New Mexico program offers free technical assistance to entrepreneurs

New Mexico entrepreneurs looking for technical assistance as they work to start a corporation may be able to receive free technical assistance from researchers at Sandia or Los Alamos national laboratories.

The New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program is a partnership between the state and the laboratories that allows trained engineers and scientists to give entrepreneurs expertise that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive.

Companies located in the urban Albuquerque area are eligible for assistance equal to $10,000 a year in lab staff hours, while businesses working in rural towns may receive help valued at $20,000 a year.

Businesses seeking aid do not have to have a technological focus. The program has also assisted a local spa, a lighting fixture company and other companies with a less high-tech focus.

Since the start of the program in 2000, it has helped nearly 1,600 small businesses. Representatives of the program say since that time, collective revenue from those companies has increased by more than $39 million, while operating costs have dropped by more than $28 million.

The program helps address one of the most serious issues affecting the business climate in the state – the lack of a highly skilled workforce. A recent Conexus report gave New Mexico an F grade on the quality of potential workers.ADNFCR-3052-ID-19859894-ADNFCR

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