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Local firm receives small-business award

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A Roswell clinic has received state recognition.

Achieve Therapy Services LLC has been named a Star Business by the New Mexico Small Business Development Center network.

The firm was chosen by the local Small Business Development Center, which is affiliated with Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell. The award will be given Feb. 10 in Santa Fe during the 21st New Mexico Small Business Development Center Network Annual Star Business Recognition Program.

According to the New Mexico SBDC website, a Star Business is one “that has shown an extraordinary commitment not only to their own business success but also to their community.”

Achieve Therapy provides speech and occupational therapy to youth ages 3 to 18 at its East Second Street clinic. It also works with young children enrolled with Los Pasitos Early Intervention Services. The owner, Ludivina Gurule, and her staff of 11, which includes nine therapists, also provide therapy to some adults at community settings or during home visits.

Gurule said that she was working as an occupational therapist in the Roswell schools when she decided that more therapists were needed for students requiring extra help to learn how to articulate and speak, pay attention in the classroom, read and write, develop their fine motor skills or improve other such life skills.

For two years, she put in hours after work to develop her clinic. Then, about four years ago, she made the decision to run the business full time.

“It is scary to leave a full-time job and set up a business and take on debt,” Gurule said, “but I believed that the need was there.”

Raised in early childhood in Roswell and returning here after having a child, Gurule said that she felt she wanted to start a company that would create a “family atmosphere” for therapists. She said therapists often feel that their careers are their lives, not just a job.

“Rural New Mexico, in general, has a difficult time recruiting therapists who stay in the area,” she said.

Although interested in running a business, she had no training for doing so. Her preparation, including a master’s degree from the University of New Mexico, is in occupational therapy, not business.

Her father referred her to the Small Business Development Center at ENMU-R, and she has been working with them on and off as needed over the years.

“To this day, if I feel I need support — if I need help with developing a proposal for a new rate schedule for a client — then I turn to them,” Gurule said.

She said that she feels honored about the award.

“To get recognized for something that you have worked so hard to do and care so much about is very special,” she said.

According to its website, the SBDC network has centers in 19 cities across the state and is a cooperative effort involving the U.S. Small Business Administration, the state of New Mexico and state and independent community colleges, where the centers are typically housed.

The network and centers provide professional and technical advice and training to entrepreneurs and small businesses on such matters as writing business plans, obtaining financing, creating marketing strategies, instituting sound accounting practices, handling franchising issues and developing e-commerce and social media sites.