KOB4 News Features One Community Auto & Small Business Administration of New Mexico Emerging Lea

Free program helps New Mexico business owners

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Morgan Aguilar February 22, 2018 09:02 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Small Business Administration of New Mexico (SBA NM) is accepting applications for the 2018 Emerging Leaders course. It’s a free program that helps small business owners create a three-year strategic growth plan, and network with others in the business community.

In 2013, the US Census Bureau found New Mexico small businesses employ 55.5% of the state’s private workforce. Small businesses are those with fewer than 500 employees, and they are a vital part of the state economy.

In order to help them succeed, SBA NM has hosted the Emerging Leaders program for the past 11 years. With more than 200 graduates, it has been so successful that the national organization is now helping the New Mexico chapter expand to Las Cruces.

"To be able to introduce the program down there is huge because it's convenient to them, and the dedication of those companies now can be maximized," said Ivan Corrales, Economic Development Specialist with SBA NM.

With SBA’s guidance, Emerging Leaders graduate Gary Peterson has been able to grow his Albuquerque auto shop significantly in just 4 years. He’s up to 5 employees and has received national recognition for his unique business model.

“We team up with local charities and we help them get their vehicles in, and we fix them up and we sell them for the charity,” said Peterson, owner of One Community Auto. (link to https://www.onecommunityauto.com/)

Everything from cars and motorcycles to boats and tractors come to Peterson in rough condition. After he and his team fix them up, they’re able to be sold for five to ten times more than if the donated vehicles had been sold at auction.

"The charity gets more money, more importantly the donor that's donated this vehicle gets a much higher tax deduction," said Peterson.

Peterson says he’s noticed a big change in his business since finishing the Emerging Leaders program.

"We have since doubled our growth, our revenue, since Emerging Leaders and we're on track to keep doubling over the next few years," said Peterson.

He encourages every small business owner to apply and gain the education and tools they need to grow, create jobs and give back to fellow New Mexicans, the same way he does by fixing up cars that could have become scraps.

"It'll help them get to school, it'll help them get to work, get the kids to baby sitters, you know," said Peterson.

Emerging Leaders consists of 13, 3-hour classes. 20 participants will be chosen for Albuquerque, and 20 for Las Cruces. Applications are due Thursday, March 1st 2018. Visit www.sba.gov/nm to apply or learn more about programs offered by SBA NM.

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