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Three New Mexico groups receive grants to aid entrepreneurs

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Three New Mexico organizations have received funding to assist low-income entrepreneurs with training or capital in a grant competition sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

This year, 111 organizations applied for grants from the Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME), and 32 businesses or groups in 24 states and the District of Columbia received $5 million in funding, according to an SBA news release. In most cases, the grants require matching funds or in-kind contributions. The projects are to begin Oct. 1 and run about a year.

In New Mexico, three recipients received a total of $546,355, with most of the money expected to be used in the Albuquerque or rural northern New Mexico area.

The Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency Team (WESST), a statewide small business development and training organization based in Albuquerque, was awarded a $150,000 Track 1 grant. Track 1 is a technical assistance grant, which funds training or consulting services. According to the SBA, WESST plans to assist 120 low-income entrepreneurs in the rural areas of northern New Mexico.

Nusenda Credit Union, based in Albuquerque, was awarded $250,000, which it says it will use to provide funding to seven Micro-Development Organizations that help minority, low-income and Native American entrepreneurs in the Albuquerque area.

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The Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, which does business as Creative Startups, indicated that it will use its $246,355 award to improve the Libraries as Launchpads program it offers at public libraries in the state. According to the SBA, the grant money will be used in southern New Mexico to train the people who will offer the Libraries as Launchpads program to entrepreneurs. Libraries as Launchpads provides a four-week “lab” helping entrepreneurs to start and build a business. So far, the program has been offered in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Raton and Las Cruces.

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