State officials have awarded a $50,000 grant to the business incubator at San Juan College, an award designed to help the facility invest in new technology and provide additional training to new entrepreneurs.
The college’s Enterprise Center was one of four grant recipients across the state, according to a Sept. 18 news release from the New Mexico Economic Development Department. The Santa Fe Business Incubator, the South Valley Economic Development Center and the WESST Enterprise Center were the other recipients.
The Enterprise Center at San Juan College is part of the school’s Quality Center for Business, offering business incubation and accelerator programs with office and manufacturing space, and other business resources. Its operations include the Harvest Food Hub just south of downtown Farmington, The Big Idea maker space and Studio G, an initiative started in partnership with the Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University that offers entrepreneurs business consulting services and other resources.
Lorenzo Reyes, the college’s vice president of workforce and economic development, said the college applied for the grant after conducting a business needs analysis with the Farmington Chamber of Commerce. That analysis showed a strong need not just for the technology upgrades the grant will fund — high definition video screens that are used in virtual presentations and workshops, new computers, projectors and new transmission systems — but for additional training for those who are launching a business for the first time and may not be aware of all the paperwork requirements they will face.
Reyes said the grant will allow the college to hire local lawyers, accountants and business veterans to presents workshops on such issues as understanding tax law, maintaining inventory control, how to read a financial statement and marketing.
Although the grant was only announced two weeks ago, Reyes said the college already has purchased some of that new equipment and contracted with local providers to conduct the training.
“This is one of those investments the state continues to make in helping small businesses succeed,” he said.
The EDD news release cited national statistics indicating that businesses that are started in an incubator are twice as likely to succeed as those that are not. Such facilities typically provide entrepreneurs such services as training and mentoring, as well as office or manufacturing space at below-market rates, for a short period of time, allowing new businesses to get established.
“Business incubators provide critical support to growing New Mexico companies and have a proven economic impact,” Jon Clark, the deputy secretary of economic development, stated in the release. “EDD is proud to support them and offer the resources to help them reach more businesses across the state.”
This article originally appeared on Farmington Daily Times: The Enterprise Center is San Juan College's business incubator