By Tony Parra
Portales Small Business owners and entrepreneurs arrived at a workshop by ACCION representatives in Albuquerque in an effort to gain more knowledge about the small business world and how they can start one up or expand.
The owners and entrepreneurs met with ACCION officials for three hours on Thursday. Linda Lee, Accion New Mexico Outreach and Business Development director, said she was impressed by the entrepreneurs and small business owners who showed up to the workshop.
“I moved here from Seattle,” Linda Lee said. “I’ve traveled around the state and I’ve been impressed with the people of New Mexico. They are very eager and motivated. They’re committed to what they want to do.”
Linda Lee said approximately 40 people showed up to the workshop, held in the city hall council chambers. ACCION New Mexico is a nonprofit organization that increases access to business credit, makes loans and provides training for entrepreneurs, according to ACCION New Mexico Web site. Lee said they grant loan amounts of up to $50,000.
“It was encouraging,” Mayor Orlando Ortega said about the turnout. “I think everyone in the room last night can start their own business or expand. It will require a hard work ethic, but they can do it.”
Ortega said the role of the city council members, city manager and the mayor is to help these people be able to accomplish those goals. She said once they receive a loan application, it takes between 24 hours to a couple of weeks to close out.
City Manager Debi Lee said the next workshop will take place on Feb. 10 in the Memorial Building. Linda Lee said ACCION New Mexico representatives will focus on the resources in Portales for small business owners, such as the chamber of commerce and the MainStreet program.
“It was a great success,” Debi Lee said. “There was a great turnout. There will additional information, small business assistance, marketing and we will discuss the types of incentives for small businesses.”
Debi Lee said she will talk to the audience about the economic development act and how it can help Portales small business owners and entrepreneurs. She said they will also find out the benefits of being a member of the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce.
Linda Lee said attendants asked if it was going to be a problem applying for a loan since ACCION New Mexico representatives are located in Albuquerque. Linda Lee said loan applications are completed over the phone and ACCION employees send applications through partners such as Wells-Fargo lenders in Clovis. She said those officials can then close out the loans. According to Linda Lee, there is no current lending partner in Portales.
“They (Portales residents) look to the future a lot,” Linda Lee said. “There are creative people with great ideas.”