NM MEP Offers Crash Course in ISO Certification

By Denise Williams, Innovation Director, Northwest Region, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership

New Mexico companies seeking higher-margin work often seek ISO certification, and the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NM MEP) can help them prepare to get it.

Certification with the most recent iteration of the best-known ISO quality management standard, ISO 9001:2015, is increasingly required by top-tier companies and government agencies that hire private contractors for supplies or services. 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

Keeping Commitments Key To Building Government Contract Résumé

Build government contracting resume

By Sandy Nelson for Finance New Mexico
Reviewed by Adolfo Vasquez, deputy director, SBA New Mexico district

Winning a government contract requires diligence and deliberate focus. Fulfilling it and building a résumé on outstanding performance are even more demanding.

Failure to perform as promised — depriving a government agency of the expected product or service — will sour future opportunities for underperforming or defaulting businesses. And it might result in serious financial and legal problems for the business that breaches a contract. 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

Honoring Veterans Through Business Support

VetpreneurBy Finance New Mexico

New Mexico is home to more than 160,000 veterans, and about half of them are under the age of 65. For those former service members interested in operating businesses, state and federal agencies can help with business formation, certification and contract acquisition that levels the playing field for vets that have spent their careers out of the private sector. Continue reading

WESST’s Holiday Pop-Up Shop Takes Artists Beyond Workshops

By Damon Scott for Finance New Mexico

willajunejewelry and Reuseful Candles

willajunejewelry and Reuseful Candles are two of over 20 participants expected at WESST’s pop-up

The “pop-up retail” trend has helped many artists and entrepreneurs sell products and launch businesses in cities throughout the country. Pop-up shops allow artists and retailers to use temporarily donated commercial space to sell wares and land new customers.

Albuquerque’s WESST Enterprise Center hosted a holiday pop-up shop last year to showcase its artisan and “maker” clients as part of Manufacturing Day activities. The event was so successful that the nonprofit business development and training organization has scheduled the second incarnation for Friday, October 20. 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

International Business Opportunities Thrive in New Mexico

By Damon Scott for Finance New Mexico

A road map to exportingInternational trade and export opportunities have been a consistent bright spot in the New Mexico economy. Edward Herrera, director of the Office of International Trade at the New Mexico Economic Development Department, would agree.

The longtime trade expert hopes business owners will take advantage of the services his office offers.  Finance New Mexico asked Herrera what small businesses can do to boost their bottom line through exporting. Continue reading

Farmington Manufacturer’s Growth Doubles With NM MEP’s Help — and ‘Poka-Yoke’ 

By Damon Scott for Finance New Mexico

Tom Gibbons in his shop

It was a strategy Farmington business owner Tom Gibbons didn’t see coming. Let alone one that would help position him to achieve big results for San Juan Closet Works, his custom closet manufacturing company that specializes in storage and organization solutions for residential and business clients.

The New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NM MEP) used a little Japanese-inspired ingenuity, “poka-yoke,” to help Gibbons not only grow business, but focus on his next goal. “I have a plan to retire in two years,” Gibbons said. “I’ve reached the ceiling for how much work I can do with two people.” Continue reading