Heinrich: $774,000 goes to small businesses

Sen. Martin Heinrich shakes hands with Kerry Marler, director of operations for Etkie, at the WESST Enterprise Center in Albuquerque on Wednesday. (Chancey Bush/Journal)

New employees for the organization. Helping Native American artisans get their work posted on e-commerce sites. These are just some of the areas where small business organizations plan to use the federal money they received through the 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Agreement.

At a press conference Wednesday, Sen. Martin Heinrich announced $774,000 for small business organizations — including WESST, the New Mexico Minority Development Agency Business Center and the New Mexico Small Business Development Center — to help grow small businesses, especially in underserved communities. enough services.

“Each of these awards is important, but what it’s really about is growing our economy in the state to take full advantage of all the talent we have, all the entrepreneurship we have and develop them to their potential,” Heinrich said. “And then our whole country is really reaping the benefits of that.”

WESST, an organization that helps with business incubation, counseling, training and access to capital, received the largest share of federal funding, including $233,000 to hire bilingual business coaches for a new center in Hobbs; $80,000 to hire a project manager for the organization’s Money Learning Lab; and $78,000 for the State Director of Craft Entrepreneurship Initiatives.

Agnes Noonan, president of WESST, said at a press conference Wednesday that the money will help the organization’s efforts in southeastern New Mexico.

“The demographics of Hobbs have changed incredibly,” Noonan said. “There are many … native Spanish speakers who are looking for help, and we intend to provide it.”

The New Mexico Business Center Minority Business Development Agency, led by Gabriela Marques, received $200,000 to hire two full-time business consultants.

The New Mexico Small Business Development Center received $125,000 to help Native American business owners create their own e-commerce sites and $58,000 for entrepreneurial training for incarcerated individuals.

Russell Wyrick, NMSBDC state director, said this is the second consecutive fiscal year the organization has received federal funding for its initiatives.

“This e-commerce project funded for both fiscal years will help these artisans get real value for their work instead of having to sell it at a super discounted (rate) and not take advantage,” Wyrick said.

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