Business workshop focuses on veterans

Area veterans attended a business-counseling workshop Thursday hosted by the New Mexico Veterans Business Outreach Center at Mesalands Community College.

QCS Photo: Thomas Garcia

Several local veterans attended a veteran business workshop Thursday at Mesalands Community College.

"Our goal is to make veterans aware of the resources available for them to start a business," said retired Col. Joe Long of the outreach center.

Long said the center has been traveling to outlining rural communities since 2010 to help veterans who do not know of the resources available to them. He said before veterans had to travel to Albuquerque for assistance.

Long said the center is in its third year of operation paid for by a federal grant, which will fund the program until 2015. He said they will pursue a continuation of funding due to the amount of success of the program has seen.

Long said there are 15 centers like his across the nation. New Mexico's is joined with the state's Department of Veteran's Services.

It's important to help a veteran receive the benefits they deserve and inform those who may not be aware they qualify for those benefits, said Matt Barela, the state department's representative for eastern New Mexico.

Long said the VBOC meets with veterans in a one-on-one counseling session in which they discuss the feasibility of a business idea. He said the services offered include professional development, development of a financial plan, product and service marketing and business structuring.

"We will help you to determine if there is a need and demand for your service or product," Long said.

Long said they also assist in obtaining Tax ID's, business licenses and registering with the Public Regulation Commission. He said Quay County is part of a Historically Underutilized Business zone; this is beneficial for veteran owned small businesses.

"Three percent of government contracts go to HUB zone business," Long said.

Long said veteran could also contact their local Small Business Development Center and Economic Development Corporations.

We can help to see if your product or service targets or fits the community, said Patrick Vanderpool, Tucumcari EDC director.

Vanderpool said they could help with information including work force availability and identifying possible business locations and spaces.

Long said the VBOC would even help with determining which loan would be best for starting a business. He said there are loans for veteran's opening business.

There are many services, which Wells Fargo Banks offer, some of which could be beneficial to veterans opening a business, said Ben White, district manager Wells Fargo.

Long said by working with the VBOC, veterans will be set to follow through with their business initiative. He said taking action on a plan is the only way towards a successful business plan.

For more information on the NMVBOC call 505-383-2403.

Tucumcari EDC at 461-4079.

Small Business Development Center 461-4413 ext. 140.

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