Small business seminars offered

By Tony Parra

Members of ACCION and West Corp. are targeting Portales small business owners and entrepreneurs in an effort to help them with their businesses from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. during a Thursday workshop in the Portales City Hall.
There is no charge for the workshop and it is designed to inform business owners about access to business loans, technical assistance and business development opportunities, according to the press release.
Jim Morgan of Morgan Electric in Portales said he will be attending the seminar for several reasons. He said he wants to be a part of the expansion of Portales and the new construction of buildings in Portales. Morgan, who was born and raised in Portales, said Morgan Electric has been in existence for three years.
Morgan said business has been slow in the last three years and wants to know how to acquire more jobs and projects in order to expand. Morgan said many of the contracts go to established businesses which are 20 years or older.
“I would like to stay in Portales and help in the growth,” Morgan said. “I don’t want to have to go to Lovington, Artesia or Roswell because I can’t find any work in Portales.”
Both Mayor Orlando Ortega and City Manager Debi Lee said they are excited about the workshop and the help it can give Portales small business owners.
“Our goal is to create an opportunity for those in the community,” Ortega said. “It gives them (small business owners) an opportunity to meet with the experts. I encourage anyone who has been interested in starting a business or currently owns a business to attend.”
ACCION New Mexico provides loans ranging from $200 to $50,000 to enable entrepreneurs to grow their business and succeed, according to the ACCION Web site.
Linda Lee, Director of Outreach Business Development Department of ACCION New Mexico, said this will be the first trip for ACCION officials to Portales to conduct a seminar. Lee said 40 percent of the loans dispersed are to rural community business owners.
“We’re excited to be traveling to Portales,” Linda Lee said. “The mayor and Debi Lee are wonderful. They are very interested in the growth of Portales and helping small business owners.”
The amount of loans dispersed by ACCION New Mexico has grown from 137 loans totaling $183,875 in 1997 to 490 loans, totaling $2.6 million in 2003, according to the Web site. Debi Lee said ACCION representatives are very positive and they understand what small business owners are looking for and their needs. Ortega said follow-ups will be performed with attendants.
“It is important for them (small business owners) to know what their options are, even if they are not looking to expand at the present time,” Linda Lee said. “We will help them operate their business and find out what options are out there for them when they do decide to expand.”
There is also additional help for those who own a small business through the Small Business Development Center of Clovis Community College. The branch in Portales is located in the Roosevelt County Business Welcome Center. Those interested can call 769-4136 and schedule one-on-one appointments for Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Portales.
Lee said SBMDC representatives will also be present at the workshop, along with WESST Corp. and New Mexico Community Development Loan Fund officials. WESST Corp. is a non-profit economic development organization out of Albuquerque. WESST Corp. helps in the growth of women and minority-owned businesses throughout New Mexico, according to the WESST Corp. Web site.
For information about the workshop, call Aaron Harmon at 1-800-508-7624, ext. 216 or Hillary Boerio at 356-6662, ext. 10.