College offers veterans’ business workshop

Ray Seva

Maybe you’re an armed forces veteran who owns a small business and would like help in expanding operations. Perhaps you’re a veteran and are thinking of starting your own business — but you don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’re a service-disabled veteran who owns a business and you’d like to know more about federal laws making it easier for you to secure lucrative federal contracts.

These are some of the topics to be covered at a free Veteran Business Development Workshop on March 8 at the North American Wind Energy Research Center on the campus of Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari.

The workshop is sponsored by the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services (NMDVS) along with the Veteran Business Outreach Center (VBOC), and the New Mexico Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC).

One in seven businesses in New Mexico is veteran-owned, according to NMDVS Veterans’ Business Development Director Lloyd Calderon. And given the state of today’s economy, they can use some help.

“At this workshop, business owners and potential owners will get some excellent advice on not only how to survive, but thrive,” said Calderon. “We believe anyone who’s served our country deserves to be served when they’ve finished their military service and start anew as private citizen business owners.”

NMDVS, SBDC and VBOC representatives will present information about special low-interest business loans specifically for veterans, alternative financing, procurement technical assistance, and specific laws which sets a goal that 3 precent of all federal contracts be awarded to qualified businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.

“Federal contracts can be extremely lucrative,” said NMDVS Cabinet Secretary-Designate Timothy Hale. “We want to educate our service-disabled, veteran-owned businesses about these laws, and let them know we’re here to assist them with landing some of these contracts.”

The Veteran Business Resource Center (VBRC) in Albuquerque was created by the NMDVS to assist veterans throughout New Mexico who own or want to start a business. It was the first such center in the nation created solely for assisting veterans, and has now been duplicated in other states. Since its creation in the summer of 2008, the VBRC has assisted 125 New Mexican veteran-owned companies secure more than $36 million in federal contracts.

The Tucumcari Veterans’ Business Workshop is free for all veterans, but space is limited and registration is required. Call 575-461-4413, ext. 140 for registration and more information.