. I always enjoyed making something and seeing results at the end of the day.” Continue reading

Landscape Business Puts Down Roots With Help From Accion

By Brinn Pfeiffer, Accion Communications Specialist, and Sandy Nelson, Finance New Mexico

Oscar's Tree Service

Oscar’s Tree Service in Santa Fe

Before Oscar Apodaca talked to Accion, his Santa Fe tree service business was like many growing entrepreneurial enterprises — operating on the edge of society and extremely vulnerable — a position that could be significantly improved by greater access to capital.

Oscar and his wife, Charito, started their full-service landscape business on Rufina Street in 2008 after Oscar left his job at a local nursery. Their dream was to turn his landscaping gig into a full-time business with a permanent home — rather than running the venture from his trailer. Continue reading

LANB Nurtures Path for Small Businesses to Thrive Through The Loan Fund

By Damon Scott for Finance New Mexico

The Loan Fund partnership with LANBIf you’re a community bank still headquartered in New Mexico, there will naturally be businesses knocking at your door for financial advice and loans. But sometimes, due to a bank’s own regulations and requirements, some businesses won’t qualify for certain loans, and they must be turned away.

Instead of giving up on the startups, nonprofits and small businesses that may fall outside of a bank’s boundaries, institutions like Los Alamos National Bank (LANB) have found a way to keep them in New Mexico’s financial ecosystem. Continue reading

Las Cruces Massage School Gets Boost From Century Bank

MTTI classroom

MTTI owner Timothy Gay, left

By Sandy Nelson for Finance New Mexico

Timothy Gay shopped around before securing a loan in 2013 to buy a building in downtown Las Cruces for his Massage Therapy Training Institute (MTTI). He chose Century Bank to help him secure a U.S. Small Business Administration commercial 504 loan.

“They were the nicest people to work with, which is definitely a bonus,” he said about the bank. Continue reading

Partnership-Style Loan Helps Cedar Crest Grocer Thrive

By Damon Scott for Finance New Mexico

Triangle Grocery, Cedar Crest, NMThe era of big box retailers and internet giants like Amazon have made it easy to write off local independent businesses. But Rita Riebling, co-owner and managing partner of Triangle Grocery in Cedar Crest, has built a business that local and surrounding communities rely on. Nevertheless, you won’t hear Riebling say that running an independent grocery store is an easy task.

To stay relevant and keep business buzzing, Riebling has worked hard and made strategic moves at opportune times. She recently purchased the building that’s home to Triangle Grocery and bought out her partners so that she and her husband Morey would have controlling interest in the grocery store. Continue reading